Reply to RCB on the evolution and adaptiveness of ethnocentric altruism

Continued from this discussion.

"you are unable to explain to a competent person why you believe what you believe."

I'm trying to be patient here, but I don't know how much better I can explain this. You either get it, or you don't. If you don't, you're not as competent as you believe; you either don't really understand the basic concepts we're talking about or have mental blocks when it comes to applying them to humans, and this is something you need to deal with yourself.

No matter how many times I explain this, you don't want to get it. Your starting point is that Salter can't be right; so when I explain to you how your reasoning is flawed, regardless of how many times we go through this or how many times I address a particular objection, your response is just to throw out additional confused reasoning, often forgetting things you previously agreed I was correct on and switching back to objections that have already been addressed.

The benefit of the ethnocentric altruism alleles comes from between-group selection, not within-group selection. Even in the first generation, an allele for ethnocentric altruism can potentially boost its odds of representation in future generations by, for example, reducing the chance of extinction of the group it's found in (whether by contributing to avoiding defeat and extermination by rival groups in an ancestral environment, or resisting replacement-level immigration in the modern world).

It makes no difference whether there is enough between-group relative to within-group competition at modern scales to maintain or grow this sort of variation in the long run (and certainly Hamilton speculated that self-sacrificing altruism would be found at higher levels in tribal people than in the long-civilized). In a particular instance of intergroup competition of the sort we're discussing, ethnocentric altruism alleles attuned to Hamilton's rule would by definition be adaptive.

This will always be true, regardless of scale, and regardless of how often the group is actually faced with the threat of intergroup competition. In the face of such a threat, the alleles (ones that enhance group competitiveness in a generalized fashion and are sensitive to cost, benefit, and relatedness) will be adaptive.

Your argument is somewhat analogous to claiming sickle-cell alleles can't be adaptive (or even exist in the first place!) in a malarial environment because their frequency would not increase in the long run in the absence of malaria. Even if malaria is nearly wiped out and the frequency of sickle-cell alleles begins to decline, this does not prove that if a mosquito with malaria does land on you you'd be better off not having a sickle-cell allele.

"Yes, the behaviors are polygenic. But all genes have to start at low frequency, and you have not explained how they get to high frequency"

Again: positive selection will come from intergroup competition. If your argument is that all relevant variants would be snuffed out immediately, leaving no variation on which group-level selection could act, this is of course absurd. Yet again: we're talking about very large numbers of weakly-selected variants, and a large surface on which new mutations can arise.

Crow and Aoki modeled group selection for polygenic behavioral traits. Again, it boils down to Hamilton's rule.

Group selection for a polygenic behavioral trait: a differential proliferation model [pdf]

Group selection for a polygenic behavioral trait: estimating the degree of population subdivision [pdf]

Our general approach is to use molecular markers, which are selected very weakly at most, as neutral indicators of population structure. GST gives us an appropriate description of the relevant aspect of the structure. By using Eq. 3 we can state the maximum value of cost/benefit of a quantitative trait if that trait is to increase in average value or frequency in the population. GST describes the present structure of the population; it does not tell us how it got that way. If this value has been roughly stable in the past, we could expect that traits with c/b up to this value would have increased in the population, assuming of course that such traits exist and have heritability greater than zero.

Empirically, ethnocentrism exists, and no doubt has since before we were humans. Empirically, ethnocentrism has heritability greater than zero.

  • Nature, nurture, and ethnocentrism in the Minnesota Twin Study [pdf]

  • Common Heritable Effects Underpin Concerns Over Norm Maintenance and In-Group Favoritism: Evidence From Genetic Analyses of Right-Wing Authoritarianism and Traditionalism [pdf]

  • Genetic evidence for multiple biological mechanisms underlying in-group favoritism [pdf]

Your issue is with reality, not with Salter or me.

"Of course, ethnic altruist genes could be maladaptive relics of the past, when groups were small. But Salter says they are adaptive now."

Again, see above.

And Salter never claims we are well-adapted to ethnic competition in the modern world. If he'd believed that to be the case, he would have had little reason to write the book. From the introduction:

On Genetic Interests is an attempt to answer the empirical question: How would an individual behave in order to be adaptive in the modern world? I adopt the neo-Darwinian meaning of adaptive, which is to maximize the survival chances of one’s genes. I begin by describing humans as an evolved species and thus as creatures for whom genetic continuity consists of personal reproduction or reproduction of kin. [. . .]

Humans can no longer rely on their instincts

There is nothing immutable or necessarily perfect about adaptations or the understanding, appetites and preferences they organize. Natural selection is constrained by evolutionary history and environment. It shapes bodies and behaviours in small increments by modifying existing species. Much in nature is badly designed, if one examines it from an engineer’s viewpoint. [. . .]

Like adaptations that advance them, proximate interests can be imperfect in promoting genetic interests. The main problem is the slowness of natural selection compared to the rapidity of technological and social change since the Neolithic. The inertia of adaptations can cause them to continue to promote proximate interests that no longer serve fitness. For most of humans’ evolutionary history, adaptations tracked slow-moving environmental change, including technological advances. In the species’ distant hominid and pre-hominid past, proximate interests that reduced an actor’s fitness were valued less and less as the genes that coded for such valuation failed to reproduce. For this reason, at most moments in time proximate interests have correlated with ultimate interests because the environment has changed so slowly that physiology and behaviour could keep track with it. Proximate and ultimate interests have been in equilibrium except where rapid changes in environment occurred. The equilibrium applying to humans has been upset in recent generations, so that we can no longer rely on subjectively designated proximate interests to serve our ultimate interest. We must rely more on science to perceive the causal links between the things we value and formulate synthetic goals based on that rational appraisal.

Proximate interests, often reflected in consciously held values, have become increasingly fallible guides to ultimate interests because modern humans live in a rapidly changing world. Humans evolved in small bands consisting of a few families, sometimes grouped into tribes numbering in the hundreds. For most of their evolutionary history humans made a living by hunting and gathering in largely natural environments. They lacked formal organization and hierarchy. Adults coordinated activities by negotiating simple demographic role specializations — by age and sex — on an egalitarian basis with familiar band members. Most information was common. Humans now live in societies numbering in the millions where the great majority of interactants are strangers or acquaintances. They make their living through a great diversity of occupations resulting in radical asymmetries in information. They live and work in largely man-made urban environments. They are formally organized into states administered by extended hierarchies of rank and resources actuated by authoritative commands, impersonal contracts enforced by the state authority, and powerful forms of indoctrination performed by universal education, centralized media and entertainment.

