Evolution does not favour the selfish

Vastet's picture
Posts: 13242
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
Evolution does not favour the selfish

Aug. 1, 2013 — Two Michigan State University evolutionary biologists offer new evidence that evolution doesn't favor the selfish, disproving a theory popularized in 2012.

"We found evolution will punish you if you're selfish and mean," said lead author Christoph Adami
"For a short time and against a specific set of opponents, some selfish organisms may come out ahead. But selfishness isn't evolutionarily sustainable."


Another nail in EXC's coffin.

atheistRational VIP!
cj's picture
Posts: 3330
Joined: 2007-01-05
User is offlineOffline

Tit for Tat is still the winning strategy. And people must cooperate. You can't run a business unless your employees and customers are willing to cooperate with your business (therefore, you). You must be able to make a deal and that involves at least some level of cooperation. (For a modern take on the subject.)


-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.

Beyond Saving
Beyond Saving's picture
Posts: 5521
Joined: 2007-10-12
User is offlineOffline
 The article grossly

 The article grossly mischaracterizes the Dyson and Press paper, and certainly doesn't disprove it. It might refute some of the press that the Dyson and Press paper received, but that press (as the media almost always does) sensationalized it to be much more than Dyson and Press intended. 

The original Dyson and Press paper on zero determinant strategies. 



The short of it is that ZD strategies dominate in two player matches, better than any type. In large populations, ZD strategies tend to win a lot of 1 on 1 matches, but fail to get a lot of total points. Tit for tat on the other hand will never win a two person match. It is impossible for it to win, since it always copies its opponent the best it can do is tie against another tit for tat or another strategy that will always cooperate. However, in large populations it has proven to thrive because while it never wins, its overall score tends to be high while strategies that defect often find themselves in a loop of both sides defecting and a consistently low score even though they win the match by one point.

Neither paper says anything about selfishness. One can be extremely selfish and still cooperate. When you buy a soda, are you doing it for some selfless generous reason? No. You are buying it for the very selfish reason that you are thirsty and most of the time you probably don't particularly care who you are buying it from. You are performing a cooperative act (the exchange of money for a good) for a selfish purpose. People cooperate because it is in our self interest to cooperate. Because yeah, when you are an asshole, people tend to be assholes back to you. Arguably, all strategies are selfish because all of them are being measured by their own score not by how their score helps others.   

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X