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The Tragedy of Group Selectionism

Hi Eliezar

Two questions
1) Which equation in the D.S. Wilson paper are referring to with your C/B < Fst equation formula relates to the paper, this look more like Hmailton's equation which Wilson is, indirectly, criticizing and trying to show that this (kin selection) is a sub-set of multi-level selection. Where are the two levels of selection in this equation which is the key basis for modern group selection formulations?

2) Why not use a criticism of group selection based on claims that are currently being made rather than a discredited scenario (Wynn-Edwards argument here - which he thinks can now be rehabilitated but this is a minority position) such as Wilson and Hölldobler's work on insects? The scenario you used looks is misleading as most modern group (multi-level) selectionists would not refer to such a scenario and explanation for support.

Rational vs. Scientific Ev-Psych

I am not sure if your analogy works as you are making only one interpretation of the change in status from "just-so conjecture" to "plausible testable hypothesis".

This move could also provide explanatory power to the listener - not just that it is now plausible science (but not actually yet performed) - but that you have helped them see how the "hunter motionless for his prey" and "the frozen male fridge user" could be operating under similar psychological (or evolutionary or both) antecedent conditions. This is, of course, the whole point of your insight in the first place but because it now, ex post, appears obvious to you does not mean this is so in the listener. Your plausible hypothesis is an additional explanation to help them understand your argument better. In particular, you have shown with your move how your conjecture could be wrong and this is additional information and also contrary to "just-so" arguments. So the change in Bayesian weighting could come from better comprehension rather than because of the label "science" being attached.

You need a way of differentiating these two interpretations but, unscientifically :-) I agree with the your main point, making something appear scientific is a rhetorical move and should not alter one's expectations, just find a better example!