However, to the extent we are able to correctly reason about what would be adaptive in the context of intergroup competition, and act in accordance with this, we have the equivalent of our generalized ethnocentric altruism alleles.

Related:

79 comments:

jorge videla said...

n/a is precious.

he knows the first problem is jews, but he doesn't know the second problem is america and its british buttboys.

he doesn't now that the GOP is the party of gentiles who love jewish cock.

the us is a uniquely shitty country which exports its shittiness all over the world, not only in its mass jewish media but in its "restaurants".

america and britain should be nuked.

jorge videla said...

i'm an unreconstructed national socialist and a volunteer in the bgi cog-genomics study.

we do exist.

too bad most of our co-ethnics in 'mer'ca-stan are white trash lovers of jewish cock...easily manipulated by the jew media.

here's the beginning of my file...i'd share the whole thing if it would be informative.

# This data file generated by PLINK at: Mon Mar 16 00:45:55 2015
#
# Below is a text version of your data. Fields are TAB-separated.
# Each line corresponds to a single SNP. For each SNP, we provide its
# identifier, its location on a reference human genome, and the genotype call.
# For further information (e.g. which reference build was used), consult the
# original source of your data.
#
# rsid chromosome position genotype
rs187298206 1 51476 TT
rs190291950 1 52144 TT
rs140052487 1 54353 CC
rs2949420 1 55394 TT
rs193242050 1 55416 GG
rs187434873 1 55816 GG
rs191890754 1 55850 CC

n/a said...

Mugabe,

Davide Piffer might be interested:

Davide Piffer ?@piffer_davide Feb 9
If you want to participate in a study on the genetics of IQ, send your 23andMe genome file along with IQ score to: pifferdavide@gmail.com

Davide Piffer ?@piffer_davide Feb 8
Collecting 23andMe genomes from high IQ (>130) people for a new GWAS. Please send them to my email: pifferdavide@gmail.com @hbdchick


Other things you can try:

http://www.snpedia.com/index.php/Promethease

https://sites.google.com/site/interpretyourgenome/home/using-gedmatch

RCB said...

n/a -

I see you've been busy.

First, let's remember my main point: an allele that causes an English person to sacrifice reproductive success (e.g., by not taking care of his/her kids) to block the immigration of 2 Bantus to England (Salter's example) would not increase in local or global frequency over time today, and therefore would tend to go extinct. Therefore not adaptive, contra Salter. You have said a lot of things but have never actually admitted the obvious defeat on this point. If you don't admit defeat, then please: explain, in a clear, step-by-step manner, how such an allele would tend to spread (other than by chance, for more than a few generations) if it were to arise in an English baby tomorrow. Be specific. Don't cite another article showing that group selection works: I know that already. I've given you lots of chances to be clear about this. Do it.

"Your starting point is that Salter can't be right"
I don't have any personal problem with Salter. I've explained why I think the ideas in his book are dumb. You have repeatedly failed to refute any of the specific arguments I've made against his more ridiculous ideas. You instead continue to assert that I don't understand group selection, for example when you point out that...
"The benefit of the ethnocentric altruism alleles comes from between-group selection, not within-group selection."
Yes, I know that. I can derive the multilevel Price equation. In turn, you have completely failed to respond to my point, which is that in the absence of constant reshuffling of groups, within-group selection will always push the F_ST of group-altruistic alleles to zero, which means that between-group selection will tend to be very weak. Since large modern ethnic groups are large and stable, they usually won't be able to maintain enough F_ST at these loci for group-altruistic alleles to be favored. (Even if there is very large F_ST across the genome as a whole.)

"reducing the chance of extinction of the group it's found in"
Yes, again, I understand this. It's not a hard concept. Nor is it hard to understand that group-altruistic alleles will go to extinction even faster within these groups, because they have even lower fitness. Again, for between-group selection to win out, you need forces that maintain F_ST at disfavored loci. I have talked about at least one such mechanism. Have you? No. You have not even acknowledged the difficult matter of maintaing F_ST at such loci. Maybe you don't understand it? Probably not: you're a smart guy. More likely, you recognize that I'm right, and so prefer not to talk about it.

"altruism alleles attuned to Hamilton's rule would by definition be adaptive."
Of course this is true: it's a tautology. What I'm arguing is that Salters examples are not attuned to Hamilton's rule. You have failed to show otherwise. Note that simply using global F_ST doesn't do it, as this does not account for the scope of competition or any current population dynamics. (Here is another great opportunity for you to clearly explain how the English-Bantu example would work!)

"This will always be true, regardless of scale,"
The point of scale is that it often plays an extremely strong role in determining how much F_ST can be maintained for selectively disfavored loci. In other words, Hamilton's rule is much more likely to hold for groups when the groups are small. Recall my law-of-large numbers example, which you conveniently failed to respond to.

RCB said...


"Your argument is somewhat analogous to claiming sickle-cell alleles can't be adaptive (or even exist in the first place!) in a malarial environment because their frequency would not increase in the long run in the absence of malaria. "
No, it's not. I'm saying that the conditions that maintain group selection at the level of large modern ethnic groups (at least, Salter's examples, which are my focus) *do not currently hold* (and haven't for many generations) and therefore such behavior is not adaptive, contra Salter. (And, again, you have not shown why I'm wrong.) In contrast, malaria *has* favored sickle cell anemia for a *long time*, because malaria has been around for a long time. It's a very simple argument; I'm surprised at your confusion.

"If your argument is that all relevant variants would be snuffed out immediately, leaving no variation on which group-level selection could act, this is of course absurd"
I explained rather clearly, before, why this is really hard to get working. I don't say there is *no* variation: obviously new mutations are arising all the time, and some weakly deleterious alleles will stick around for generations. But you have to believe that they will rise in frequency high enough for F_ST to be large enough to make the condition for global allele frequency rise to hold (via between-group selection), despite being negatively selected against all along. This is called "getting lucky", not positive selection. And, remember, even if it does get to this point, within-group selection will still tend to kill it off *in every group* - including the group that is expanding at the expense of others. (This is Crow and Aoki are talking about when they say "If a species becomes so successful that the population increases greatly and the structure breaks down, then selection for altruism of the type modeled here would cease.") The only way to maintain it is to have some mechanism that maintains between group-variation *at this locus*. You have not offered any such mechanism; I have (shuffling of small groups), but it doesn't apply for large modern human ethnic groups.

"Crow and Aoki modeled group selection for polygenic behavioral traits. Again, it boils down to Hamilton's rule."
I know: I understand group selection. I know that any group selection model can be framed in terms of Hamilton's rule. That doesn't make Salter's predictions correct.

"Empirically, ethnocentrism exists, and no doubt has since before we were humans. "
At no point have I claimed otherwise. You know this. I have pointed this out multiple times, and yet you bring it up again. Don't be an idiot.

"And Salter never claims we are well-adapted to ethnic competition in the modern world. If he'd believed that to be the case, he would have had little reason to write the book."
I've made it pretty clear what my point is. Salter thinks that an Englishman who forgoes saving his children from drowning to resist the immigration of 2 Bantus is behaving adaptively in the modern world. To an evolutionary biologists, that means that alleles that cause individuals to behave in that way will tend to spread. I have disagreed with this; you have failed to defend it. It's a separate argument about whether people actually behave according to his predictions. That was never my point.

RCB said...

"Yet again: we're talking about very large numbers of weakly-selected variants"

You've brought up multiple loci a number of times, but I'm not sure why. Every allele starts as a novel mutation in some group (which also implies F_ST ~ 0 for large groups), so every such allele encounters the same problem I've described.

Maybe you bring it up because you think that if such behaviors are encoded by a large number of alleles of small effect, then these small-effect alleles are more likely to drift upward to the point that F_ST is large enough to facilitate strong between-group selection, and so the behavior is more likely to evolve. Again, this would not solve the problem of *maintaining* that selection pressure: the alleles would have to stay lucky forever unless you postulate a group-variation maintaining mechanism. Otherwise, they'll go extinct in every group.

But let's explore that point, anyway. Yes, when any *single* allele is under weak selection, drift can play a much larger role in its movement. *That does not mean* that the behavior of a sum of alleles (a phenotype) on the whole is more drift-like. The sum effect of alleles encounters the law of large numbers: while some such alleles will rise by chance, the vast majority will die out, and in the long term, the sum of alleles that produces the behavior will be selected downward rather deterministically.

If I'm interpreting you correctly (who knows?), then you are effectively arguing that quantitative traits that are affected by more loci are less selectively constrained than those affected by only a few. It's not true: do the simulations to prove it to yourself (like I did). Each allele looks drift-like, but the phenotype, produced by the sum of each allele effect, responds quite deterministically to selection in large populations. (Hence the importance of group size again.)

Again, I'm not sure that this is your point in emphasizing multiple loci. It's not clear what your point is. If I'm wrong, though, don't blame me for your lack of clarity.

n/a said...

RCB,

Yet again: in the limit, where the instance of intergroup competition is taking place, the alleles would be adaptive. Period.

This is what we're concerned with: how one "should" behave in the face of intergroup competition. We don't care whether or not there will be frequent enough opportunities for intergroup competition later for between-group selection to overcome within-group selection in the long run. What is, by definition, adaptive in the face of intergroup competition will remain adaptive in the face of intergroup competition.

The African in a world where malaria has been nearly wiped out does not automatically score a fitness boost by CRISPRing his genome to remove the sickle cell allele the moment a mosquito with malaria lands on him. It's the balance between instances where the sickle-cell alleles increase fitness and decrease fitness that will determine their frequency in the long run; but one can't point to the expected long-run trend to "prove" that a heterozygote for sickle-cell allele would be better off not having it when bitten by a malarial mosquito.

Salter's example specifically concerns competition between genetically distant groups, and specifically imagines an Englishman who is able to prevent the displacement of a relevant number of his countrymen for no more than the cost he would be willing to expend saving his child.

Again, your only choice here, other than accepting the embarrassment and admitting you're wrong, is to deny that the Bantu could ever displace the English or that an Englishman could ever prevent the displacement of the relevant number of Englishmen at less than excessive cost.

If you still don't get it, think about this example some more:

If we clone England, and genetically engineer England 1 with our immigration resistance alleles and England 2 with immigration non-resistance alleles and turn loose flotillas of sub-Saharan Africans on both, the immigration resistance alleles in England 1 will be around long after the immigration non-resistance alleles in England 2.

Your response was to deny that any such alleles could exist at appreciable levels in the first place. But, in the world we actually live in, ethnocentrism exists and has heritability greater than zero.

It's not a big deal to be wrong, if you're making a genuine effort to understand. But I'm not inclined to continue trying to pound this into your head just so you can save face.

RCB said...

Before saying anything else, just answer me this question: Do you believe that an allele that suffers the cost of one offspring to resist the immigration of two Bantus (Salter's example) would increase in frequency in modern-day England and/or globally due to selection on that allele? You may assume either that the allele is novel, or that the allele is currently at appreciable frequency: let's say 10%. If yes, clearly explain.

"Yet again: in the limit, where the instance of intergroup competition is taking place, the alleles would be adaptive. Period."
No. The change in the allele frequencies is the sum of the effects of intragroup and intergroup competition. That's how adaptive is defined. Period. (What do you mean by "in the limit"? Do you mean in the case in which populations are fixed for opposite alleles? I.e. one artificially fixed to have no within-group selection?)

"Englishman who is able to prevent the displacement of a relevant number of his countrymen for no more than the cost he would be willing to expend saving his child. "
Go on. You're getting close to actually offering a concrete explanation. Hint: recognize that the benefit he provides to England is also shared by those without the altruistic allele. Hint: notice that the cost is only paid by the altruistic allele. Hint: notice that without reshuffling among small groups, this inevitably implies the extinction of that allele in England, and everywhere.

