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... if you cut your throat in the long term.

This is a point that people sometimes lose track of when looking at evolved behavioral strategies from a tacit perspective of consciously worked through strategies ...

... which is that not only are long term successful strategies winnowed out in terms of what can survive the short term, but the initial starting point for short term strategies are those strategies that survived the long term.

And so, indeed, it is not necessary for every long term strategy to out-perform every short-term strategy in all circumstances, but rather only necessary to hold onto some share of the population long enough for the short term strategies to burn themselves out.

And further, there is a hierarchy of viability ... something must be physically possible before it can possibly be a biological variation subject to biological evolution, and biological evolution determines the substrate upon which behavioral evolution works itself out.

If genes are selfish, and if having a carrier that exhibits group altruism is an advantage to the genes in an animal that lives in roving bands with stable female kinship groups and adult males recruited from outside the band, and if that was us for a hundred thousand years or more, then the last 5,000 years would certainly not be enough time to substantially modify a biological substrate predisposed to group altruism.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 10:08:18 PM EST
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