visions of altruism genes

i had visions of this schematic diagram (along with sugarplums, of course!) knocking around in my head over christmas. for those of you who haven’t been following along, it came to mind ’cause of a brief conversation in this comments thread here.

the slopes might not be exactly right for conveying what i’ve got in mind — if i had actually drawn the graph myself, maybe they’d be more “right” (i brazenly stole and adapted the graph from wikipedia) — but hopefully you’ll get my general meaning. see what you think:

(hint: as the degree of inbreeding in a population increases, the number of reciprocal altruism genes decreases while the number of “sib-altruism” genes increases. and vice versa.)

previously: technical stuff

(note: comments do not require an email. sugarplums!)

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53 Comments

  1. Beautiful visual display of the whole idea in a nutshell! There’s nothing more to say:) Now you can retire (but don’t!:) That being said, a commenter at sbpdl mentioned the following & i wondered what you thought: “…The Chinese, like the Arabs, are successful as amoral merchants, but what they both lack is what Europeans had: altruism and compassion combined with a zeal to build something better.” & commenter referenced this article: http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/126/special-report-china-in-africa.html

    Reply

  2. Well, let’s see. In my family there is my wife and my daughter. With my wife — now that we are well settled in :) — tit-for-tat rules. You cook and I’ll do the dishes. With my daughter (as it was with my parents) asymmetry rules. I do things for her with no expectation of return. Love flows down through the generations like water down a flight of stairs. Not sure about my siblings.

    Reply

  3. The basic idea is that genes (alleles) which come into play more frequently increase in frequency and vice versa. Is that it?

    Suppose we marry our cousin. Will there be less tit-for-tat and more true love? How could you tell? More self-sacrificing behavior? Lower divorce rate maybe?

    Honor killing needs to be explained. What kind of altruism is that? Does it only occur in inbred societies?

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  4. Sorry, but you’ve got me going. One last comment and I’ll shut up.

    Is science possible in inbred societies? Or do the demands of kin on one’s time and resources make it impossible to spend much time on issues of idle curiosity?

    Likewise our sense of civic responsibility: What co-efficients of relatedness are necessary to make one willingly choose to sacrifice for larger circles than smaller?

    Reply

  5. @panjoomby – “Now you can retire….”

    yay! (^_^)

    @panjoomby – “‘…The Chinese, like the Arabs, are successful as amoral merchants, but what they both lack is what Europeans had: altruism and compassion combined with a zeal to build something better.'”

    well, yeah, i think there’s something to this.

    if my working theory is in any way correct (degree/type of inbreeding/outbreeding affects the selection of “genes for altruism”), then it makes sense that europeans seem to be the most altruistic and compassionate on the whole to non-family members than other groups. europeans seem to be the most outbred population over the longest time period, so it would make sense that genes related to “reciprocal altruism” would’ve been selected for and are probably found at higher frequencies in european populations (esp. northwestern european populations). in an outbred society where people would no longer rely so much on their family members for support, what type of person would succeed? those who could cooperate well with their neighbors, i would think.

    the arabs, on the other hand, are very inbred and they don’t seem to manage to cooperate very well at all with non-family or non-clan/tribe members. my guess is that they’ve got lots of “sib-altruism” genes, whatever they might be.

    the chinese — and lots of other peoples — are somewhere in between. traditionally, they practiced a more moderate form of inbreeding than the arabs (mother’s brother’s daughter’s marriage vs. father’s brother’s daughter’s marriage), a marriage system which allows for rather broad social ties, but not as broad as little or no inbreeding at all. so they’re rather clannish, esp. in rural communities, but not crazy tribal like the arabs. so over the centuries, you would think that some amount of reciprocal altruism genes would’ve been selected for, but not so much as in europe.

    my impression, tho, is that the inbreeding rates in china have dropped a lot in more modern times and cousin marriage is actually illegal now in china (since the 1980s). so, after a couple of hundred years, maybe the chinese will have different altruism traits. (~_^)

    as for the zeal to build something better — dunno about that.

    am i making any sense, or am i just rambling? (~_^) thnx for the link to the article about china in africa!

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  6. @luke – “With my wife — now that we are well settled in :) — tit-for-tat rules. You cook and I’ll do the dishes. With my daughter (as it was with my parents) asymmetry rules. I do things for her with no expectation of return.”

    tit-for-tat — classic reciprocal altruism. (^_^) and not surprising that this is the structure of the altruism in your relationship with your wife (i’m assuming you haven’t married a cousin). while you prolly share quite a lot of genes in common — that’s why you found each other attractive (genetic similarity theory) — you’re not blood relatives, so why should “sib-altruism” genes play a part in how you treat one another?

    your daughter, otoh, you share 50.81% of virtually identical genes (ignoring her mutations) with her — and she is your genetic bank, really — your investment for the future. not strange that you feel glad to do a lot for her (almost anything?) with no expectation of return. (^_^)

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  7. @luke – “The basic idea is that genes (alleles) which come into play more frequently increase in frequency and vice versa. Is that it?”

    the genes (alleles) that make their “hosts” (you and me and everyone else) the most successful (i.e. leave the most number of descendants behind) increase in frequency and vice versa.

    so, in a society where success depends upon cooperating with strangers, what sort of altruism genes will become the most frequent in the population (i.e. be selected for)? my guess right now is that “genes for reciprocal altruism” (and i don’t have a clue what those might be) would become the most frequent.

    on the other hand, in a society where success depends upon cooperating with family members, what sort of altruism genes will become the most frequent in the population? “genes for sib-altruism” i think.

    i would think that you would find both sorts of altruism in every society, just the frequencies would differ.

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  8. @luke – “Suppose we marry our cousin. Will there be less tit-for-tat and more true love? How could you tell? More self-sacrificing behavior? Lower divorce rate maybe?”

    all good questions — and, i dunno! (^_^) checking out the divorce rates would certainly be interesting. i wonder if one could find the data. divorce rates are pretty high in the muslim world, tho, so maybe everything’s relative.

    “more true love?”

    that was an interesting way of putting it and made me wonder (once again), what is true love? i don’t think it’s a coincidence that, from what i understand, ideas of romantic love started to take hold in medieval europe, right during the time when the church was so strongly discouraging cousin marriage and had been doing so for several centuries. maybe by the high middle ages, since the populations had been genetically pulled apart (by all of the outbreeding), many people began to yearn for a kind of feeling that other peoples often just feel towards their cousins whom they could marry. when you read accounts of separated siblings who meet as adults and then fall in love, their attraction is so strong (’cause of their genetic similarity) — maybe medieval europeans kinda felt they were missing out. i dunno. one of my more fanciful thoughts. (~_^)

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  9. @luke – “Honor killing needs to be explained. What kind of altruism is that? Does it only occur in inbred societies?”

    honor killing is, i think, a sort-of upside-down-backwards kind-of altruism that only makes sense if you look at it from a certain angle (inclusive fitness) — and, yeah, i’m pretty sure it only occurs in very inbred societies.

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  10. @luke – “Sorry, but you’ve got me going. One last comment and I’ll shut up.”

    heh. (^_^)

    @luke – “Is science possible in inbred societies? Or do the demands of kin on one’s time and resources make it impossible to spend much time on issues of idle curiosity?”

    i dunno! certainly there’s the inbreeding and low-iq connection which would make science difficult in any really inbred society, but individuals in inbred societies might feel (and be!) drained in other ways as well.

    @luke – “Likewise our sense of civic responsibility: What co-efficients of relatedness are necessary to make one willingly choose to sacrifice for larger circles than smaller?”

    well, it’s not as easy (unfortunately) as just looking at the coefficients of relatedness, i think. you’ve really got to take into account the evolutionary history of a population wrt its patterns of altruism to try to figure out what’s going on. how long have they been inbreeding/outbreeding, etc., etc.? in other words, it’s complicated!

    i did look at the responses to the world values survey from around the world as far as being a member (an active member) of a voluntary association goes — an indicator of “civicness” according to putnam. compiled the results in two posts here and here.

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  11. hbdchick
    “i had visions of this schematic diagram (along with sugarplums, of course!) knocking around in my head over christmas”

    I think that’s the core of the idea in a plumshell.

    .
    panjoomby
    “what Europeans had: altruism and compassion combined with a zeal to build something better”

    I think there’s something in that although not neccessarily direct i.e. i think high levels of relatedness might act as an anchor which focuses people on family practicalities. Losing that anchor might make crusading (in the general sense) and dreaming more likely both at an individual and a group level. This can be a bad thing too of course.

    .
    Luke Lea
    “The basic idea is that genes (alleles) which come into play more frequently increase in frequency and vice versa. Is that it?”

    If sib altruism is proportional to relatedness then you get larger amounts of sib altruism from sib altruism genes the more related the group is. If the same group becomes more outbred then the benefits of sib altruism decrease in proportion to the decrease in relatedness. So somehow i think the mechanism must be related to efficiency e.g. sib altruism is the most efficient mechanism if relatedness is high enough but below a certain threshold of relatedness other forms become more efficient (or different proportions become more efficient).

    .
    “Honor killing needs to be explained. What kind of altruism is that? Does it only occur in inbred societies?”

    I think you need to see honor killing as a deterrent. If an extended family has x daughters over three generations and without honor killing x/3 of them would rebel as regards the family’s choice of marriage partner but one honor killing every three generations scares the other potential rebels then the choice is between losing x/3 family assets or losing one.

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  12. @g.w. – “I always had the feeling the cousin-marriage thing would have a more dramatic build-up effect over time than is expressed in the standard coefficient of relatedness….”

    yeah, absolutely! those coefficients of relatedness only tell you about one generation — there’s no time depth in them. i’m sure there are formulas for calculating multiple generations — actually, i know there are — i’ve seen them — but h*ck if i understand them! (~_^) (new year’s resolution — learn more math….)

    thanks for linking to that! cool. i wish i had my whole genome so i could analyze it like that. one of these days…. (^_^)

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  13. “i’m sure there are formulas for calculating multiple generations — actually, i know there are — i’ve seen them — but h*ck if i understand them!”

    yeah, i keep bumping up against my limited mathematics knowledge, which is annoying as my gut says there’s some very simple mathematical relationships underlying this due to the fixed limits in the system: 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great-grandparents ect.

    .
    “thanks for linking to that! cool. i wish i had my whole genome so i could analyze it like that. one of these days”

    I was struck by the idea of long strips of DNA being the same among inbred relatives. It illustrates how inbreeding is a kind of DIY cloning – unity through (literal) identity.

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  14. Honor killing needs to be explained. What kind of altruism is that? Does it only occur in inbred societies?

    In early Rome, the pater familias (father of the family/household, head of household) had the patria potestas which gave him supreme authority, including the power of life and death over his wife and children. The pater familias was also a priest to his family, so his position was also infused with religious authority.

    http://www.stoa.org/diotima/anthology/wlgr/wlgr-romanlegal109.shtml

    Valerius Maximus, Memorable Deeds and Sayings 6.3.9-12, 1st cent. A.D. L

    Egnatius Metellus took a cudgel and beat his wife to death because she had drunk some wine. Not only did no one charge him with a crime, but no one even blamed him. Everyone considered this an excellent example of one who had justly paid the penalty for violating the laws of sobriety.

    Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights 10.23, 2nd cent. A.D. L

    I have copied Cato’s words from a speech called On the Dowry, in which it is stated that husbands who caught their wives in adultery could kill them: ‘The husband’, he says, ‘who divorces his wife is her judge, as though he were a censor; [13] he has power if she has done something perverse and awful; if she has drunk wine she is punished; if she has done wrong with another man, she is condemned to death.’ It is also written, regarding the right to kill: ‘If you catch your wife in adultery, you can kill her with impunity; she, however, cannot dare to lay a finger on you if you commit adultery, nor is it the law.’

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  15. @g.w. – “It illustrates how inbreeding is a kind of DIY cloning….”

    it really is, isn’t it? the closer the relative you mate with (hypothetically, of course), the more genes you share and the more gene sequences you share.

    i guess the closest you could get to cloning yourself without actually cloning yourself (d*mnit! when is that going to be possible?!) is to mate with a parent (ewwwwwww!) — ’cause you definitely share 50% of your genetic material (chromosomes) with each parent, but you probably share 50% of your genetic material with your siblings. of course, if you and your siblings all had your geneomes sequenced, you could pick and choose which ones shared the most genes with you and thereby get as close as possible to cloning yourself.

    not that i’m recommending the practice! over the long term, it could be — would probably be — a bad idea. but, hey, if you and your parents/siblings had no negative genes (i.e. genes for some quirky diseases or something) — and/or, even better, had some really great genes (high iq genes, for instance) — all the inbreeding might not be a bad idea.

    (ok. i’ve obviously been thinking waaaaay too much about this topic. (~_^) )

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  16. @g.w. – “I was struck by the idea of long strips of DNA being the same among inbred relatives.”

    yes — genetic linkage. i keep having this little nagging thought in the back of my head about genetic linkage and inclusive fitness and altruism, etc., etc. — that is, that something’s missing.

    hamilton’s (or price’s) formula doesn’t (as far as i understand it) take into account genetic linkage — at least the very basic formula doesn’t, maybe there’s more complicated formulas somewhere else that do. it’s just based on the fact that we inherit half of our genes from each of our parents (which in itself isn’t exactly correct either, but that’s another issue).

    what hamilton, and most others theorizing about the evolution of altruism genes, was thinking about, of course, is that one’s own altruism genes might be found in other individuals (family members esp.) and so we are more altruistic towards those people, yada, yada, yada.

    but what if combinations of altruism genes are the important thing? such as those combinations found in familial genetic linkage, for instance? how do we calculate that?

    i really haven’t given this much thought — it’s just a little nagging thing in the back of my mind. (~_^) maybe someone out there has considered it — dunno. frank salter maybe? in a way?

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  17. (html mixup in text, last try)

    thinking aloud
    .
    I was thinking about Hamilton’s rule C < r x B, as a choice i.e. at any point it's the choice of expending some limited resource e.g. time, on self versus each potential "other"

    rs x Bs < ro x Bo

    rs, relatedness to self, is always identity, 1.0, so it's actually

    Bs < ro x Bo

    altruism is beneficial to self if benefit to self is less than relatedness (aka percentage of self in other), multiplied by benefit to other

    so if it's ultimately selfishness translated through percentage of self then the mechanism has to recognize percentage of self?

    if group altruism is adaptive then people in their natural state would try and be as related as possible which they do within certain limits so group altruism is adaptive but is it open-ended or limited to identity i.e. 1.0?

    if group altruism is adaptive but inversely proportional to numbers then greater numbers require a different source of altruism.

    The two extremes: society of 100% clones vs society of 100% empaths.

    .
    "i guess the closest you could get to cloning yourself without actually cloning yourself is to mate with a parent"

    Except there must be a good reason for the Westermarck effect. So probably the closest practical option is constant recombination through a closed lineage.

    .
    "all the inbreeding might not be a bad idea"

    Well without cloning only a relatively small group can be very inbred which limits total numbers which limits the benefits of larger-scale cooperation e.g. the farmers, unless of course the inbred group exist as a ruling class / caste.

    I think the two gene-type groups on your graph will be between genes that generate selfish versions of altruism and genes that generate selfless altruism. Reciprocal altruism is one of the former – effectively enlightened self-interest. (Selfless altruism will be ultimately selfish but only in terms of probablity so it has to be forced.) Inbreeding will inhibit empathy altruism because it's universal rather than particular. Outbreeding may encourage it.

    (Again is maximizing altruism always good or just up to the identity limit?)

    If so the most genocidal human groups will be the most inbred – nomadic pastoralists – because they will have the least empathy (if and when they can cooperate long enough in a large enough group).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genocides_in_history#Before_1490

    Inbreeding leads to family or tribe based version of sociopath e.g. mafia. i wonder of anyone has written about the marriage patterns of mafioso in Italy. i bet they have some version of FBD stylee?

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  18. “I think the two gene-type groups on your graph will be between genes that generate selfish versions of altruism and genes that generate selfless altruism. Reciprocal altruism is one of the former – effectively enlightened self-interest.”

    Actually that’s wrong. Reciprocal altruism is selfish but doesn’t require relatedness so three elements: selfish, selfless and relatedness, selfish vs selfless and related vs unrelated.

    1) selfish / related (sib altruism)
    2) selfish / unrelated (reciprocal altruism)
    3) selfless / related (contradiction in terms?)
    4) selfless / unrelated (empathy altruism?)

    3) could be a way of getting around the limit of Bs < ro x Bo where r can never be more than 1.0 (self) through adding another variable i.e. Bs < roBo + e.

    which implies it's more efficient under some circumstances e.g. mother-child

    child can't reciprocate?

    either way if maximizing group altruism is adaptive then if r goes down and C < rB + e is the actual rule then e might increase like a chain reaction

    which is all very star trek and galactic federation

    but only if everyone does it at once.."

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  19. @g.w. – “so if it’s ultimately selfishness translated through percentage of self then the mechanism has to recognize percentage of self?”

    yeah. that’s why i was wondering before (and still sometimes) if maybe there aren’t really any genes for altruism, but rather just genes for “un”-altruism towards the “un”-related.

    i dunno. just one of my whimsical thoughts. (~_^)

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  20. @g.w. – “Except there must be a good reason for the Westermarck effect. So probably the closest practical option is constant recombination through a closed lineage.”

    yes. i was only taking it to the (quite silly) extreme hypothetically speaking. (~_^) surely there are very good reasons for the westermarck effect, one of them being to avoid cr*ppy genes/gene combinations that cause unhealthy conditions, or whatever.

    another reason, of course, is that with too much inbreeding, you kinda lose all the benefits of sexual reproduction (no, not those ones!). this has to do with another one of hamilton’s very clever ideas that the point of sexual reproduction was so that slow evolving creatures with long lifespans (e.g. us) could kinda keep up with the pace of rapidly evolving pathogens (viruses, bacteria, etc.). they can change so quickly in such a short space of time — in order to not be wiped out completely by the little buggers, we’ve evolved to shuffle up and spread around our genes/gene combinations (esp. any new beneficial mutations) in order to put up a fight, as it were. westermarck’s handy in this regard, too.

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  21. @g.w. – “Well without cloning only a relatively small group can be very inbred which limits total numbers which limits the benefits of larger-scale cooperation….”

    good point!!

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  22. @g.w. – “Actually that’s wrong. Reciprocal altruism is selfish….”

    exactly. it’s all selfish. gotta keep that in mind at all times.

    @g.w. – “which is all very star trek and galactic federation

    but only if everyone does it at once..””

    heh! (^_^)

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  23. @g.w. – “Inbreeding leads to family or tribe based version of sociopath e.g. mafia. i wonder of anyone has written about the marriage patterns of mafioso in Italy. i bet they have some version of FBD stylee?”

    apparently, the common form of cousin marriage in sicily is/was cross cousin, so mother’s brother’s daughter or father’s sister’s daughter. i don’t know which one ’cause i haven’t gotten my hands on that article (yet!).

    perhaps mafia families practice more fbd, i don’t know. they definitely marry frequently within the family — there was (at least) one example of a mbd mafia marriage in this post here — one that i could figure out anyhow.