"If we clone England, and genetically engineer England 1 with our immigration resistance alleles and England 2 with immigration non-resistance alleles and turn loose flotillas of sub-Saharan Africans on both, the immigration resistance alleles in England 1 will be around long after the immigration non-resistance alleles in England 2."
As I said before to this ridiculous scenario: yes, if we artificially fix some groups to be absolutely fixed for alleles that are negatively selected for within groups, then the more successful groups will replace less successful groups. You have asserted that within-group selection must be zero in this case. (Of course, once the non-altruistic allele arises in the altruistic group, it will spread, so all groups will go toward non-altruism. Unless the mechanisms I've explained are at work.) If I didn't understand the concept of between-group selection, or if mutation and migration didn't exist, this would be an amazing insight.

"Your response was to deny that any such alleles could exist at appreciable levels in the first place."
It is amazing that you conflate "existing at appreciable levels" with "genetically engineering England 1 to be fixed with immigration resistance allele." I've explained time and again why such alleles will tend toward extinction in every group they exist in (at least by current direct selection pressures - they could exist as relics of the past, or as byproducts of other behaviors. this would explain the heritable variation.). You have done nothing to explain how I'm wrong.

"in the world we actually live in, ethnocentrism exists and has heritability greater than zero."
Again, I grant this. Maybe I should preface every comment by repeating this? It's not what our argument is about.

RCB said...

n/a -

I have an idea: to facilitate a more constructive debate, let's ask each other some simple, direct, semantic-free questions. That way we'll have all our cards on the table, and maybe we can make some progress. No snark here.

I already asked you one: Do you believe that an allele in modern England that suffers the cost of one offspring to resist the immigration of two Bantus (Salter's example) would not go to extinction globally due to selection on that allele? If yes, explain how.

Here's another one: Do you dispute that, without some mechanism maintaining between-group variation (F_ST) at selected loci, within-group selection will ultimately push group-altruistic alleles to extinction in every group?

I'll try to anticipate some of yours:

Do I recognize that between-group selection can cause group-altruistic alleles to increase in frequency globally, despite decreasing in every group? Yes: The Price equation can show that clearly. (But, again, I point out that within-group selection makes this a transient outcome unless some mechanism indefinitely maintains sufficiently high F_ST at this locus.)

Do I recognize the possibly universal tendency toward ethnocentrism and racism in humans? Yes.

Feel free to ask me whatever.

n/a said...

RCB,

Assuming the displacement is truly avoided (in the current environment, these immigrants would quickly be replaced with others), then yes, the frequency of the relevant alleles would be maintained at higher levels globally if the Englishman prevents displacement of enough countrymen by Bantu (vs. saving his own offspring). This is not remotely controversial.

Most selection will be on standing variation, but assuming groups of altruists outcompete groups of non-altruists, even a new allele would be able to reduce its odds of extinction in future generations in this manner. The new allele is in a person, who belongs to a group that is in competition with other groups.


"Hint: recognize that the benefit he provides to England is also shared by those without the altruistic allele. Hint: notice that the cost is only paid by the altruistic allele. Hint: notice that without reshuffling among small groups, this inevitably implies the extinction of that allele in England, and everywhere."

What you continually fail to grasp is that within-group selection disfavoring ethnocentric altruism alleles will be taking place in the groups that avoid extinction in the face of between-group selection.

Yes, your fitness would be higher if you could free ride -- to the degree your group remains competitive in between-group competition. If everyone free rides and your group is replaced, you do not win. You do not get to choose to have been born a free rider in the group that prevailed over yours. You and those related to you have no descendants.


"You have asserted that within-group selection must be zero in this case."

No, I asserted nothing of the kind. I compared an England with enough ethnocentric altruism to turn back waves of boat people to an England without enough ethnocentric altruism to prevent replacement by third world immigrants.

I agreed that those with higher levels of ethnocentric altruism within the England that turns back immigrants will be at a disadvantage relative to their less ethnocentric countrymen, in the scenario where England survives.

The point is, they will not be at a disadvantage versus the ethnocentrism-free Englishmen of the scenario where the English are replaced.

RCB said...

"Assuming the displacement is truly avoided (in the current environment, these immigrants would quickly be replaced with others), then yes, the frequency of the relevant alleles would be maintained at higher levels globally if the Englishman prevents displacement of enough countrymen by Bantu (vs. saving his own offspring). This is not remotely controversial."
Yes, that is true. But explain how selection doesn't kill it off in England, well before (or after!) that distant replacement event. It is under negative selection, is it not?

"What you continually fail to grasp is that within-group selection disfavoring ethnocentric altruism alleles will be taking place in the groups that avoid extinction in the face of between-group selection."

...Actually, that's exactly the point I'm trying to make: within-group selection is killing the altruistic allele in every group, whether the group is winning or losing.

"The point is, they will not be at a disadvantage versus the ethnocentrism-free Englishmen of the scenario where the English are replaced."

I think I've identified your problem: you are comparing multiple, alternative realities: an altruistic England and a non-altruistic England (I'll grant you that you did not specify fixation for alleles in this cases!). But consider any single reality, and the inevitable outcome is that the altruistic allele goes extinct before the non-altruistic allele. This is true in *every group*, whether they are winning or losing in battles with others: the altruistic allele is being selected to frequency 0, because they are at a disadvantage within the group. (Unless you specify F_ST-rescuing mechanisms, e.g. group reshuffling.) So whether England is highly altruistic or not, the altruistic allele will die off before the non-altruistic allele in England and everywhere else. That means it is not selected for.

n/a said...

"Yes, that is true. But explain how selection doesn't kill it off in England, well before (or after!) that distant replacement event. It is under negative selection, is it not?"

Did you or did you not just stipulate that you agree ethnocentrism exists and has heritability greater than zero?

We do not need to imagine. Ethnocentrism has not been driven out of existence in what in Europe was probably at least a millennium in which group selection likely could not have been all that effective.

For comparison, as things stand today, we're looking at the nearly complete replacement of the English on the scale of a century or two (not a "distant replacement event"). And this is a fate that could be avoided at minimal cost.

This replacement would take place even faster if the English did not have the level of ethnocentrism they do. Most in Britain want lower immigration:

Approximately ¾ of people in Britain favour reducing immigration.

