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Bees and ants provide clue to human suicides?


From Science Daily:

Could human suicide have evolutionary roots in self-sacrificial behaviors like those seen in species such as honeybees and ants?

In a paper recently published in the journal Psychological Review, the researchers theorize that humans exhibit the characteristics of eusocial species such as relying on multigenerational and cooperative care of young and utilizing division of labor for successful survival.

“Humans are a species that is eusocial, and that’s an important starting point,” Joiner said. “That suggests a certain set of characteristics, including some really striking self-sacrifice behaviors.”

Those eusocial behaviors, understood as part of what is called inclusive fitness in evolutionary biology, are adaptive.

“The idea is if you give up yourself, which would include your genes, it can be evolutionarily speaking ‘worth it’ if you spare or save multiple copies of your genes in your relatives,” Joiner said. “It’s a net benefit on the gene level.”

However, when the researchers look at human suicide in a modern context, they surmise that suicide among humans represents a derangement of the self-sacrificial aspect of eusociality. More.

Notice the huge assumption everyone is asked to accept up front, that humans and social insects think similarly.

A thesis that bizarre must belong to one or another school of Darwin thought, in this case “inclusive fitness ” or group selection.

See also: Could we all get together and evolve as a group?

and, for a bit of background on insects, Does intelligence depend on a specific type of brain?

The thing about Darwinian thinking today is that it doesn’t need to be grounded in anything other than Darwinian thinking.


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