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  24. i dunno. just one of my whimsical thoughts

    yes i do that now except my whimsying is more weirdly mechanical, computer-like and slightly disturbing

    .
    yes. i was only taking it to the (quite silly) extreme hypothetically speaking

    yes a bit of computer-mode literalism on my part there

    .
    you kinda lose all the benefits of sexual reproduction (no, not those ones!).

    heh, suddenly had an image of a squad of girl imperial stormtroopers polishing their armour

    .
    this has to do with another one of hamilton’s very clever ideas that the point of sexual reproduction was so that slow evolving creatures with long lifespans (e.g. us) could kinda keep up with the pace of rapidly evolving pathogens

    ah yes

    .
    perhaps mafia families practice more fbd, i don’t know. they definitely marry frequently within the family

    i have developed a bad habit of using FBD to mean “herder inbreeding” and the others as “farmer inbreeding” based on size of group.

    which now i think of it makes me wonder if it’s somehow related to

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar's_number

    “Dunbar noted that the groups fell into three categories — small, medium and large, equivalent to bands, cultural lineage groups and tribes — with respective size ranges of 30–50, 100–200 and 500–2500 members each.”

    .
    yeah. that’s why i was wondering before (and still sometimes) if maybe there aren’t really any genes for altruism, but rather just genes for “un”-altruism towards the “un”-related.

    this is what’s getting me, the actual mechanisms and consequently the minimum number of types of gene that would be neccessary to make it all work.

    the rule uses r x B. one part of that is r, relatedness. how does a person know what the value of r is? what is the mechanism?

    if sib altruism is partly or largely based on a recognition of self in others then the mechanism for r is simply recognition and you can increase it’s effect by making sure your group…

    looks alike.

    so if inbreeding and genetic linkage effects phenotype then that would be the only mechanism you’d need for the r. if there was a some kind of test of “alikeness” then more inbred 1st cousins might have the same score as more outbred brothers?

    You see the same thing culturally where tribes have distinctive clothes, tattoos, scarring etc.

    so the r component of the equation wouldn’t need any specific genes. it would work on recognition and inbreeding would increase ease of recognition.

    ###

    exactly. it’s all selfish. gotta keep that in mind at all times.

    yes but this is the thing. i’m filtering this through personal experience and on that basis at first thought i’d separate out three cases:

    1) Reciprocal altruism.
    This is the clearest cut. As a social animal reciprocal altruism makes sense when it makes sense (brains) and when there is enough trust so it’s simply a function of brains and minimal trust which in theory it’s independent of relatedness and doesn’t involve inner compulsion.

    2) Blood compulsion.
    Example 1: My sister was being hit by some other kid when we were little and i ran over the road to help (and got hit by a car doh!). I remember it very well obviously and it was entirely compulsion. I didn’t think about running over at all and there was no resistance i.e. no hesitation. (I’ll come back to the resistance point.)

    Example 2: Lesser issues like a brother wanting help moving furniture, again a feeling of compulsion but weaker but again no feeling of external resistance, just laziness.

    3) Empathy compulsion – distress at distress.
    Now i’ve done this quite a lot and the difference from blood compulsion is there definitely is hesitation and resistance. there’s a distinct battle in your head between one force saying don’t waste time helping a stranger and an irritation akin to nicotine craving which is forcing you to help to get rid of the irritation.

    this third case isn’t obviously selfish in an inclusive fitness sense. for some reason some people have evolved a trait that pumps irritation chemicals into their blood when someone is distressed which is like a mechanism specifically designed to over-ride hamilton’s rule.

    however as you say it must have been selfish somehow at some point or it wouldn’t have spread.

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  25. yeah. that’s why i was wondering before (and still sometimes) if maybe there aren’t really any genes for altruism, but rather just genes for “un”-altruism towards the “un”-related.

    reply 2: reciprocal altruism

    Say reciprocal altruism requires a minimal level of trust and
    a) trust ~ relatedness
    b) trust ~ trust testing rituals (friendship/grooming)
    and the combination of the two has to get over some minimum threshold to allow reciprocal altruism.

    Take a village of 200 divided into 4 lineage groups of 50. if the 4 lineage groups inbreed completely then they have very high relatedness and trust within each lineage but low relatedness and trust with the rest of the village so the average trust across the village as a whole is low which makes it harder for one-to-one reciprocal altrusism to develop outside the lineages. Inside the lineages the threshold is already reached through relatedness alone.

    Say the four lineages form into two pairs who trade brides between each pair. Each lineage of 50 dilutes their internal relatedness somewhat while increasing their relatedness with their paired lineage. so they’re trading x relatedness to 50 people for y relatedness to 100 people. if the sum of (relatedness x number of people) is higher after the change than it was before then the average relatedness within the larger group goes up so the average trust within the larger group goes up so the trust threshold for reciprocal altruism becomes easier to reach among those 100 people.

    so reciprocal altruism would be inversely proportional to inbreeding if outbreeding increased average relatedness.

    however that doesn’t require genes for reciprocal altruism. it’s simply a function of a possible inverse relationship between inbreeding and average trust.

    an actual genetic mechanism for increasing reciprocal altruism? trust genes?

    i dunno, the outbreeding ~ higher average trust fits pretty neatly.

    (this could go back to Dunbar also. if there was some equation that could give you a number for the average relatedness among breeding groups of a certain size then there would be clear thresholds where the (relatedness x numbers) sum made a jump in group size beneficial. for example if you could express average relatedness in a single number then if
    – breeding group size 50, average relatedness 8
    – breeding group size 100, average relatedness 4
    – breeding group size 150, average relatedness 3
    the total relatedness in the first two cases is the same at 400 and doesn’t warrant a jump whereas it jumps to 450 in the third case so if the opportunity arose it would be beneficial for a size 50 breeding group to jump to a 150 size breeding group at least in terms of average relatedness ~ average trust ~ easier reciprocal altruism.)

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  26. (messed up html on last one – again – please delete)

    yeah. that’s why i was wondering before (and still sometimes) if maybe there aren’t really any genes for altruism, but rather just genes for “un”-altruism towards the “un”-related.

    reply 3: sib altruism vs empathy altruism

    i wonder if the two things i called blood compulsion and empathy compulsion are actually two things or not. if they were two things then hamilton’s rule would be more like

    C < rB + e

    where empathy distress was an independent factor which could outweigh the relatedness calculation in which case there'd need to be a good reason how it could have developed.

    or

    it might just be that where relatedness is high you only need small amounts of empathy distress to trigger action so in those cases where i didn't notice the conflict it was because it's only noticeable when you need large amounts of empathy distress to make you act. in which case empathy distress is the mechanism in both cases.

    if so then the actual expression might be something like

    C < reB

    so r would be relatedness (or the recognition of relatedness) and empathy (identification with the problem) would be the actual mechanism that triggers the action. if r was high, e would only need to be low to make someone act. if r was low then e would need to be high to have the same effect.

    if average r in a population reduced over time then the level of altruism would go down unless the average value of e increased to compensate.