Large majorities in Britain have been opposed to immigration since at least the 1960s.

Immigration is currently highly salient: over the past 15 years it has become one of the most commonly chosen 'most important issues'.


http://www.migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/briefings/uk-public-opinion-toward-immigration-overall-attitudes-and-level-concern

Which has placed at least a few restraints on free-riding elites and out-group members. But if more is not done, the outcome will be the same: replacement on a very short time scale.

Immigration and ethnic change in low-fertility countries: A third demographic transition
http://www.unishare.it/files/12220/colemanthirddemotransition.pdf



"...Actually, that's exactly the point I'm trying to make: within-group selection is killing the altruistic allele in every group, whether the group is winning or losing."

We are not a disembodied allele randomly apportioned among the world's populations. We are individuals, who are members of groups. Our genomes are made up of the alleles we inherited, and it's these alleles that will be passed on to our descendants and those of our relatives -- not ones randomly sampled from the world population.



"I think I've identified your problem: you are comparing multiple, alternative realities: an altruistic England and a non-altruistic England"

If you can't follow simple arguments and continue to throw out idiotic objections like this, there's no point in continuing.

I specified the cloning and genetic engineering example specifically to prevent you from raising a retarded objection like this. These two groups exist in the same world.

You could do the same by dividing England into two territories and splitting the English people into two groups, genetically indistinguishable except sorted so that one group will have high enough ethnocentrism to avoid replacement in its own territory by immigrants and the other will not.

Again, alleles for ethnocentrism will survive in the division of England that prevents immigration long after the English free-riding alleles die out in the England that allows replacement-level immigration.

Anonymous said...

Again, alleles for ethnocentrism will survive in the division of England that prevents immigration long after the English free-riding alleles die out in the England that allows replacement-level immigration.

What you continually fail to grasp is that within-group selection disfavoring ethnocentric altruism alleles will be taking place in the groups that avoid extinction in the face of between-group selection.

Well said.

RCB's definition of adaptive requires the allele that causes the behaviour to continually increase in frequency from generation to generation. Any non-increase, even if it prevents the extinction of the millions of other alleles associated with it, means it is not adaptive. It's so absurd that I wonder whether this really is the only definition of adaptive, as RCB suggests. RCB, can you provide a source for this definition (I don't see it in my popgen text-- Hartl and Clark, 4th ed)? Would also be interested to look at your paper, if you could provide a link?

Regarding the Fst between those who would behave ethnocentrically and those who would not, it would not surprise me if it was relatively low. And part of the difference may be made up by the fecundity of those who behave ethnocentrically (would be curious to see any studies, but my experience is that the correlation between ethnocentricity and fecundity is positive).

Anonymous said...

Salter's definition of adaptive:

On Genetic Interests is an attempt to answer the empirical question: How would an individual behave in order to be adaptive in the modern world? I adopt the neo-Darwinian meaning of adaptive, which is to maximize the survival chances of one’s genes.

RCB, do you think his definition is arbitrary? Do you think no population geneticists or evolutionary theorists would agree with his definition?

RCB said...

n/a -

Before I say anything, please do read a few comments up where I suggest we ask each other some direct questions. I think it will help us sort out exactly where our disagreements lie. I asked you two direct questions; you me ask me any in turn.

"Did you or did you not just stipulate that you agree ethnocentrism exists and has heritability greater than zero?"
I did indeed agree. But to claim that something is adaptive requires you explaining why the alleles that encode the behavior are not experiencing a force that pushes them toward extinction, at the very least! These alleles could exist for a variety of reasons. It doesn't mean that they are currently under positive selection now. You fail to clarify whether you believe that they are currently not being pushed toward extinction in England and elsewhere (the question I asked above).

"This replacement would take place even faster if the English did not have the level of ethnocentrism they do."
Yes, I agree. You're saying that an altruistic England would survive and compete longer than a non-altruistic groups. That does not explain how altruism can arise and be maintained in groups in the face of within-group selection killing it off. It will be killed off in all groups. You have never refuted or addressed this point, but let me ask you directly: do you dispute this? (Again, that such alleles exist does not prove that they are currently adaptive, so don't bother bringing this up again.)

"Again, alleles for ethnocentrism will survive in the division of England that prevents immigration long after the English free-riding alleles die out in the England that allows replacement-level immigration."
Unless you fix the altruistic group for alleles at frequency 1 (and disallow mutation and migration), within-group selection will kill off the altruistic allele in the altruistic group. Non-altruism will replace altruism. The long-term equilibrium is zero altruism, unless you impose an F_ST-rescuing mechanism. Question: Do you dispute this?

RCB said...

"RCB's definition of adaptive requires the allele that causes the behaviour to continually increase in frequency from generation to generation. Any non-increase, even if it prevents the extinction of the millions of other alleles associated with it, means it is not adaptive."
No it doesn't. It means that it experiences a "force," if you will, pushing it up from low frequency. Of course there will be random fluctuations in gene frequency along the way.

"'I adopt the neo-Darwinian meaning of adaptive, which is to maximize the survival chances of one’s genes'.... RCB, do you think his definition is arbitrary?"
Good question. "Maximizing the survival chances of one's genes" is a little vague and ambiguous. So depending on how you interpret, it could well be correct. But you can use it to make bad predictions, like Salter's. It might lead you to believe that a novel allele that sacrifices its life to save a bunch of other co-ethnics will spread, because those co-ethnics are similar across the rest of the genome. But it won't.

In general, I would call a behavior "adaptive" if the genes that encode that behavior tend are currently tending to spread at the expense of alternative alleles. I would stipulate that the spread occurs for more than just a few generations, as non-equilibrium conditions can sometimes cause alleles to spread for a bit before eventually going extinct. For sure, any behavior whose alleles tend to go extinct prior to alternatives (the kind of alleles we're talking about here) is not something I would call adaptive.

RCB said...

"...Actually, that's exactly the point I'm trying to make: within-group selection is killing the altruistic allele in every group, whether the group is winning or losing.... "
"We are not a disembodied allele randomly apportioned among the world's populations. We are individuals, who are members of groups. Our genomes are made up of the alleles we inherited, and it's these alleles that will be passed on to our descendants and those of our relatives -- not ones randomly sampled from the world population."

