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Showing posts from May 6, 2016

Book 10 of 2016: Does Altruism Exist?

Does Altruism Exist? Great topic, not so great book.  I read this book for the Evolution Table discussion group at Franklin and Marshall College.

Every other week, the discussion turned to soldiers and first responders.  Why do soldiers throw themselves on grenades and face withering fire to rescue a comrade?  What led hundreds of police and fire fighters to enter the doomed towers on September 11, 2001?

This book by David Sloan Wilson has no direct answer.

We read this book because it was written partly as an answer to the Fall Semester book:“The Selfish Gene” by Richard Dawkins.
Dawkins says altruism has no place in a discussion of genetics.Wilson says altruism has a genetic basis and that evolution favors altruism in the struggle between and among groups.
I thought Wilson made a convincing argument, but each week we discussed another chapter.And each week the biologists, physicists, psychologists and other researchers in the discussion poked holes in Wilson’s arguments.Interestin…