    ###

    another related thought is in the rule C < rB (or C < reB) how can you know accurately what C and B are?

    example: spending an hour repairing your own roof versus an hour helping your brother repair his. even in a seemingly like for like case like this it might not be as his roof might be in greater need of repair or he might have four freezing kids while you only have two etc.

    given all the potential choices for altruism most of which couldn't be accurately calculated in advance how could it work?

    leave it to probability?

    if empathy distress was the mechanism and it *coerced* altruism in proportion to relatedness multiplied by distress then if the average level of e was too high you'd have more high e people drowned trying to save little kids than they rescued and the level of e would go down.

    so you wouldn't need to calculate B or C. you'd be coerced by e and average e would go up or down over time depending on how well it matched probability. if the average level of e in a population was too high then the combined result of the sum of all the altruistic decisions taken by that population would be B < C and the average level of e would automatically go down if the average result was C < B then the average level of e would go up.

    so at an individual level there is no conscious Hamilton's rule there is simply

    if ( r x e greater than comfort) then act i.e. coercion through empathy.

    so, r x e, relatedness multiplied by empathy distress where genes for empathy distress get passed on (or not) depending on probability that the sum(r x e) decisions leads to C < B or not.

    if r went down among a homogenous population because of outbreeding then an increase in e wouldn't hurt – and is likely to have been beneficial e.g. sewers and clean water etc – but it requires the whole population to be the same way.

    ###

    if any of that makes sense then

    – the mechanism by which relatedness, r, maximizes sib altruism could work simply through inbreeding making the related look more alike
    – if outbreeding increases average trust and reciprocal altruism requires minimum levels of trust then reciprocal altruism would be an indirect side-effect of outbreeding
    – sib altruism and empathy altruism would effectively be the same thing, (r x e). The difference would be sib altruism had high r and only needed low e while empathy altruism would be the reverse
    – in terms of genes i think the only active ingredient needed is the variable amount of empathy genes increasing with outbreeding

    Reply

  27. @g.w. – “(messed up html on last one – again – please delete)”

    hope i deleted the right one! if not, lemme know. it’s sitting in the “trash.” (^_^)

    Reply

  28. @g.w. – “heh, suddenly had an image of a squad of girl imperial stormtroopers polishing their armour….”

    huh. funny. i often have a similar image in my mind, only it’s han solo polishing his “blaster.” (~_^) (don’t tell my husband!)

    @g.w. – “i have developed a bad habit of using FBD to mean ‘herder inbreeding’ and the others as ‘farmer inbreeding’ based on size of group.”

    no problem! that does make a sort-of sense and i think a h*ckuva lot of the ‘herder inbreeders’ do practice fbd marriage. (wouldn’t it be interesting, tho, if the mafia families actually did have a tendancy towards fbd marriage while the rest of sicily stuck to mbd marriage…?)

    @g.w. – “Dunbar noted that the groups fell into three categories — small, medium and large, equivalent to bands, cultural lineage groups and tribes — with respective size ranges of 30–50, 100–200 and 500–2500 members each.

    i’m still so skeptical of dunbar’s number. i mean, i do think he is generally on to something, but i know that my somewhat inbred agriculturalist family members back in the “old country” keep track of waaaaay more than 150 people. they keep track of pretty much the entire parish — at least knowing broadly about all the different families (maybe they can’t remember if the so-and-so’s have 3 or 4 kids exactly, but they generally know who’s married to whom and if they have a family or not) — and that’s at least 2500 people. 150? meh. maybe amongst hunter-gatherers, but lots of humans have been farmers for thousands of years.

    Reply

  29. @g.w. – “how does a person know what the value of r is? what is the mechanism?

    if sib altruism is partly or largely based on a recognition of self in others then the mechanism for r is simply recognition and you can increase it’s effect by making sure your group looks alike….

    so the r component of the equation wouldn’t need any specific genes. it would work on recognition and inbreeding would increase ease of recognition.”

    yeah, i think that given what we know about genetic similarity theory — and all the anecdotal evidence of genetic sexual attraction (separated siblings who wind up being head-over-heels about each other if/when they do meet) — i think simple recognition is the key. looks like me, smells like me, behaves like me — must be (like) me. (of course, in the modern world, recognition might lead one astray. an east asian might look like me ’cause they also have fair skin, but the genes coding for that are actually different.)

    i mean, why should we be so different from plants? the plants are just picking up on chemical signals between the root systems. why shouldn’t we be doing the same (i.e. have recognition-based mechanisms)?

    Reply

  30. @g.w. – “if outbreeding increases average trust and reciprocal altruism requires minimum levels of trust then reciprocal altruism would be an indirect side-effect of outbreeding”

    yes. that’s where i was in my thinking a few months ago (and maybe that is right and i should go back there!).

    i had been thinking that, you know, inbreeding=lots of altruism between family members (“sib”-altruism), outbreeding=not-so-much altruism between family members, therefore more altruism available for non-family members.

    but we really are — or should be — talking about the evolution (by natural selection) of genes for behaviors here (either genes for altruism towards other individuals, family members or no, -OR- genes for un-altruism towards non-self — whatever). that’s why i started thinking about genes for sib-altruism vs. reciprocal altruism as perhaps being opposites of sorts.

    but that could be wrong. maybe reciprocal altruism is just some sort of default that everyone possesses (except maybe psychopaths) and that inbreeding/outbreeding just increases/decreases sib-altruism genes.

    working theories. (^_^)

    Reply

  31. (wouldn’t it be interesting, tho, if the mafia families actually did have a tendancy towards fbd marriage while the rest of sicily stuck to mbd marriage…?)

    yes it would. if FBD maximizes genetic linkage between the males (?) then it would (?) maximize male-male altruism in the group rather than whole group altruism maximized by other systems (?). in the context of an environment dominated by lots of small-scale violence this might provide an edge.

    .
    i’m still so skeptical of dunbar’s number. i mean, i do think he is generally on to something, but i know that my somewhat inbred agriculturalist family members back in the “old country” keep track of waaaaay more than 150 people.

    Similar experience with wife’s family. Her gran knew the family relationship of (literally) everyone for miles around.