I fail to see how this response addresses my point that the altruistic allele is going extinct in every group, winning or losing. Whether England stems the tide of immigration or not, the alleles in England that pay a cost to provide this public good will necessarily die off first because of negative selection. Please clarify. (Obviously I did not imply that alleles are randomly apportioned across populations... then group selection would be impossible - no F_ST.)

Anonymous said...

Where has anyone (besides you) talked about this novel allele? You think Salter imagines a Breivik allele is going to save the English?

In general, I would call a behavior "adaptive" if the genes that encode that behavior tend are currently tending to spread at the expense of alternative alleles. I would stipulate that the spread occurs for more than just a few generations, as non-equilibrium conditions can sometimes cause alleles to spread for a bit before eventually going extinct. For sure, any behavior whose alleles tend to go extinct prior to alternatives (the kind of alleles we're talking about here) is not something I would call adaptive.

So you don't have a reference. How about this paper you've co-authored?

Anonymous said...

I fail to see how this response addresses my point that the altruistic allele is going extinct in every group, winning or losing.

Why do you assume that the allele will be maladaptive once conditions change? (e.g. nationalist regime takes control)

I'm becoming increasingly convinced that you're just a troll.

RCB said...

Anonymous -

"So you don't have a reference."
No, I don't, at the moment - and don't care to chase one down, to be honest. From my experience with other evolutionary biologists, they would not disagree with my definition. (You, too, have not disagreed with the definition I just provided.) Ultimately I don't care about semantics, but you asked me my definition of the word, so I provided it.

"How about this paper you've co-authored?"
I'd rather not sacrifice my anonymity. I suppose that's cheap of me: to claim the authority of authorship on the topic, but not reveal it when asked. My apologies. I probably shouldn't have said it (appeal to authority is a bad way to argue).

"Why do you assume that the allele will be maladaptive once conditions change?"
I'm saying to you, very clearly, that such alleles are currently selectively disfavored. That's all.

Like I told you before, I don't care about semantics. If Salter wants to call his behaviors adaptive under a particular definition of the word, I have no problem with that. But neither of you have explained why such alleles would not go extinct before alternatives in England. That's my point; call it what you want.

RCB said...

Let me refocus this argument by stating some simple points. Some are mine, some are n/a's which I agree with. If y'all would simply tell me which you disagree with, and explain why, then I think we can make a lot of progress.

(1) In large groups (modern day England), novel group-altruistic alleles (Yes, Anonymous, this is how all alleles start, whether the behavior is ultimately polygenic are not. See next two points for non-novel alleles.) have F_ST ~ 0. Because of this there is no positive group selection for the allele. There is only within-group selection, acting to kill the allele off. Unless it gets very lucky, it will not spread in modern England.

(2) For group-altruistic alleles at high frequency (i.e., ones that got lucky), F_ST may be large enough to facilitate some generations during which the expansion of altruistic groups at the expense of non-altruistic groups causes the allele to increase in frequency globally, even though it's decreasing within every subgroup due to within-group selection.

(3) Unless there is some mechanism maintaining F_ST (e.g., shuffling among small groups), within-group selection necessarily pushes the group-altruistic allele toward 0 in *every* group, whether the group is growing or shrinking. Therefore the ultimate fate of such alleles is to be replaced by non-altruistic alleles, despite the possibility of transient growth noted in (2).

(4) England and Bantu are large ethnic groups that do not undergo reshuffling. There is no current mechanism replenishing F_ST at disfavored loci for these large, stable groups (I'm not certain of this, but no one besides me has suggested a mechanism here). Thus, the current tendency for group-altruistic alleles is to die off faster than non-altruistic alleles - i.e., negative selection.

(5) English alleles, broadly speaking (across the genome), would indeed live longer if England were able to resist foreign invaders for longer.

(6) Given the ubiquity of ethnocentrism, and its heritability, it is quite possible that conditions favoring ethnocentric behaviors did exist in the past, and still do in smaller ethnic groups. Or, the genes may currently be favored because they provide some other benefit, in which case ethnocentrism at present would be considered a maladaptive byproduct of selection on other behaviors.

I may think of others, but this will do for now. Notice that at no point did I use the term "adaptive", in the interest of not getting into a semantic debate with Anonymous.

Feel free to make your own points and ask me whether I agree.

Anonymous said...

I don't care about semantics

Yes you do. This whole debate is about your definition of adaptive.


I'm saying to you, very clearly, that such alleles are currently selectively disfavored. That's all.

and in the same comment:

But neither of you have explained why such alleles would not go extinct before alternatives in England.

RCB said...

"This whole debate is about your definition of adaptive."
If that's the impression you got, then let me rid you of it now: I don't care about the definition of adaptive. See the points I made in my previous comment. Those are my assertions. If you agree with me on those, we have no argument.

Those two sentences of mine that you quote are essentially equivalent. But... if you disagree with my definition of "selectively disfavored", fine. Again, address the assertions in my previous comment.

Anonymous said...

You, too, have not disagreed with the definition I just provided.

n/a's convinced me that it's absurd.

n/a said...

RCB,

"Yes, I agree. You're saying that an altruistic England would survive and compete longer than a non-altruistic groups. That does not explain how altruism can arise and be maintained in groups in the face of within-group selection killing it off. It will be killed off in all groups. You have never refuted or addressed this point, but let me ask you directly: do you dispute this?"

As I thought I made clear starting in the last thread: yes, we can expect that in the long run altruism will probably tend to decline in large-scale panmictic societies; no, this does not prove it's "adaptive" to throw one's hands up in the face of existential threat to one's group.


"The long-term equilibrium is zero altruism, unless you impose an F_ST-rescuing mechanism. Question: Do you dispute this?"

As I've said repeatedly, in the (likely very) long run, yes, altruism will tend toward zero in large-scale panmictic societies. No, this does not mean an English free-riding allele that causes the extinction of the English (and therefore itself) would be more "adaptive" than an English ethnocentric altruism allele that survives. It does not do any good to the English free-riding alleles that the free-riding alleles of the large-scale groups that remain competitive after the English are extinct may be increasing at the expense of the ethnocentrism alleles in those groups.

