Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Could we all get together and evolve as a group?


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No subject apart from religion has vexed Darwin’s followers more than why people sacrifice themselves for others. They have embraced the ambiguous term “altruism” because it does not clearly mean “compassion” or “heroism.” Rather, it is to be seen as the same natural force that causes worker ants to pass on their genes by serving their queen, who lays lots of eggs, instead of reproducing themselves (kin selection). Maybe this force creates the change we are looking for.

A champion of this proposed mechanism was evolutionary biologist E. O. Wilson.

But then Wilson dramatically abandoned kin selection in 2010 in a Nature paper, “The evolution of eusociality,” co-authored with mathematicians. He argued that strict Darwinism (natural selection) “provides an exact framework for interpreting empirical observations,” dispensing with the other theories he had promoted for decades. Over 140 leading biologists signed a letter to Nature, attacking the 2010 paper. Some called his new, strictly Darwin model “unscholarly,” “transparently wrong,” and “misguided.”

What? All this is said of a Darwin-only model? More.

See also: Talk to the fossils: Let’s see what they say back

Note: No more news blogging till late this evening due to News’ alternate day job.

See Liao et al., Relatedness, Conflict, and the Evolution of Eusociality, PLoS Biol 2015: "Here we examine this model in greater depth, showing that its apparently novel conclusions are overgeneralized from narrow and often inappropriate assumptions. Instead, this modeling strategy yields results that confirm important insights from kin selection and inclusive fitness, such as the importance of relatedness and the existence of conflicts in social insect colonies." Zachriel

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