Unit of selection
Michael Martin, esq.
mpmartin at u.washington.edu
Fri Jan 14 02:34:28 EST 1994
I'd just like to note one minor flaw in the last message (I have this
aversion to including previous messages, I'm sorry if it offends anyone
that I haven't). While it is true that the gene and the individual are
now seen as the most likely units of selection (the "selfish gene" idea
of the gene as the unit of selection is essentially the same as the idea
of the individual as selection with a few minor but important
differences), it has been close to a decade since any serious evolutionary
biologist has seriously considered the possibility of "group selection."
I'm not sure who is involved in the referenced argument, but they are probably
not well connected to the world of evolutionary biology. This is probably why
none of the arguments make much sense... Please forgive me if this sounds
condescending, but I've spent way too many hours trying to explain the
simple problems of group selection to undergraduates, and the rather common
misconception that it is still considered seriously (in anything other
than rather fringe talks about "cultural evolution") is about as annoying
as the misconception that natural selection is still an mostly unproven
theory (the source of which is mostly the religious right). I hope
everyone sees my point...
(A quick note from an ex-evolutionary biologist)
Michael Martin | Internet: mpmartin at goren.washington.edu
270 Marine Sciences Build. | Phone: (206) 685-2806
University of Washington |
Dep. of Oceanography, WB-10 |
Seattle, WA 98195 |
"I guess you could say that I'm permanently stuck somewhere between
the before and after picture..."
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