Silence. Mr Neil Levy speaks.

This is directly relevant to Altrusim in a gene.

I can’t do these comments justice right now – I’ve just got off a flight
from Melbourne to San Francisco. Let me just say that you are right that a
proper simulation of the differential rates of changes in populations must
factor in the kinds of elements you suggest. I was constructing what’s
sometimes called a ‘toy model’, which is deliberately simplified. Of
course, as the proportion of altruists declines the advantage to the group
(probably) also declines, but so long as the proportion remains higher in
group A, that group has some selective advantage over B.

I think that the proportion of altruists would reach zero: the rate at
which altruism within-group becomes selected against rapidly increases,
until altruism becomes a decisive (individual) disadvantage.

I don’t agree that whether or not altruists intermarry with non-altrusits
depends upon whether the ‘gene for’ altruism is recessive. Altruism is a
phenoptypic trait, not genoptypic. One non-A marrying another person who
has a recessive altruism gene is a non-A marrying another non-A. BTW, the
most likely way in which group selection actually occurs in humans is via
preferential association, such as assortative mating.

> And why do you say that the plausible explanations put forward by evolutionary
> psychology/interactism will not / must not change how we perceive morality
> nowadays? I don’t understand. Wouldn’t it change a lot of things?
> If you’re saying it shouldn’t because, the changes will be wrong,
> then what do you define as wrong when morality is such a mutable
> by-product of evolution?

When I say that changes in morality as a result of reading EP would be
wrong, I don’t mean morally wrong: I mean false scientifically. Of course,
this is an empirical question: I don’t think EP is going to change our
understanding of morality a great deal. But I could well be wrong.

> Lastly, when you mention that an organism having two legs and hands are
> not
> genetic but biogically decided, why do you say that

Of course having two hands is caused (inter alia) by genes. The point is
that there is genetic variance in human beings wrt to handedness, and
therefore, applying the analysis of variance, we get the result that the
genetic contribution to hand number in human beings is (approx) zero. This
is not supposed to make you think that genes do not play a role in
building hands; it is supposed to help you see that the techniques of
behavioral genetics are frequently uninformative when it comes to
explaining phenotypic traits.

Hope this helps. It’s the best I can do on zero sleep.


Of course. Variance, what was I thinking?? Thanks Mr Neil!


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