Cooperation evolves: Another paper typical of the “evolution of cooperation by game theory” genre appeared in PNAS recently. Revealing the Darwinian assumptions, the abstract states, ” In evolutionary models of indirect reciprocity, natural selection favors cooperation when observability is sufficiently high.” Working with 2413 human participants as their lab rats, the authors implied their evolutionary model applies to all human behavior – including altruism and some of the most noble human ideals. It’s all evolutionary selection. It works the same way in yeast, except that humans have an inexplicable habit of helping people they don’t know, even when observability is zero. “In sum,” they confidently assert nonetheless, “we show how indirect reciprocity can be harnessed to increase cooperation in a relevant, real-world public goods game.” But is increased cooperation good? Who judges what is public good? And who harnesses the harnessers?
My, such a moral universe. Then who should have posted the warning signs about drowning in nonsense?