    I was thinking more that if
    – you had a breeding population of n people
    – you set the rules for who could marry who
    – you had a neat formula
    you could calculate the average relatedness (in terms of genetic identity) of the people in that breeding population.

    then if you listed the breeding group sizes alongside the average relatedness numbers there might be a pattern.derived from the 2-4-8-16 pattern and how rapidly ancestors would be doing double duty i.e. the size of 50 might be where everyone shares x out of 4 grandparents, size 150 might be where on average everyone in the group shares x out of 8 great-grandparents.

    this is just one of my gut feeling things. i think there might be plateaus in group size x average relatedness that lead to optimal group sizes, but anyway…

    the more concrete theory is it’s simply connected to environment i.e. there’s an optimal forager group size, an optimal herder group size, optimal farmer group size etc (on average) and those optimums fall within a certain range because the environments they’re an optimum for fall within a certain range.

    .
    you know, this one seems goes way back. pre-human prolly:Study shows rats help pals escape

    yes it was that link that made me roll back. i’d been thinking sib altruism as relatedness times (some mechanism) and a separate empathy altruism that developed to compensate for outbreeding but if the (some mechanism) was empathy as well, (and as empathy is identification), you simply need less of it when r (genetic identification) is high i.e. r + e or r x e, then it’s just one mechanism. it still works vis a vis inbreeding vs outbreeding as reducing r provides a reason for e to be selected for (if group altruism is beneficial).

    as an aside it would be good if they re-ran the experiment with differently related rats and also with and without keeping the pairs in the same cage for a while beforehand so
    – related / shared cage
    – unrelated / shared cage
    – related / different cages
    – unrelated / different cages

    .
    working theories. (^_^)

    same. i keep wobbling around trying to picture single-action mechanisms or mechanisms that can be broken into single-action components as each single-action would be a candidate for a gene.

    .
    but we really are — or should be — talking about the evolution (by natural selection) of genes for behaviors here (either genes for altruism towards other individuals, family members or no, -OR- genes for un-altruism towards non-self — whatever). that’s why i started thinking about genes for sib-altruism vs. reciprocal altruism as perhaps being opposites of sorts.

    but that could be wrong. maybe reciprocal altruism is just some sort of default that everyone possesses (except maybe psychopaths) and that inbreeding/outbreeding just increases/decreases sib-altruism genes.

    yes i agree there’s a sense of two opposites. my version of the same thing was thinking of sib altruism and empathy altruism as opposites.

    the two sets of poles i see are kin vs stranger and choice vs compulsion (the latter pair because of personal experience, empathy is a compulsive force not a rational choice imo).

    i see reciprocal altruism as rational. it’s a choice. although in social animals? maybe the gene for it is lonesomeness – not having friends? so it is compulsive also?

    the other reason i lean to compulsion is it’s simpler. if a man is watching his brother’s son drown in a river how can he accurately calculate the probablity of sucess and failure and the consequent cost and benefit. it’s much easier to just compel him to dive in and modify the average strength of the compulsion in the population over time through natural selection.

    so
    – r, relatedness, level of identification with the other person
    – e, reaction to distress, a compulsive force
    – B, not benefit, because you can’t calculate it, but perceived distress
    – reB, your level of relatedness times how much distress bothers you times how much of a fuss the other person is making

    1) brother wants you to fix his roof while he shags your wife: r high, B zero
    2) brother wants you to help him fix his roof: r high, B medium
    3) brother’s son drowning in river: r high, B very high

    1) stranger wants you to fix his roof while he shags your wife: r low or zero, B zero
    2) stranger wants you to help him fix his roof: r low or zero, B medium
    3) stranger’s son drowning in river: r low or zero, B very high

    (can’t decide if (r + e)B fits better. everyone is technically related very slightly i think so drowning stranger’s kid wouldn’t have an r of exactly 0 but (r + e)B fits the sense of opposite forces. reB for now.)

    so the only genes you need are empathy genes providing the compulsive force working in conjunction with identification which is r both multiplied by signs of distress usually audible. if the average level of that compulsive force in the population is adaptive (i.e. the combined sum of altruistic acts meets C < rB) then the level will have increased automatically (because the sum of the results were adaptive). if the level of compulsion is too much (i.e. C < rB isn't met) it will decrease.

    initially you'd have a highly inbred population with very high r and maximized sib altruism and if r went down in the population due to outbreeding then e increasing would act to keep group altruism at the same level. if an increase in reciprocal altruism was an indirect side-effect of outbreeding that would mean e wouldn't have to increase as much

    or

    the compulsive mechanism is in the same form but with two separate engines
    – kin empathy aka love aka genetic self-love aka r
    – kith empathy aka e

    both compulsive.

    ugh, dunno, brain is frying

    the genes needed would be
    – recognition of genetic identity
    – compulsive empathy genes (either one combined set or separate kith and kin versions)
    – recognition of distress
    – distress signals e.g. pain

    Reply

  32. so, (sorry to go on so much) a graphical way to describe what i mean

    imagine a graph with inbred-outbred on the x axis and group altruism on the y axis, say the y axis goes 0.0 to 1.0
    – one line goes horizontally across at 1.0
    – one line goes from 1.0 at the inbred side to 0.4 at the outbred side, colour the portion below the line in the colour for sib altruism
    – one line goes from 1.0 at the inbred side to 0.7 at the outbred side, colour the portion underneath this line down to the sib altruism section in the colour for empathy altruism and the portion above this line the colour for reciprocal altruism

    so at max inbred all the group altruism is sib altruism. at max outbred 0.4 of the group altruism is sib altruism and 0.3 each is empathy altruism and reciprocal altruism

    that may have made it worse :)

    ###

    couple of random thoughts

    something you mentioned the other day gave me a thought relating to the above. if a population was used to marrying cousins at least and assuming that made the spouses sexually attractive to each other then outbreeding would lose that which might have an impact on reproduction. romantic love could be a compensator. it would be a specific form of what i mean about e increasing to compensate for r decreasing.

    unrelated…as FBD lineages have to start with at least two brothers (whose kids marry each other’s cousins potentially ad infinitum) it’s interesting to wonder how many population foundation myths start with two brothers: Romulus and Remus, Hengist and Horsa and erm, maybe others. It would also be interesting if there’s a split between herder groups having brother founders and farmer groups having a single founder or a married couple.

    Reply

  33. @g.w. – “it’s interesting to wonder how many population foundation myths start with two brothers: Romulus and Remus, Hengist and Horsa and erm, maybe others.”

    aaaaaaaaaaah! yes! that’s really good. i like it! (^_^)

    (will come back the rest of your comments later — dinner-time here.)

    Reply

  34. @g.w. – “if FBD maximizes genetic linkage between the males (?)….

    well, it definitely means that all of the males within the clan/tribe share pretty-much (barring mutations) the exact same y-chromosome.

