genetics of altruism

David Sloan Wilson: 

1) Selfishness beats altruism within groups.
2) Altruistic groups beat selfish groups.
3) Everything else is commentary.

Wilson’s larger point is that, to the extent that altruism exists, it isn’t an illusion.

Instead, goodness might actually be an adaptive trait, allowing more cooperative groups to outcompete their conniving cousins.

In a field defined by the cruel logic of natural selection, group selection appears to be the rare hint of virtue, the one biological force pushing back against the obvious advantages of greed and deceit.

“I see human nature as hung in the balance between these two extremes.

“If our behavior was driven entirely by group selection, then we’d be robotic cooperators, like ants. But, if individual-level selection was the only thing that mattered, then we’d be entirely selfish.

“What makes us human is that our history has been shaped by both forces. We’re stuck in between.”