Category Archives: Multilevel Selection

Evolution 2014: Day 0

I started off this year’s Evolution meeting early. The conference is — at its core —  a four-day affair. But the days leading into the “official” start on Friday evening feature larger workshops aimed at building skills. I chose to … Continue reading

Posted in A Major Post, Adaptation, Assessment Methods, Behavior, Coevolution, Competition, Conferences, Cooperation, Evolution, Evolution Education, Evolutionary Modeling, Genetics, Grants & Funding, Higher Education, Individual-based Models, Lesson Ideas, Multilevel Selection, Natural Selection, Phylogenetics, Population Genetics, Population Growth, Predation, Reproductive Fitness, Science in Art & Design, Sex and Reproduction, Society for the Study of Evolution, Talks & Seminars, Teaching, Teaching Tools | Tagged | Leave a comment

Evolution 2014: Evolution of cooperation in the high school classroom? You bet!

Will Ratcliff presented an absolutely amazing set of laboratories that explore the evolution of multicellularity (http://www.snowflakeyeastlab.com/). They can be done with high school or college students, and allow students to see the benefits of cooperation and the action of multilevel … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Competition, Conferences, Cooperation, Group Selection, Multilevel Selection, Predation, Society for the Study of Evolution | Tagged | Leave a comment

Money Talking about Janet Yellen and multilevel selection

WNYC Money Talking “Helping Ordinary Americans Focus Of Fed Under Janet Yellen” Should the economy serve the society as a whole, or only some individuals in that society? Wow is it refreshing to hear a radio segment ask that question!

Posted in A Minor Post, Cultural Evolution, Memetic Fitness, Multilevel Selection, Radio & Podcasts | Leave a comment

Writing and record-keeping as important tools in the evolution of large-scale human cooperation

This View of Life “The Role Of Writing And Recordkeeping In The Cultural Evolution Of Human Cooperation” What is also so interesting about written language is that it is another means of defining a group: only those who are literate … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Cooperation, Empathy, Group Selection, Multilevel Selection | Leave a comment

My review of “Origins of Altruism and Cooperation” is published in QRB

I am excited to report that my review of Origins of Altruism and Cooperation was just published in the Quarterly Review of Biology. Although it requires some work to get through, this collection presents a really important counter-narrative to the … Continue reading

Posted in A Major Post, Altruism, Behavior, Books, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Empathy, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Human Uniqueness, Kin Selection, Multilevel Selection, My publications, Primatology, Reciprocity, Social Networks, Social Norms | Leave a comment

Freeman Dyson wins the contest, and then says the contest is stupid

Institute for Advanced Study “The Prisoner’s Dilemma” One of my favorite skateboarders when I was young was Natas Kaupas, an innovative skater who pioneered a lot of modern streetstyle. Natas was one of those skaters who could do things that … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Articles, Cooperation, Evolutionary Modeling, Game Theory, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Modeling (General), Multilevel Selection, Reciprocity | Tagged | Leave a comment

Enforcing norms may be for personal gain, not to maintain social order (at least amongst Santa Barbara undergraduates)

PLoS ONE “What Are Punishment and Reputation for?” Once again, a valuable and ingenious experiment over-reaches on the meaning of its finding, and the over-reach bleeds into the popular media. This is a really valuable experiment in that it asks … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Articles, Behavior, Cooperation, Ethics, Evolutionary Psychology, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Multilevel Selection, Psychological Adaptation, Punishment, Reciprocity, Reputation, Social Networks, Social Norms | 2 Comments

My ESA 2012 Poster is on Faculty of 1000 posters

F1000 Posters “The Evolution of Sustainable Use: a flash-based classroom tool for teaching population biology and sustainable resource management“

Posted in A Minor Post, Anthropogenic Change, Biodiversity Loss, Carrying Capacity, Cooperation, Ecological Modeling, Marine Ecosystems, Multilevel Selection, My publications, Population Growth, Public Policy, Sustainability, Sustainable Harvesting, System Stability, Teaching, Teaching Tools, The Sustainable Use of Fisheries | Leave a comment

ESA 2012 Overall Impressions

What was the ‘big news’ at this year’s Ecological Society of America meeting? Given that this meeting is composed of so many different meetings running concurrently, this just might be an impossible question to answer fairly. But for me, this … Continue reading

Posted in A Major Post, Altruism, Biodiversity Loss, Conservation Biology, Cooperation, Ecological Modeling, Ecological Society of America, Ecology Education, Ecosystem Services, Environmental Justice, Group Selection, Marine Ecosystems, Multilevel Selection, Public Policy, Punishment, Resource Consumption, Social Capital, Sustainability, System Stability, Talks & Seminars, Teaching, Teaching Tools, The Sustainable Use of Fisheries | Leave a comment

Steven Pinker makes it clear that he is not a “group selectionist”

Frequently I feel like I am listening to an early 2000′s George W. Bush speech when the ‘opponents of group selection’ step up to the podium. Seemingly, you are either “with us or against us” when it comes to considering … Continue reading

Posted in A Major Post, Adaptation, Coevolution, Cultural Evolution, Group Selection, Kin Selection, Memetic Fitness, Multilevel Selection, Natural Selection, Punishment, Web | 5 Comments

Are the population dynamics of Dupont’s lark dictated by multilevel selective pressures?