    @g.w. – “the more concrete theory is it’s simply connected to environment i.e. there’s an optimal forager group size, an optimal herder group size, optimal farmer group size etc (on average) and those optimums fall within a certain range because the environments they’re an optimum for fall within a certain range.”

    i think that this is probably very right, however, also what you said…

    “i think there might be plateaus in group size x average relatedness that lead to optimal group sizes”

    …i think there might be something to that, too.

    the idea that “family” constitutes everyone up to and including second-cousins keeps popping up for settled, agricultural populations (greeks, russians, chinese iirc) — indeed, i know most of my family up to and including second-cousins … i don’t know anyone beyond that, although i could probably work it out if i sat down and tried.

    maybe this differs with different mating patterns. i should try to find out who the arabs think of as family.

    Reply

  35. @g.w. – “i’d been thinking sib altruism as relatedness times (some mechanism) and a separate empathy altruism that developed to compensate for outbreeding”

    yes. that’s pretty much what my chart in the post is, isn’t it? “sib-altruism” genes increase over time with inbreeding, whereas “reciprocal altruism” genes increase over time with outbreeding.

    before i was thinking that just “sib-altruism” genes increased with inbreeding and outbreeding just brought us back to some default setting. maybe what you said…

    “but if the (some mechanism) was empathy as well, (and as empathy is identification), you simply need less of it when r (genetic identification) is high”

    …is right. maybe one doesn’t need special “reciprocal altruism” genes.

    back to the drawing board! (~_^)

    and, i’ll have to get my hands on the original rat paper to see if they took into account relatedness. aren’t a lot of those laboratory rates clones? or near clones? i dunno. gotta check that out, too!

    maybe i’ll have to email the researchers to see if they know if the rats were brothers, sisters, first-cousins, second-cousins, second-cousins-once-removed…. (~_^)

    Reply

  36. @g.w. – “the other reason i lean to compulsion is it’s simpler. if a man is watching his brother’s son drown in a river how can he accurately calculate the probablity of sucess and failure and the consequent cost and benefit. it’s much easier to just compel him to dive in and modify the average strength of the compulsion in the population over time through natural selection.”

    yeah, absolutely. no one suggests that anyone is literally doing any calculations of relatedness in an emergency situation (although i think people do it in non-emergency situations — think about sitting down to write a will). natural selection has simply worked to weed out those individuals who wouldn’t jump in the river to save their nephew. or, really, to save almost anybody. if you lived in a small, very traditional society, almost anybody you jumped in to save would be a family member, so it’s easy to see how “jumping-in-the-river-to-save-somebody genes” could be quickly selected for.

    at the same time, tho, we have evolved all these genetic similarity recognition genes. humans obviously do this all the time (especially more inbred ones, i think). so they’ve got to play a role, too.

    @g.w. – “the genes needed would be
    – recognition of genetic identity
    – compulsive empathy genes (either one combined set or separate kith and kin versions)
    – recognition of distress
    – distress signals e.g. pain”

    yeah. those are all good!

    Reply

  37. @g.w. – “so, (sorry to go on so much) a graphical way to describe what i mean….

    that may have made it worse :)”

    heh. (^_^)

    actually, no, i don’t think it made it worse! but i’m gonna draw it so i can see it more clearly.

    i remember now what prompted in my mind the graph from the post — it was that great comment you left with the quote from the (was it pakistani? punjabi?) guy who said he and his neighbors could never manage to work cooperatively together (if they only knew how, they wouldn’t be poor anymore…). edit: this comment.

    i started thinking how with increasing “sib-altruism genes” in a population, reciprocal altruism sure seems to decrease. and, otoh, reciprocal altruism has been a defining marker of western european societies, where there’s been little inbreeding over a long period of time and, therefore, you’d think fewer “sib-altruism genes”. i started to think that maybe “reciprocal altruism genes” had been selected for in the west.

    that’s where this graph idea came from.

    Reply

  38. @g.w. – “something you mentioned the other day gave me a thought relating to the above. if a population was used to marrying cousins at least and assuming that made the spouses sexually attractive to each other then outbreeding would lose that which might have an impact on reproduction. romantic love could be a compensator. it would be a specific form of what i mean about e increasing to compensate for r decreasing.

    yeah, i really do think that romantic love developed as a compensator. interesting idea that’s it’s a form of increasing e. i’ll have to think about that! (^_^)

    Reply

  39. the idea that “family” constitutes everyone up to and including second-cousins keeps popping up for settled, agricultural populations

    i keep going back to that monkey grooming post where there was an almost exact 50% drop in grooming per reduction in degree of relatedness. it doesn’t take many steps before it gets close to zero.

    ###

    maybe i’ll have to email the researchers to see if they know if the rats were brothers, sisters, first-cousins, second-cousins, second-cousins-once-removed

    deffo. i wouldn’t be at all surprised if it was significant

    ###

    yes. that’s pretty much what my chart in the post is, isn’t it? “sib-altruism” genes increase over time with inbreeding, whereas “reciprocal altruism” genes increase over time with outbreeding

    yes, ignore me. i was thinking aloud.

    no one suggests that anyone is literally doing any calculations of relatedness in an emergency situation

    yes i was looking at C < rB and thinking about how it could work in practise – thinking aloud again.

    actually, no, i don’t think it made it worse! but i’m gonna draw it so i can see it more clearly

    my graph doesn’t really illustrate what i meant it to. what i think i was trying to get at was if in-group altruism is adaptive then the sum of the two values should be trying to converge to the same optimal value i.e. as one form (sib altruism) decreased there would be selective pressure for other forms to develop to compensate by the same amount i.e. in a ideal world at each point the values of the two altruisms would add up to the same. (although in reality there’d have to be a time lag.)

    ###

    …is right. maybe one doesn’t need special “reciprocal altruism” genes.

    no i think you’re right about reciprocal altruism being one of the compensating mechanisms. i was thinking something else but there’s no reason there couldn’t be two (or more). two or more is probably more likely in fact.

    ###

    at the same time, tho, we have evolved all these genetic similarity recognition genes. humans obviously do this all the time (especially more inbred ones, i think). so they’ve got to play a role, too.

    yes, if one part of this is compulsion altruism based on the expression

    compulsion ~ relatedness(r) x empathy genes(e) x distress(d)

    an individual would need to be able to evaluate relatedness and distress (two brother warriors with lightning reflexes who startle each other during the day might just manage to stop themselves spearing each other but not in the dark?)

