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Regarding the terminology, if group selection translates to selection of a set of individuals, then how is group selection really valuably distinct from individual selection?

And, regarding the terminology, around “If group-level selection occurs at all, then traits of the group that are not genetic traits, including cultural knowledge, must be considered.” you seem to miss accounting for the possibility of individual selection for cultural units. And regarding those, analogously the first question again: is group selection of group of cultural units really meaningfully distinct from individual selection on a set of cultural units, as happens since time immemorial due to e.g. a weather event?

My suspicion is it isn’t, and - as you allude to - the false distinction is used to shoehorn wishes for altruism into evolutionary theory.

I would also go so far as to argue that the very concept of “group”, which supports this theory as well as the practice it refers to, is itself an individual cultural unit.

Thanks for raising this issue! I think resolving it could yield great benefits, and I’ll contribute to it when I can post on this forum.

Moreover, when one identifies two pure strategy equilibria in a 2x2 game a third, mixed strategy, equilibrium almost always exists.

threats being harmful to their target, the execution of threats seems to constitute an inefficiency:

also when the threats are targeted at (Pareto-dominated) inefficiency, i.e. at (conditional on) any actions other than (coordinating on) the most efficient?

As a concrete counter-example, there are productivity/self-control tools, wherewith people elect to target and/or execute threats on themselves to help elicit better behavior. The legal system is basically also collective threats that help us behave better, but is it inefficient such that we should do better without? I think the opposite, such that any one threat can not only be harmful, but also neutral or beneficial.

and a defecting equilibrium which does not.

Why doesn't this also require coordination? Also, there also seems to be a mixed equilibrium where both players randomize their strategies 50/50.

For the Chicken game, the mixed strategy equilibrium is not 50/50 but more specifically 90/10. And a mutual defection can also not constitute crash, but instead allow for further and stable repeated play, particularly if a mixed strategy equilibrium is coordinated and acted upon.