Nor is there any reason to believe we're at some sort of end of history and that a trend of that sort would inevitably continue. I think large-scale society would likely break down well before we got to the point of zero altruism, and competition between smaller groups favoring altruism would resume.

We're also at the point where with currently existing technology we could identify (via a large GWAS) and select for (via IVF and embryo-screening, for example) alleles that increase appropriately-directed altruism.

Moreover, as Anonymous noted, it's not at all clear ethnocentric altruism is actually being selected against at present even within modern Western populations. The more conservative/traditional/religious are outbreeding leftish types, with religions often acting as pseudo- or real tribes.

Plus it's difficult to imagine that altruism directed on the basis of relatedness could ever be less adaptive than the indiscriminate altruism or outgroup-directed altruism promoted by the left (which, strangely, I don't recall you arguing against; however skeptical of the adaptiveness of ethnocentric altruism you were, shouldn't you have been even more eager to explain to leftists how their behavior must obviously be a maladaptive byproduct, if it could exist at all).

n/a said...


"It might lead you to believe that a novel allele that sacrifices its life to save a bunch of other co-ethnics will spread, because those co-ethnics are similar across the rest of the genome. But it won't."

In most cases, offspring will belong to the same group as their parents -- or the genetically distant groups would not exist in the first place. So the genome-wide, neutral genetic structure remains a useful indicator of how a new mutation relevant to group competitiveness "should" behave to maximize its chances of survival.

Again: to the extent groups are in competition and co-operative groups outcompete selfish individuals, the survival of the new allele will tend to depend on the survival of the group.

A selfish genetic element within a genome, say one that causes meiotic drive, may be able to spread, but only to the extent it does not kill its host or render it sterile before reproduction.

Likewise, an allele causing an individual to be more selfish will not spread if it kills the group it's found in, or renders it uncompetitive.

And while (unlike a selfish genetic element within a genome) a selfish individual could conceivably switch to a new group after killing his own, FST is a statement about how often this could have happened in the past, and (1) a mutation does not "know" that it's a new mutation; (2) again, most mutations are not new. Selection will have tended to cull those that are too selfish for whatever conditions obtained going back into the past; and, looking forward, a new mutation will also tend to get culled to the extent groups are competing and it renders groups its found in uncompetitive.

You've acknowledged: "English alleles, broadly speaking (across the genome), would indeed live longer if England were able to resist foreign invaders for longer."

Since you now acknowledge the above, does it not make sense to you (given that the English are currently being replaced in their own country, and given what I explained above) that an allele that boosts the ethnocentric altruism of the English right now could be more adaptive than one that reduces English ethnocentric altruism?

n/a said...

Anonymous,

Here's the definition of "adaptive behavior" appearing on Wikipedia (this is not a great article, but the definition is consistent enough with Salter's, and I think any reasonable definition of "adaptive" would be):

In behavioral ecology an adaptive behavior is a behavior which contributes directly or indirectly to an individual's survival or reproductive success and is thus subject to the forces of natural selection.[1] Examples include favoring kin in altruistic behaviors, female selection of the most fit male, and defending a territory or harem from rivals.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adaptive_behavior_%28ecology%29


"(would be curious to see any studies, but my experience is that the correlation between ethnocentricity and fecundity is positive)."

Yes, I think you're probably right, given that conservatives seem to be reproducing faster than liberals in Western countries today.

Santoculto said...

A Jewish man have invented the idea that there is no such as '' ethnic interests '', is just a social construct, seems to be a kind of bad joke.

Ethnic interests can be compared to the immune system of organisms. Human populations are like organisms and the only viable way to continue to exist is through ethnic interests. Human biodiversity proves the existence of ethnic interests. Continuous mixing of cases '' modern times '' has not been the rule and in most cases, people have married others who are more genetically similar, like japanese with korean or chinese.

Leukocytes are not most cells in our body.The maintenance of high birth rates among conservative and a future dominated by this demographic and a sharp drop in fertility among liberals is an interesting way to see how the human collective organisms respond to infectious agents parasites.

This theory was based on the Mcdonald idea about the alleged pathological altruism of northern Europeans, when in fact, there is a panacea of purely environmental circumstances (geopolitical, I would say) which explain why these nations have gotten where they arrived. As with any human trait, ethnocentrism varies within populations and it may be possible to be more common low profile ethnocentrism among some European subgroups than in others populations. Maybe yes, or it may be that the percentage of '' low ethnocentric profile '' is constant in all human populations.

Pathological altruism or conscious collective suicide assumes that

- European is very intellectually clever,

- Is organized in relation to their own interests,

- The European people that decided or are in favor of mass immigration in their countries, therefore, '' they '' are pathologically altruistic.

The masses never decided anything. Neither in the Russian revolution. If not for bankers and Jewish Communist agitators, there would no have been a russian revolution or would not have been victorious. This is the sad reality.

The average European and the American white seem to be quite ignorant of what is happening or are only now waking up, when half of the Zionist path has been walked.

RCB said...

"no, this does not prove it's "adaptive" to throw one's hands up in the face of existential threat to one's group."
"No, this does not mean an English free-riding allele that causes the extinction of the English (and therefore itself) would be more "adaptive" than an English ethnocentric altruism allele that survives. "

At this point, we are indeed debating semantics: you are claiming an altruistic allele that always tends toward replacement by alternative alleles under current circumstances (a point you concede) is "adaptive." That's fine: you can use whatever definition of adaptive that you like. But since you apparently agree with the six points I made above (have not refuted them, anyway), then there is little of substance to continuing arguing about, I think.

" I think large-scale society would likely break down well before we got to the point of zero altruism, and competition between smaller groups favoring altruism would resume."

Yes - if conditions were to change such that group dynamics were quite different, then selection *could* favor the behaviors we have been discussing. Likewise, if malaria were to suddenly disappear, sickle cell anemia would be selected away. I'm talking about current conditions.

"Moreover, as Anonymous noted, it's not at all clear ethnocentric altruism is actually being selected against at present even within modern Western populations. The more conservative/traditional/religious are outbreeding leftish types, with religions often acting as pseudo- or real tribes."

