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  #1  
Unread October 22nd, 2005, 12:01 PM
James Brody James Brody is offline
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Exclamation Ed Wilson Jumps Ship!

One of the feuds in evolutionary theory has centered on the nature of individual versus group selection. Members of the Human Behavior Evolution Society lined up at George Williams's shoulder when he attacked Wynne Edwards's analysis of avian behavior that suggested individual birds make decisions that benefit the flock.

Sober and Wilson differed and the pendulum now swings between the silent defeated and the new wave of groupies. I think that emergent network theory will reconcile the dispute and let both sides agree because of what physics teaches us, even with some translations by the damned sociologists.

Ed Wilson may have found network theory or simply got bored. Anyhow, he's endorsed the group approach. This abstract appeared in the PNAS

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Published online before print September 12, 2005, 10.1073/pnas.0505858102

Eusociality: Origin and consequences
Edward O. Wilson and Bert Hölldobler
*Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138-2902; School of Life Sciences-LSC 274, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-4501; and §Theodor-Boveri-Institut für Biowissenschaften (Biozentrum), Universität Würzburg, Lehrstuhl für Zoologie II, Am Hubland, D97074 Würzburg, Germany

In this new assessment of the empirical evidence, an alternative to the standard model is proposed: group selection is the strong binding force in eusocial evolution; individual selection, the strong dissolutive force; and kin selection (narrowly defined), either a weak binding or weak dissolutive force, according to circumstance. Close kinship may be more a consequence of eusociality than a factor promoting its origin. A point of no return to the solitary state exists, as a rule when workers become anatomically differentiated. Eusociality has been rare in evolution, evidently due to the scarcity of environmental pressures adequate to tip the balance among countervailing forces in favor of group selection. Eusociality in ants and termites in the irreversible stage is the key to their ecological dominance and has (at least in ants) shaped some features of internal phylogeny. Their colonies are consistently superior to solitary and preeusocial competitors, due to the altruistic behavior among nestmates and their ability to organize coordinated action by pheromonal communication.

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References:

Williams, G. (1966) Adaptation and Natural Selection: A Critique of Some Current Evolutionary Thought. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Univ.Press.

Wilson, E.O. & Hölldobler, B. (2005) Eusociality: Origin and consequences. Proceedings National Academy of Science, September 20, 102(38), 13367-13371.

Sober, E. & Wilson, D.S. (1998) Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University.

Last edited by James Brody; October 22nd, 2005 at 12:28 PM.
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  #2  
Unread October 24th, 2005, 11:58 AM
Carey N Carey N is offline
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Default Re: Ed Wilson Jumps Ship!

JimB:

Thank you for pointing out this article - very exciting!


Carey
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  #3  
Unread October 25th, 2005, 10:43 AM
James Brody James Brody is offline
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Default Re: Ed Wilson Jumps Ship!

Carey,

Five years ago, his change would have puzzled me.

Ed (and others) may be opening up to the emergent networks research. If so, my lobbying HBES conference leadership (in regard to plenary speakers on Evo-Devo and on power-laws & emergent networks as a part of our evolutionary environment) may not have been entirely in vain.

Be well...

Jim
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  #4  
Unread October 26th, 2005, 05:56 AM
Carey N Carey N is offline
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Default Re: Ed Wilson Jumps Ship!

Jim,

I'd be surprised (and certainly disappointed in the HBES governing body) if your lobbying does not yield results . . . I myself have become greatly interested in multi-level selection and self-organization, in large part due to your running commentary, and will hopefully begin to pursue these subjects in graduate school next year (if I'm lucky, under Simon Levin, Iain Couzin, or Martin Nowak). Many thanks again for the effort you invest in your posts on these and other areas; for me at least they have catalyzed much thought and a significant change in perspective.

Best,
Carey
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  #5  
Unread October 26th, 2005, 10:59 AM
James Brody James Brody is offline
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Default Re: Ed Wilson Jumps Ship!

Thanks for your encouragement.

My electronic assault was for the Kansas meeting: Barabasi was close-by at Notre Dame, Rudolf Raff at (I believe) Chicago.

Two star players within a short hop but the conference chair had her background in female menstrual customs...

Meeting this year is in Philadelphia...will give it another try with Howard Bloom and perhaps Eshel ben-Jacob from Tel Aviv.

JimB
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  #6  
Unread March 6th, 2006, 06:48 AM
Carey N Carey N is offline
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Default Re: Ed Wilson Jumps Ship!

Added Note: Ed Wilson' new perspective is severely flawed - have a look at:

Foster, K. R. et al. (2006). Kin selection is the key to altruism. TREE 21(2): 57

-Carey
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