A fascinating new paper published this week in the journal PLoS One demonstrates how selection acting at least three different levels produces distinct selective pressures that shape the song behavior of male Dupont’s lark (Chersophilus duponti) in the Ebro Valley … Continue reading

Posted in A Major Post, Articles, Behavior, Competition, Group Selection, Multilevel Selection, Population Growth | Leave a comment

Martin Nowak and Roger Highfield’s “SuperCooperators”

Martin Nowak has accomplished a lot for a mid-career scientist. His theoretical work exploring how cooperation evolves has illuminated the importance of a great number of evolutionary mechanisms. He has also been unafraid to tackle real-life problems of cooperation, including … Continue reading

Posted in Altruism, Books, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Ethics, Evolutionary Modeling, Game Theory, Group Selection, History, Human Evolution, Human Nature, Kin Selection, Language Evolution, Multilevel Selection, Mutualism, Punishment, Reciprocity, Religion, Superorganisms, Sustainability | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Science in Art & Design: Justin Taylor’s “The Gospel of Anarchy”

There are so many science books that I want to read that I frequently neglect to read fiction. This is too bad, because good fiction can be as rich with interesting hypotheses about human nature and evolution as any book … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Evolutionary Psychology, Fiction, Group Selection, Happiness, Human Evolution, Human Nature, Multilevel Selection, Pratt Institute, School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Science in Art & Design, Superorganisms | Leave a comment

Naturalistic Fallacy: 1, Sam Harris: 0

For those who don’t know Sam Harris, he is a rather famous critic of theism who often invokes science and broad rationalism in his arguments for the abandonment of organized religion. Along with Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Richard Dawkins … Continue reading

Posted in Cultural Evolution, Evolutionary Psychology, Human Evolution, Human Nature, Memetic Fitness, Multilevel Selection, Philosophy, Radio & Podcasts, Religion, Talks & Seminars, Web | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Martin Nowak lecture on The Evolution of Cooperation at MIT

I just checked out a lecture given by Martin Nowak at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that was recently posted on the MIT videos site. The video was recently posted on the MIT site, but it is not entirely clear … Continue reading

Posted in Altruism, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Evolutionary Modeling, Game Theory, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Kin Selection, Mathematics, Multilevel Selection, Psychological Adaptation, Radio & Podcasts, Reciprocity, Talks & Seminars, Web | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Understanding Rupert Murdoch from an Evolutionary Perspective

If you have been following the news at all this summer, you are undoubtedly aware of the recent phone hacking scandal at The News of the World, a tabloid newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch’s [1, 2, 3] global media empire, … Continue reading

Posted in Cultural Evolution, Evolutionary Psychology, Memetic Fitness, Multilevel Selection | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Barash and Lipton on Bin Laden (and Us)

David P. Barash and Judith Eve Lipton are unafraid of explaining modern social behavior from an evolutionary perspective. As famous communicators of evolutionary psychology, they see in an understanding of biology the promise of explaining humanity. In their latest column … Continue reading

Posted in Articles, Cooperation, Ethics, Evolutionary Psychology, Human Nature, Multilevel Selection, Psychological Adaptation, Psychology, Punishment, Sociology | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Evolution of Cooperation” by Robert Axelrod

I just finished reading Robert Axelrod’s seminal book entitled The Evolution of Cooperation. Although I had read a lot about Axelrod’s work and am quite familiar with the body of literature that it inspired, I had never actually read his … Continue reading

Posted in Altruism, Behavioral Ecology, Books, Coevolution, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Evolution, Evolutionary Modeling, Game Theory, Human Evolution, Individual-based Models, Interdisciplinarity, Multilevel Selection, Mutualism, Political Science, Public Policy, Reciprocity, Sociology, Spatially Explicit Modeling | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Robert Trivers and colleagues on Nowak, Tarnita, and Wilson’s “The evolution of eusociality”

One of the most difficult things about being the only full-time biologist on the Pratt Institute campus is that I do not have the opportunity to discuss serious science in my field with colleagues or guest speakers. To help alleviate … Continue reading

Posted in Adaptation, Altruism, Articles, Behavioral Ecology, Cooperation, Data Limitation, Evolution, Game Theory, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Multilevel Selection, Sociology, Superorganisms, Talks & Seminars | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Firefighting and the Tragedy of the Commons

A recent incident in Obion County, Tennessee has gotten national media attention from the likes of MSNBC, NPR, The Huffington Post, and The New York Times. A resident of this rural county called 911 when a fire broke out in … Continue reading

Posted in Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Ethics, Evolutionary Psychology, Film & Television, MSCI-463, The Evolution of Cooperation, Multilevel Selection, Public Policy, Punishment, Radio & Podcasts, Web | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment