Tuesday, 19 February 2013

The real kin selection revolution

Looking at the science news, you might think that the news concerning kin selection has something to do with group selection. However, that affair is a bit of a storm in a teacup, with little real impact on the theory of kin selection.

I think the biggest impact on kin selection concerns the expansion of Darwinism's domain. Kin selection was once only applied to genes. However, with the realisation that it also applies to memes, individually-learned ideas, mimicry and other copied entities some previously-unknown vistas have opened up for the theory.

The impact has been broadly similar to the discovery of alien life forms: new evolutionary dynamics let us know what is contingent on our local historical circumstances.

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