    (another thing thing that might follow from this is individuals in an inbred group who were less related i.e. outside brides, might need to develop ways of exagerrating distress to get a fair shake)

    or maybe the genetic similarity recognition genes provide the action-trigger as well so you don’t need empathy as the trigger and the expression is simply r x d?

    ###

    i really do think that romantic love developed as a compensator

    yes i think it’s likely as well. if the two drivers of out-breeding were the combination of manorialism and the cousin ban then given that manorialism came to France earlier than northern europe then it might have reached a significant plateau after some centuries, say roughly around the time of Eleanor of Aquitaine, for instance.

    interesting idea that’s it’s a form of increasing e.

    or a combination of that and something related to reciprocal altruism.

    Reply

  40. @g.w. – “what i think i was trying to get at was if in-group altruism is adaptive then the sum of the two values should be trying to converge to the same optimal value i.e. as one form (sib altruism) decreased there would be selective pressure for other forms to develop to compensate by the same amount i.e. in a ideal world at each point the values of the two altruisms would add up to the same. (although in reality there’d have to be a time lag.)”

    yeah, that makes sense.

    Reply

  41. a better graphical illustration of what i meant would be

    x-axis, inbreeding outbreeding (i’d have it that way so sib altruism looks like it’s the initial form)
    y-axis, units of in-group altruism

    horizontal line across (at say 8 units) marked as “optimal units of in-group altruism”

    instead of an actual values on the y-axis the columns are made up of coloured blocks, say red for sib altruism and blue for reciprocal altruism (or “other” altruism to include multiple forms)

    so
    1st column, 8 red blocks
    2nd column, 7 red and 1 blue
    3rd column, 6 red and 2 blue
    etc

    or to indicate the time lag
    1st column, 8 red blocks
    2nd column, 7 red blocks
    3rd column, 6 red blocks and 1 blue block
    4rd column, 5 red and 2 blue

    7th column, 2 red and 5 blue
    8th column, 2 red and 6 blue (assuming minimum a sib altruism chosen to be 2)

    or

    8th column, 1 red and 6 blue
    9th column, 7 blue
    10th column, 8 blue (assuming not)

    ###

    i’m currently thinking,

    in-group altruism

    original form: sib altruism = red (r x e x d)

    components required
    – genetic similarity recognition
    – distress recognition
    – empathy genes as the compulsion component

    very high r among small bands would mean only very low quantities of e would be required

    secondary forms of in-group altruism

    assuming
    – in-group altruism is adaptive
    – an optimal level of in-group altruism exists(***)
    – larger populations can confer economies of scale in the right environment
    – larger populations are more cohesive if they’re related
    – a larger breeding group reduces maximum relatedness
    – a reduction in relatedness (r) automatically reduces sib altruism (red)

    If you have three very highly inbred groups of 50 the maximum relatedness and proportional sib altruism within each group will be very high but only apply to those 50 people. If you merge the three groups into one breeding population the increase in relatedness *between* the three original groups helps them to cohere into a single group of 150 but the reduction in maximum relatedness *within* the groups reduces sib altruism in proportion.

    If the new level of total in-group altruism is sub-optimal then it creates a potential for new forms of altruism to develop to compensate.

    other altruisms

    1) empathy altruism:
    – identical to sib altruism in form (r x e x d).
    – quantity or strength of empathy genes (e) are selected for as r declines

    new components required for empathy altruism
    – none

    2) kith altruism:
    – almost identical to sib altruism (k x e x d) where k is artifical relatedness

    new components required for kith altruism
    – desire for friends – sociability?
    – agreeableness?
    – kith bonding?
    – love?
    – empathy altruism first?

    3) reciprocal altruism:
    – rational form of altruism requiring IQ and trust?

    components required for reciprocal altruism?
    – high IQ?
    – trust?
    – universal morality?
    – respect for law?
    – kith altruism first?

    There may well be overlaps.

    Reply

  42. forgot a bit

    “an optimal level of in-group altruism exists(***)”

    If there’s no optimum there is a maximum i.e. spending 100% of time being altruistic so the maximum possible would be the optimum.

    Reply

  43. Some interesting points in http://www.dhushara.com/paradoxhtm/warrior.htm

    “A woman can usually depend on her brothers for protection…It is largely for this reason that women usually abhor the possibility of being married off to men in distant villages… Women who have married a male cross-cousin have an easier life, for they are related to their husbands by cognatic ties of kinship as well as by marriage (Chagnon R111).”

    and

    “The Yanomamo have a concept, buhi yabrazi, that I thought, at first, could be translated into our notion ‘love.’ I asked … “Do you ‘love’ so-and-so?” naming their brother or sister. “Yes!” “Do you ‘love’ so-and-so?” naming their child? “Yes!” “Do you ‘love’ so-and-so?” naming their wife. A stunned silence followed, then peels of laughter. “You don’t ‘love’ your wife, you idiot!””

    Reply

  44. @g.w. – “doh, just sunk in that reciprocal altruism has a specific meaning”

    (^_^)

    and look at the “emotional dispositions” related to reciprocal altruism:

    – Friendship and emotions of liking and disliking.
    – Moralistic aggression. A protection mechanism from cheaters acts to regulate the advantage of cheaters in selection against the altruists. The moralistic altruist may want to educate or even punish a cheater.
    – Gratitude and sympathy. A fine regulation of altruism can be associated with gratitude and sympathy in terms of cost/benefit and the level in which the beneficiary will reciprocate.
    – Guilt and repetitive altruism. Prevents the cheater from cheating again. The cheater shows his regret in order to save him from paying too dearly for his acts.
    – Subtle cheating. A stable evolutionary equilibrium could include a low percentage of mimics in controversial support of adaptive sociopathy.
    – Trust and suspicion. These are regulators for cheating and subtle cheating.
    – Partnerships. Altruism with the purpose of creating friendships.

    it’s not that all humans don’t have these traits (h*ck, even some fish seem to be capable of reciprocal altruism, so it’s prolly something generally present in Life on Earth), it’s just that nw europeans really seem to have them … in spades. comparatively speaking.

    Reply

  45. @g.w. – “‘The Yanomamo have a concept, buhi yabrazi, that I thought, at first, could be translated into our notion “love.” I asked … “Do you ‘love’ so-and-so?” naming their brother or sister. “Yes!” “Do you ‘love’ so-and-so?” naming their child? “Yes!” “Do you ‘love’ so-and-so?” naming their wife. A stunned silence followed, then peels of laughter. “You don’t ‘love’ your wife, you idiot!”‘”

    (^_^) that’s a great story! (reminds me for some reason of: “that’s no lady, that’s my wife!” (~_^) )

    Reply

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