GROUP Selection, Not Selection Of THE Fittest

Groups cannot be avoided, when considering human evolution and selection, because humans always lived in groups: WE EVOLVED FROM GROUPS, AS GROUPS.

Many intellectuals believe that there was an original Eve, and Adam, and we all come down from them. This is a variant of the Celebrity Cult, in this case the indispensable first couples, from which the concept of fist couples emanates (in the clouded minds of the conventional establishment members). For example Yuval Harari, an historian with scientific spirit pretense, but falling short from the deliberate naivety which makes him so attractive to plutocracy, says in his famous book “Sapiens” that at some point a female ape had two daughters. The descendants of one of them are us, the other, the chimps.

This is, most probably, false. And that it is false matters a lot, philosophically speaking, as I will thereafter show.[1]

Why?

Selection of the fittest works best with bacteria, and maybe only with them. It can’t work much with humans. Humans evolve very fast, precisely because they are apt and inclined to go colonize the weirdest environments, each of them a new ecological niche. In the last 300,000 years, many human species still existed. At least three, with interbreeding capabilities, Denisovans, Neanderthals, and African Sapiens, contributed to our (rather mixed!) ancestry.   

Hominidae from the superfamily Hominoidea (“Apes”) are so highly social that they cannot long survive without the group (even Orangutans live in groups, supermales communicating with following females located miles away, thanks to their booming voice). Thus, picture this: a female has two daughters, A and B. However their descendants then interbreed with other members of the group and back with each others’ descendants: thus descendancy then becomes an entangled network. Two groups in intergenic relations will then appeared as two entangled super networkd with attractors (in the differential topological sense). And so on. Physical separation of human groups (for whichever reason: natural disaster, emigration, etc.) will then congeal increasingly different genetics. At no point, though, will there be a single Adam and Eve couple. Physical separation is easily obtained, as human beings ecological load is so heavy that it forces separation, lest everybody starves.

In the drawing above, one can see arrows going back and forth. This means that Chimps and Australopithecines would have kept breeding back and forth, even after the two groups separated. There is indeed evidence that the initial separation was around ten million years ago, but there was some interbreeding around six million years ago.

Adam and Eve? That’s good for the Bible. (Some are still all too inspired by the Bible!)

Notice that selection of a fitter group is rather then partly a question of colonizing a new ecological niche, and fitting to it genetically. Once again, we see that colonization promoted the evolution of humanity. One needs a particular mentality to go colonize. There is no doubt it became part of human ethology.

Aside from the latest philosophical point, some may sneer that even Darwin mentioned group selection (although he preferred individual selection), so the preceding is nothing new. Elaborated mathematical arguments have appeared, and made super-stars. However, recently, there was serious push-back. [2]

The advantage of my argument above is that it is as simple as it gets: mutation, in one individual, would immediately spread back to the group. Or a subset of the group. So subsets of groups of individuals evolve, only them can evolve, into separated genomes… because of the addition of other factors (like physical separation).

Group selection is entangled with individual selection. Let’s take an example from my own theory of the quasi-extinction of Neanderthals: I argued that, inside a group, individuals with more Neanderthal genetic material would be harder to reproduce during quasi-extinction events: Neanderthals had much more muscle mass, and also 10% more brains.

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2014/04/27/neanderthal-superiority/

The more massive Neanderthal brain, at rest, would, all by itself, augment caloric needs by nearly 3%. So more Neanderthalized children, in a group of individuals of mixed genetics, would be harder to feed, and would have poorer health… hence would tend to survive less.

So, progressively, non-obviously very advantageous Neanderthal genes would tend to disappear… But the evolution would be in the group, by the group.

See my: Math Extinguished Neanderthals:

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/why-did-neanderthals-disappear/

We were not just born altruistically, we were born from altruism, from groups… And from the desire, the will to power and discovery, to find new ecological niches, out of which groups, species are born… Now all over the Solar System, and, soon enough, the entire galaxy

The same happens with the evolution of ideas: although the initial idea will arise in just one individual, it amounts to nothing, if not transferred to a group. And, once transferred to the group, it is often transmogrified into something else, again to be transmuted by some more individuals therein.

Last, but not least: last month the fact that Quantum Jumps are complex phenomena was demonstrated; there is a warning over the Quantum system, before a Quantum Jump occurs. This opens various “Sub Quantum” (to use my semantics) perspectives, including controlling Quantum processes. Could something similar happen with evolution? Could we control it? Of course. Artificial selection has been known for many millennia. Ancient Greece was practicing it deliberately, mixing artificial and natural selection to evolve new phenotypes, which were then sold all over the ancient world for lots of money (genetic engineering is not new).

The way then biological evolution was naturally occuring was through ecological niches. Same for the evolution of ideas, or moods, emotions: mental niches will engineer mental creativity. This is the best, deepest, most human reason to foster diversity. Not just diversity of skin, but diversity of mind, opinion, sentiment, mood, ideas. As basic internet services are turned into public utilities (part of E. Warren’s program), one has to keep this as the most important principle.

Patrice Ayme…

***

***

[1]: Harari, is a Oxford PhD historian, philosopher and the bestselling author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow… I wish I had the time to rewrite his books, the right way… (They are like Patrice lite and like, yet, all too often, wrong; however better read that than nothing… Some Plutos I know swear by the book; they are careful not to read what I write; whereas Harari buttresses conventional thinking, thus is very good. For example, Adam and Eve, thus the Bible…)

***

[2] Harvard’s E.O. Wilson, the “father of sociobiology” and a world-expert on ant colonies, was one of the pillars of 20 C view of evolution, has argued that “multi-level selection”—essentially a modern version of group selection, and what is implicit in my Neanderthal decrease theory—is the best way to understand social evolution. In his earlier work, Wilson was a staunch defender of kin selection, but no longer; he has recently penned sharp critiques of the reigning kin selection orthodoxy.

Richard Dawkins, of the infamous “selfish gene” and “meme” concepts, says that Wilson is “just wrong” about kin selection and that his most recent book contains “pervasive theoretical errors.”  Once again, the argument above is too simple for that: groups cannot be avoided, when considering human evolution and selection, because humans always lived in groups: WE EVOLVED FROM GROUPS, AS GROUPS. It’s what’s called in mathematics a counter-example: a simple case which brings down an over-simplistic, thus erroneous theory. 

Dawkins brandished the example of (European) red squirrels being outcompeted in Britain by (American!) grey squirrels. Indeed, this is not a case of genuine group selection, as the success of one group and the decline of another is a side-effect of individual level selection. This has nothing to do with the argument here, as the two species of squirrels don’t interbreed…

***

Tags:

4 Responses to “GROUP Selection, Not Selection Of THE Fittest”

  1. brodix Says:

    Patrice,
    You are being too cyclical and presenting too many feedback loops. People much prefer explanations to be linear cause and effect, with clear conclusions. That’s how the mind words. Time as narrative.

    Like

  2. Gmax Says:

    So I am not sure I understand this. The claim is that any Darwinian selection in humans is really group selection?

    Like

  3. Alexi Says:

    The mixed-isolated-group approach described in this post seems more correct than the single-common-ancestor approach.

    Like

Leave a Reply to Patrice Ayme Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: