Originally Posted by Big Papa Goat
Sorry, my biology is a bit out of date, but aren't group selection theories of such a nature usually considered to be not very accurate? I mean, I understand kinship altruism and so forth, but population control and the checking of male-male competition are exactly the kind of group benefits that are absolutely unbeneficial to whoever is carrying the gene for them.
I mean really, if evolution provided for genes that checked detrimental male-male competition and controlled population, what would we need governments for?
Yeah, those things are unbeneficial to the organism of the species carrying the gene, but what if the gene was only passed down maternally, or only toggled on in the presence of other genes, or morphogens, or a number of other factors (understanding mechanisms of gene expression requires way too much math for my brain)
Here's a quote from Darwin:
"Although a high standard of morality gives but a slight or no advantage to each individual man and his children over the other men of the same tribe...an advancement in the standard of morality will certainly give an immense advantage to one tribe over another."
So, the notion of group selection isn't new (even though it's been taboo I guess since the 60's.) but what we know now about genes is that they are far more complex than a simple input-output function.
I think a useful way to understand evolution is the fact that you have groups that are divided by both geographical and ecological boundaries. These boundaries get blurred either by migration, or by scarcity, when selection pressures laterally compress co-existing niches.