genetic similarity and altruism

there’s some good evidence that, on average, people:

– feel more grief over the death of a child who was most like themselves;

– care more for their grandchildren with whom they share the most genes (at least grandmas do anyway);

– are sexually attracted to individuals with whom they share genes if they don’t experience westermarck imprinting (or is it reverse imprinting?), and are more sexually attracted to those individuals with whom they share more genes.

all of this makes sense from an inclusive fitness point-of-view. on average, people really seem to behave according to the “two brothers or eight cousins” rule.

so i’ve been thinking, if you took two human populations with exactly the same evolutionary histories so that they had all of the same sorts and frequencies of genes — including those for altruism (and other social behaviors) — and then had one of the groups inbreed for a generation or two, the inbred group ought to start being more altruistic/whatever to their family members, on average, simply because they would share more genes with — be more genetically similar to — their family members than the non-inbred group members would be to their family members.

i’m guessing, then, that there are two things going on with inbreeding/outbreeding and altruism/other innate social behaviors:

– genetic similarity within a population directly and immediately affecting how people behave towards one another,
– and the evolution of genes for altruism over the longer term.

greying wanderer is ahead of me on this one (^_^):

“I think altruistic behaviour is the *product* of two separate things: relatedness and altruistic genes multiplied together, so the more related people are the less strong their altruistic genes need to be. If the human default is inbreeding then i think this makes more sense as an inbred group would then only have needed to develop very small amounts of altruism genes to create an altruistic effect. If so then it’s only when people outbreed that they need to develop *more* altruism genes to compensate for the drop in relatedness and it’s this that explains how those people can then come to display altruistic type behaviour towards non-kin.”

i thought before that maybe oubred groups evolved different altruism genes (i.e. ones for reciprocal altruism vs. familial altruism) rather than more altruism genes, but i like g.w.’s idea, too. definitely food for thought!

of course, genetic similarity+inbreeding+altruism is pretty much what steve sailer talked about in “Cousin Marriage Conundrum.” (^_^)

see also j.p. rushton’s genetic similarity theory.

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

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45 Comments

  1. @ greying Wanderer -“If the human default is inbreeding then i think this makes more sense as an inbred group would then only have needed to develop very small amounts of altruism genes to create an altruistic effect.” Wouldn’t this be tantamount to “group selection” right then and there? So why all the theoretical bother? [I’m thinking of small hunter/gatherer bands of 50 or so members, a small number of which regularly exchanged mates — the situation for most of human evolution.] Looks like the distinction between kin selection and group selection disappears. I must be missing something.

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  2. re: the kin selection/group selection distinction

    Another thing I’ve wondered about: why couldn’t proximity be a “proxy” for genetic relatedness? If the people who you grow up with in the same neighborhood have on average been closely related for enough generations, natural selection could use “growing up together” as a good-enough identifier to “genetically related to” and still get all the benefits.

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  3. I was listening to a lecture about Confucius by a China scholar yesterday and heard something interesting. Somewhere in the canon a student asks the teacher whether it was right to report one’s father to the authorities if he knew he had stolen a sheep from his neighbor. Confucius said not. It was more important to be loyal to one’s father than to the community. This was in contrast to Mo Tzu, who held just the opposite. Mo Tzu lost out and corruption has been a big problem in China ever since.

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  4. @ “ooo, you’re opening up a hornet’s nest there! (~_^)”

    From the hornet’s nest: “Group selection isn’t widely accepted by evolutionists for several reasons. First, it’s not an efficient way to select for traits, like altruistic behavior, that are supposed to be detrimental to the individual but good for the group.”

    Efficient as compared to what? Proximity might be a good enough proxy if actual genetic testing is not an alternative. Sometimes down and dirty wins. It is the most efficient.

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  5. @luke – interesting! anything about more serious crimes? what are you supposed to do if you know your father murdered the neighbor rather than just steal his sheep? is (was) there a limit for confucius?

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  6. @luke – “Proximity might be a good enough proxy if actual genetic testing is not an alternative.”

    but people don’t need actual genetic testing. they seem to be able to identify “like” individuals just by sight, smell, behavioral patterns, etc.

    of course, nowadays, with easy travel people might be fooled into concluding that someone is genetically similar to them when really “the others” are not (for example, that light skin in europeans and east asians is actually coded for by different genes).

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  7. Luke Lea

    Logically it seems to me the *mechanism* for altruism (biological definition) could be triggered two ways
    1) a single direct trigger e.g. a gene (or genes), and more inbred groups simply have more of this/these genes
    2) the product of two components: relatedness (in terms of runs of homozygoity and direct biological sameness) as one component and a *triggering* gene

    The cases that have to be explained are
    1) more inbred people being more altruistic to kin (biological definition)
    2) less inbred people being less altruistic to kin
    but also
    3) less inbred people being much more susceptible to…hard to think of the right phrase for it…non-altruistic altruism i.e. altruism towards non-kin i.e. selfless altruism i.e. wrong altruism i.e. some better phrase

    It seems to me the first explanation can explain case 1 and 2 but doesn’t explain case 3.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/sep/08/charitable-giving-country

    Different countries react differently to having pictures of starving African children on their TV news (and i’d guess the list of charitable giving to African famines would be an almost direct correlation with the inverse of that country’s corruption index). The most endogamous groups are the least effected by those kind of images and the most outbred are the most effected.

    If outbred groups become less altruistic to kin what mechanism makes them susceptible to altruistic urges towards non-kin?

    It seems to me if the triggering genes are independent of relatedness and the altruistic urge is the *product* of those genes and relatedness then you can explain it.

    I can only really attempt to explain itin my basic math way

    say
    – altruistic urge is amount of altruism genes multiplied by relatedness
    – both factors are measured on a scale of 1-10
    – the minimum product to get an adaptive altruistic urge was 10
    – inbreeding is the human default so early human groups start out with a relatedness score of 10

    so if altruistic urge = relatedness x altruism trigger genes and the minimum adaptive urge is 10 then all that early human group needs is a score of 1 in the trigger genes

    altruistic urge = 10 x 1 = 10

    if that group then starts to outbreed and its relatedness score drops to 9, 8,… 5 then the altruistic urge falls also
    altruistic urge = 9 x 1 = 9
    altruistic urge = 8 x 1 = 8

    altruistic urge = 5 x 1 = 5

    so far so good, we have case 1 and 2 above still covered

    However if altruism is adaptive then as outbreeding occurs it would become adaptive *in a homogenous* propulation* for the amount of trigger genes to go up.

    say our test population outbred to the point of scoring only 5 on the relatedness scale then
    altruistic urge = 5 x 1 = 5
    but if the score for the amount of altruistic trigger genes went up to 2 then
    altruistic urge = 5 x 2 = back up to the adaptive score of 10

    However if the trigger genes are *independent* of relatedness then that larger amount of trigger genes would mean the outgroup would be more susceptible to non-kin altruism (technically not altruism at all – i’m trying to think of a phrase that has biological rather than moral overtones – dunno – cuckoo altruism).

    An inbred group with a relatedness score of 10 and trigger gene score of 1 would be kin-only altruistic whether on a homogenous island or a multi-ethnic city. An outbred group with a relatedness score of 5 and an altruism trigger gene rating of 2 would be kin-only altruistic on a homogenous island but in a multi-ethnic setting would be twice as easy to manipulate into cuckoo-altruism.

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  8. “i thought before that maybe oubred groups evolved different altruism genes (i.e. ones for reciprocal altruism vs. familial altruism) rather than more altruism genes”

    It could be either but i think the minimum case is if you have a set of altruism triggering genes and the effect is simply multiplied by how related the population is so you can increase the effect of the same genes by simply being or becoming more related.

    .
    However while writing the long explanation above i was thinking if the outbred population increased its amount of altruism genes rating from 1 to 2 because the altruism urge of the inbred and outbred group would match which we violates conditions 1 and 2. So something else is neccessary.

    If we imagine the two groups being shown film of a famine in Africa and say a stranger’s relatedness rating was 1 (and no difference in the amount of trigger genes between the inbred and outbred groups) then

    for the inbred group
    kin altruism urge = 10 x 1 vs the stranger altruism urge of 1 x 1 for a ratio of 10:1

    for the outbred group
    kin altruism urge = 5 x 1 vs the stranger altruism urge of 1 x 1 for a ratio of 5:1

    so perhaps it’s more pushme pullyou

    if we imagine our inbred group on a homogenous island becoming more outbred where they start at relatedness 10 and altruism trigger genes 1 and then gradually outbreed to a relatedness of 5 then actually two things are happening. the gravitational pull of their kin is dropping even if their amount of trigger genes stays the same. so in a pushme-pullyou way they might be more inclined to be altruistic to non-kin (actually just more distant kin in a homogenous setting) simply because they’re not being pulled back so much by the strength of their kin altruism urge. so if there was a selective pressure to increase the total altruism urge in the group as the relatedness dropped from 10 to 5 then the equilibrium point might come before the amount of trigger genes went up from 1 to 2 because it’s actually more about a tug of war so the equilibrium point where the effective altruism between the inbred and outbred groups was the same might be halfway i.e. a trigger gene rating of 1.5

    that would meet all the conditions.
    – with a triggering gene rating of 1.5 and a relatedness of 5 our outbred group would have a lower altruism urge towards their closest kin than our inbred group whose respective ratings were 1 and 10
    – however in an adaptive sense (in a homogenous group) the effect is the same because *everybody* is sharing c25% of their altruistic urges with non-kin (non closest kin really) partly because of the higher quantity of trigger genes and partly because being more outbred there’s less gravitational pull from closest kin.
    – at the same time outside of a homogenous setting the higher amount of altruism trigger genes makes the outbred group more susceptible to those genes that were designed for kin-altruism being misdirected towards cuckoo altruism covering condition 3.

    not sure how clear that is

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  9. Luke
    “If the people who you grow up with in the same neighborhood have on average been closely related for enough generations, natural selection could use “growing up together” as a good-enough identifier to “genetically related to” and still get all the benefits”

    Kibbutz children and army barracks. The mechanism would have to be something based on proximity like scent.

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  10. @hbd chick People are “- are sexually attracted to individuals with whom they share genes if they don’t experience westermarck imprinting (or is it reverse imprinting?), and are more sexually attracted to those individuals with whom they share more genes.” And limiting gene pool size makes us more altruistic toward our kin.

    Following this logic and putting aside (with an effort) questions of fertility, I think you are onto the cause of war. People like thier kin and by default dislike outsiders. A demagogue can distort this into disliking foreigners and get people to do things they don’t want to do and are not in their own interest, like make war on another country.

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  11. @slumlord – “More Eastern European women for me!”

    heh. how’d you draw that conclusion from this post, btw? or were you just expressing a random thought?

    either way, happy hunting! (~_^)

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  12. @g.w. – “less inbred people being much more susceptible to…hard to think of the right phrase for it…non-altruistic altruism i.e. altruism towards non-kin i.e. selfless altruism i.e. wrong altruism i.e. some better phrase”

    i’ve been thinking of it as reciprocal altruism. you know, i do a favor for you now in the hopes that you’ll do one for me later — because that pattern of behavior has evolved in outbred societies. it kinda makes sense if what we have in outbred societies are individualistic persons who need to form alliances with other individualistic persons.

    maybe that’s not entirely right, but i suspect it’s close anyway. in any case, it’s interesting that, from what i understand, reciprocal altruism doesn’t really seem to be present in other animals. it’s definitely mostly a human thing — and maybe some human groups more than others.

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  13. @g.w. – “1) a single direct trigger e.g. a gene (or genes), and more inbred groups simply have more of this/these genes….

    “It seems to me the first explanation can explain case 1 and 2 but doesn’t explain case 3.”

    i think it could do because we could simply be seeing different altruism genes in the different populations and/or very different frequencies of the different types of altruism genes in different populations.

    for instance, the genes for familial altruism (whatever they are) might be very frequent in arab societies while genes for reciprocal altruism might be very infrequent in those populations. AND, at the same time, perhaps the familial altruism genes simply override the reciprocal altruism genes somehow.

    i have no evidence for any of this — just imagining a scenario here.

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  14. @g.w. – “If outbred groups become less altruistic to kin what mechanism makes them susceptible to altruistic urges towards non-kin?”

    well, look at it from an evolutionary point-of-view.

    if you have a good 1000 years (at least) — 50+ generations — of n.w. europeans living in an environment in which those independent, individualistic persons who succeeded in reproducing themselves were those individuals who reciprocally cooperated with other independent, individualistic persons that were unrelated to them, then you could have the evolution of “genes for reciprocal altruism.”

    the scenario is not at all far out, i think. the question is: is 50 or so generations enough? dunno. possibly.

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    1. @hbd chick “you could have the evolution of “genes for reciprocal altruism.” the scenario is not at all far out, i think. the question is: is 50 or so generations enough? dunno. possibly.” 50 generations sounds pretty brief to my ear, but not to worry. Moderate inbreeding, or as Patrick Bateson sayd, “Optimal outbreeding” has been around a lot longer than vertebrates, so there has been plenty of time.

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  15. OT, perhaps, but I’ve been reading books about China by the foot lately (up to 8 so far) and would like to make an observation: What is going on in China today is the biggest women’s liberation movement in history.

    Before I went on this China jag I had no idea how sexual the Chinese were. And while I guess I had a vague notion it was a sexist society as well, I never appreciated how sexist. How sexist? How about more sexist than in places like Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan if you can imagine the possibility.

    What’s more China remains a shockingly sexist country, though change is underway. It’s that change I wanted to highlight. The driving factor is our China trade. All those factories along the East Coast of China which are driving her industrial revolution — they are overwhelmingly staffed by women, teenage girls actually, who migrate (they call it “going out”) thousands of miles from their hometowns in the interior., where they work sixty, seventy, and eighty-hours a week for less than a dollar an hour (some as low as 12 cents) and live in dorms 8 to a room right there on the premises. [Similar things happened in England too, btw, except in England it was young children who first led the way.] These factory girls are sexually harassed by their bosses with regularity, their paychecks are docked for minor offenses, there are curfews at night, and if they leave without notice (and the approval of their boss) the last two months of their pay is withheld.

    How can this be the scene of women’s liberation? You have to read about it to understand (here and here) but basically these women are breaking free from their families and clans. They are extraordinarily self-sufficient and risk taking. They change jobs regularly in spite of the penalties. They meet and marry boyfriends from other parts of rural China.) Their parents depend on them for money and support, not the other way around, thus losing their authority. But mostly it is a matter of marrying out, thus breaking free of the constraints of the traditional male clans which have ruled women in China for thousands of years.

    It’s only a matter of time before they organize to fight the workplace abuses they all face (and which they talk about on late-night call in shows ). And when they do, you can be sure they will be wearing high-heel shoes and giggling like the teenagers they mostly are. Right now all unions are company unions controlled by THE PARTY but expect that will change, not over wages, but over rights and conditions. Wages will eventually take care of themselves.

    This is the optimistic view of course. Sorry for the ramble but somehow it ties in to hbd and clans. :)

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    1. @ Luke Lea. ” What is going on in China today is the biggest women’s liberation movement in history” Fascinating. There are a couple of other factors that might be significant. For one thing, the “one child policty” and the desire to have at least one male sames persuasively to have produced a shortage of women in that age group. So that may empower them.
      Also somebody has said that the absolute number of people in the work force in China is going to go down next year. What’s going to happen as the populations shrivels AND the traditions die away is hard to say.

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  16. I should have mentioned how many Chinese factory girls there are. Eighty to ninety million in any given year.

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  17. i’ve been thinking of it as reciprocal altruism

    yeah, i’m stuck on the african famine scenario where *something* gets triggered among certain groups hence the disproportion in charity. i’d like there to be a single mechanism that covers both but that doesn’t mean there is one.

    i think it could do because we could simply be seeing different altruism genes in the different populations and/or very different frequencies of the different types of altruism genes in different populations.

    true

    if you have a good 1000 years (at least) — 50+ generations — of n.w. europeans living in an environment in which those independent, individualistic persons who succeeded in reproducing themselves were those individuals who reciprocally cooperated with other independent, individualistic persons that were unrelated to them, then you could have the evolution of “genes for reciprocal altruism.”

    yes i get what you mean and i don’t think there’s anything wrong with the idea it’s just if possible i’d like a single set of genes that does both cos…just cos i like things as simple as possible.

    but that’s just me being me, i don’t want to jam up the blog with it.

    .
    Luke Lea
    They meet and marry boyfriends from other parts of rural China

    industrialization as rocket-fuelled manorialism.

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  18. @luke – “Sorry for the ramble but somehow it ties in to hbd and clans. :)”

    no apology necessary. ot comments are often the most interesting! – and definitely allowed — in fact encouraged! — around here. (^_^)

    @luke – “They meet and marry boyfriends from other parts of rural China.”

    so are you — or whatever sources you’re reading — saying that most or a lot of china’s factory girls today are marrying out? that would be very interesting! at the same time, there is definitely pressure in the other direction, too.

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  19. @g.w. – “i’d like there to be a single mechanism that covers both but that doesn’t mean there is one.”

    one mechanism is certainly much more tidy, but it doesn’t have to be that way. could be though, i’m not denying that.

    the whole question requires more of this. (~_^)

    @g.w. – “but that’s just me being me, i don’t want to jam up the blog with it.”

    no, that’s ok! the more ideas/brains working on this the better. (^_^)

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  20. @linton – “50 generations sounds pretty brief to my ear, but not to worry. Moderate inbreeding, or as Patrick Bateson sayd, ‘Optimal outbreeding’ has been around a lot longer than vertebrates, so there has been plenty of time.”

    well, yes — when i say “you could have the evolution of ‘genes for reciprocal altruism'” in 50 generations, i don’t mean that we’re starting from scratch and seeing new genes for these behaviors arising in that amount of time.

    familial altruism is found in all sorts of creatures from primates to pond scum. what i’ve been thinking is that with 50+ generations of inbreeding in some human populations, you could really see the development of some high frequencies of familial altruism genes in some populations — plus maybe some new variations here and there — from a base point of, say, however many genes for familial altruism were already present in our pre-human ancestors. plus what g.w. says about inbreeding changing the genetic similarity between the members of a population. that has to be factored in as well.

    the interesting thing is that reciprocal altruism — which i think may be stronger in outbred n.w. europeans — is not really found in other animals. it’s really a human thing. which maybe — maybe — got really exaggerated in n.w. europeans. -?-

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    1. @ hbd chick “the interesting thing is that reciprocal altruism — which i think may be stronger in outbred n.w. europeans ” I see. Yes I think I understand. Remember the old headlight routine? On a two lane road at night each car dims its lights for the other, or used to. I’ve not seen that in some countries that shall go nameless. It should be an easy study I should think, provided you are going to spend a vacation in an exotic place and rent a car.

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  21. @linton – “What’s going to happen as the populations shrivels AND the traditions die away is hard to say.”

    prolly not gonna make for much stability. =/

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  22. 50 generations sounds pretty brief to my ear

    If you imagine this as a process and then start at the beginning i think the beginning default would have been very close inbreeding i.e as close as possible past the Westermarck effect. I’m not sure if that’s true but taking it as the premise for the sake of argument then the evolution of familial altruism genes or the maximizing of the frequency of those genes would have had millenia.

    The second stage (very simplified) judging by hubchik’s research is a divergence from that to the 2-4 inter-marrying lineages clannish structure which is a kind of next stage global default (related to the spread of agriculture maybe)(with pastoralists maintaining a lower average number of linked lineages than farmers).

    So so far the process is simply one of moving from very inbred to (a bit) more outbred with most of the world plateauing at that level.

    Thirdly there were two events which knocked parts of the world off that default trajectory.
    1) The Arab conquests which turned the inbred-outbred curve back towards the previous inbred default
    2) The Catholic cousin-ban in Western Europe, magnified later in proportion to the spread of manorialism (itself possibly related to the amount of virgin forest covering heavy soils in different parts of Europe) which nudged the trajectory towards outbreeding.

    It’s those last two that the 50 generations relates to (i think).

    ###

    If the premise is correct then the Islamic world just went back towards what had previously existed and so the 50 generations thing shouldn’t be an issue as they weren’t diverging from the evolved human norm. They would have been reinforcing or increasing the frequency of traits that had evolved over millenia.

    (This premise may be wrong of course.)

    That only leaves the European change limited to 50 generations.

    However i’m thinking now that a large proportion of this could just be the result of a weakening in kin-gravity rather than evolving new genes (although that could happen too). If familial altruism evolved to be proportional to genetic identity (as measured for the sake of argument by runs of homozygozity) then outbreeding would simply weaken the effect of those genes and inbreeding would strengthen them. The weakening effect would happen independently of the evolution of new reciprocal altruism genes as a consequence of outbred populations being less identical with their closest relatives (and at the same time more identical to their wider ethnic group) so you’d get a different balance between closekin-gravity and nearkin-gravity even if the genes for altruism remained unchanged simply through variation in the levels of genetic identity.

    So *some* of the difference in outbred bahaviour could simply be due to the changes in relative kin-gravity through changes in the levels of genetic identity.

    An illustration would be when discussing these things we usually think in terms of comparisons between say a brother and a cousin. But what about when an agent is judging between their two brothers? The more equal the kin-gravity the more equitable the judgement. The more equal the kin-gravity the *less* kin-gravity effects the judgement i.e. everyone is universalist when the kin-gravity is equal.

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  23. I should add i don’t think the above premise is entirely correct as although i think early human inbreeding was probably very close i also think it was probably much more random i.e. specific lineages weren’t consciously maintained or as strictly maintained, plus FBD may have some specific effects too.

    I’m just thinking the weakening of kin-gravityin outbred populations in itself might be a bigger factor than i previously thought (because of the two-brother effect) thereby reducing the need for new (or higher frequencies of) reciprocal altruism genes (although i think that’s likely to have happened as well).

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  24. @g.w. – “If the premise is correct then the Islamic world just went back towards what had previously existed and so the 50 generations thing shouldn’t be an issue as they weren’t diverging from the evolved human norm. They would have been reinforcing or increasing the frequency of traits that had evolved over millenia.

    (This premise may be wrong of course.)”

    it’s a beautiful premise. (^_^) i like it a lot. (i need to try to be a little less fond of it, actually.)

    if any of it is at all right, then it’s just amazing and unfortunate and bloody bad luck that the most outbred group(s) and the most inbred group(s) are — and have been for some time — facing off against one another on the borders of europe and, today, right in the heart of europe — and here in the u.s., too. what an unbelievable situation. it’s like a really bad movie script, really. =/ no wonder there is so much conflict and misunderstanding between the two groups.

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    1. @ hbd chick ” (i need to try to be a little less fond of it, actually.) ” OK. Maybe this will help. It has been found that you can show a monkey a movie of another monkey that looks like its hand is getting hurt and when you scan the brain of the monkey watching the movie the pain center for its hand lights up. It feels the other monkey’s pain. So any notion of alturuism needs to take into account the fact that its hard wired into all primates.

      There, there. Don’t thank me. Just trying to help. Any primate would.

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  25. @linton – “On a two lane road at night each car dims its lights for the other, or used to.”

    i still do that for the most part. however, someone i know took driving lessons in the 90s and the “official policy” on that — insofar as there is an official policy on it — is that, while it is courteous to dim your brights when you meet someone, if you feel that your vision would be impeded in doing so, you should not dim them. the modern thinking on it, apparently, is that if the other guy can’t see ’cause of your brights, he should just slow down.

    it does make sense when you think about it.

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    1. @hbd chick “if you feel that your vision would be impeded in doing so, you should not dim them” And of course your vision is going to be impeded if the other guy leaves his brights on. So they are quite right.
      Well evidently limes have changed and we are more like the rest of the world.

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  26. @linton – “And of course your vision is going to be impeded if the other guy leaves his brights on. So they are quite right.”

    i think the logic is just that it might be difficult to see because it is dark and not that it has anything to do with the oncoming headlights, although that could obviously be the case.

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    1. @hbd chick “i think the logic is just that it might be difficult to see because it is dark and not that it has anything to do with the oncoming headlights” They tint windshields now. That’s why drive in movies went away. You can’t see much. When windsheilds were clear you could see a whole lot better with your headlights off altogether. Not perhaps the best idea, but it was quite lovely driving on a lonely country road at night. Once your eyes adapted you could see as much as you can in the day, only softer. Also ubiquitous street lights ruin your dark adaptation. It’s all so the police can keep track of you of course. Motorcycles don’t have windshields, so with them you now can’t turn the lights off. I think the whole culture is slowly drifing from cooperation to compulsion.

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  27. 3) less inbred people being much more susceptible to…hard to think of the right phrase for it…non-altruistic altruism i.e. altruism towards non-kin i.e. selfless altruism i.e. wrong altruism i.e. some better phrase

    Pathological altruism.

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  28. so unfortunately (for us) we can’t use the phrase.

    How about PATHOLOGICAL RECIPROCAL ALTRUISM, lol.

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    1. @hbd chick “i also like greying wanderer’s term: cuckoo altruism” If I am following the logic, then plants are too smart to do that. I wonder about cuckoos.

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  29. @sNoOOPy – “You can put images in comments?”

    i think that’s a sneaky amazon trick: link to one of their books and they drop an add into your post/comment/whatever. strictly commerical.

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  30. “if you have a good 1000 years (at least) — 50+ generations — of n.w. europeans living in an environment in which those independent, individualistic persons who succeeded in reproducing themselves were those individuals who reciprocally cooperated with other independent, individualistic persons that were unrelated to them, then you could have the evolution of “genes for reciprocal altruism.””

    Wouldn’t this select against independence and individualism? By cooperating and succeeding they would be effectively forming a gang or group that outcompetes individuals that don’t form gangs or groups.

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  31. “Wouldn’t this select against independence and individualism? By cooperating and succeeding they would be effectively forming a gang or group that outcompetes individuals that don’t form gangs or groups.”

    Well if the sequence is that outbreeding leads to (relative) individualism by default, simply through weaker kin-gravity, then the pressure is on selecting traits that somehow *compensate* for something that is already there and what *on its own* is an adaptive weakness. So yes in a way the pressure is to select traits which can turn individualists into conformists e.g. altruistic punishment, guilt etc.

    I think the key is, does outbreeding do something directly or does it, by weakening kin-gravity, create a selective pressure to compensate for weakening that kin-gravity.

    Inbred populations don’t need to develop those traits because kin-gravity covers it.

    Reply

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