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Wait, how did they manage to avoid developing a notion of forgiveness in some form? I mean, isn't that more or less required to stabilize out of sync tit-for-tat oscillations? Or am I completely wrong on this? @Psy-Kosh

They didn't stabilize tit-for-tat, they completely eliminated the other side in any dispute. I guess they could quickly repopulate even after the most devastating wars by just not eating so many babies. This kept happening until the scientist Babyeaters killed off all non-scientist tribes. The scientists aren't forgiving, they just understand that rational beings can make incorrect decisions when given incomplete information. Like the story says, "anyone who departs from the group norm due to an actual inherent flaw still has to be destroyed."