Yes, alleles associated with ethnic altruism could be increasing in frequency within groups today. But, *by definition*, it cannot be because of the group-beneficial altruism that those alleles provide, because all group members benefit by such behavior. You have granted this point. It would have to be because such behaviors are correlated with other beneficial traits. That's totally possible. In other words, an allele with many effects on behavior, including ethnic altruism, may be positively selected. That doesn't mean that the behavior of ethnic altruism itself is positively selected. If that allele were to mutate such that it no longer caused ethnic altruism, it would replace the original version.

RCB said...


"shouldn't you have been even more eager to explain to leftists how their behavior must obviously be a maladaptive byproduct,"

If a leftist writes a book purporting to show that global altruism is positively selected, make no mistake - I'll call out that bullshit. My point here was to refute Salter (insofar as his definition of "adaptive" means "currently not tending toward replacement by alternatives", which I maintain to be a reasonable definition).

"(1) a mutation does not "know" that it's a new mutation; (2) again, most mutations are not new."

I don't understand the purpose of this point. I have asserted that, for the large, stable ethnic groups we are talking about, within-group selection will push group-altruistic alleles to extinction in every group (and along the way push F_ST -> 0), *no matter what frequency they begin at* (well, unless they are completely fixed - then you have to wait for a new mutation or migrant to arise). You have conceded this point. The novelty of a mutation is not really important: I brought it up to show that we wouldn't really expect it to get off the ground in the first place, except by chance. Also... a mutation does not need to know that it's new to be selected against... so again, I'm confused about the point here.

"You've acknowledged: 'English alleles, broadly speaking (across the genome), would indeed live longer if England were able to resist foreign invaders for longer'.... Since you now acknowledge the above, does it not make sense to you (given that the English are currently being replaced in their own country, and given what I explained above) that an allele that boosts the ethnocentric altruism of the English right now could be more adaptive than one that reduces English ethnocentric altruism?"

Again, this seems to be a matter of semantics now. You evidently agree with my 6 points: most importantly, that, under current conditions, altruistic English alleles are at a selective disadvantage to non-altruistic English allele: the latter will replace the former (or would, if there were no positively-selected traits correlated with this behavior, which could well be the case). This is true whether England stems the tide of immigration or not - again, a point you have agreed to. I would call this "negative selection" on ethnic altruism - or, equivalently, that the behavior is "maladaptive". Evidently, you would not. What's left to debate?

n/a said...

RCB,

"I'm talking about current conditions."

I just got done explaining to you why in current conditions a new ethnocentric altruism allele in England could have better odds of survival than a selfish one and why your point (1) is wrong.

Again, there is not some scoreboard of total global altruism alleles vs. selfish alleles that we care about. Particular alleles are in particular individuals, who are members of particular groups.

England prior to the age of mass immigration was reasonably homogenous and group selection was probably weak for some time. With globalism and the destruction of borders, this is no longer the case. The world is not panmictic. Group selection on a massive scale is happening right now, and, in a case like England, if alleles came along that prevented the replacement that is currently going on, they would without question, according to any reasonable or commonly understood definition be adaptive.

Whether something is adaptive or not is defined by its effects on fitness in particular individuals in a particular time and place. This is the time we're living in. England is in the situation it is in now. Not in the situation it would be in if it was completely isolated. Not in the situation it would be in if the world were globally panmictic. In those situations, selfishness would be adaptive. To the English of today, ethnocentric altruism is.

You acknowledge that this is possible in point (2).

Salter is right. You are wrong. There's no room for ambiguity.

RCB said...

"I just got done explaining to you why in current conditions a new ethnocentric altruism allele in England could have better odds of survival than a selfish one and why your point (1) is wrong"

Really? Where do you explain how a novel allele (point 1) that is selectively disfavored within-groups can be positively selected upward in large groups (millions of people), despite the fact that it is at ~0 frequency in all groups, and therefore F_ST ~ 0, rendering the effect of between-group selection infinitesimally small. The Price equation (or Hamilton's rule: r~0, since the allele is at frequency ~0 in every group) shows that the net selective force on this allele *must* be negative in this case (within-group selection negative, between-group selection 0)! How can you *possibly* disagree with this point? I'm really at a loss for words here.

"if alleles came along that prevented the replacement that is currently going on, they would without question, according to any reasonable or commonly understood definition be adaptive. "

You have conceded that these altruistic alleles are inevitably on the road to extinction, to be replaced by the non-altruistic alleles. I think it's perfectly reasonable to call this maladaptive, but then I don't really care about agreeing on a definition of adaptive.

"This is the time we're living in. England is in the situation it is in now. Not in the situation it would be in if it was completely isolated. Not in the situation it would be in if the world were globally panmictic. In those situations, selfishness would be adaptive. To the English of today, ethnocentric altruism is. "

Read carefully: none of the points I make above assume or require that England is perfectly isolated (in which case there would be no group selection at all - not an interesting case) or that there is perfect panmixia. It is within-group selection that forces F_ST->0 at selected loci, not panmixia. You apparently do not realize, despite my best efforts, that the fact that modern ethnic groups are large and stable (the point you keep reiterating) makes it virtually certain that ethnic altruistic alleles are being pushed toward extinction, since there is no mechanism to replenish F_ST at negatively-selected loci under these conditions.

You can repeat all you want that an altruistic England would last longer than a non-altruistic England in the face of swamping immigration. Don't bother - I've already agreed with you on that point! Now, specify which of my 6 points you disagree with - and this time, make sure your arguments make sense.

Anonymous said...

I don't care about the definition of adaptive.

followed by:

My point here was to refute Salter (insofar as his definition of "adaptive" means "currently not tending toward replacement by alternatives", which I maintain to be a reasonable definition).

RCB said...

Anonymous:

Thanks for your interjections. Notice that I said I aimed to refute Salter, and then qualified that this assumes a particular definition of adaptive. Which is exactly what I should do if I'm not sure what definition he's using. And, that I believe *my* definition of adaptive is reasonable does not mean I assert that everyone else should use it. My behavior is consistent.

Care to provide some actual substance to this discussion by addressing my six points?

Different Anonymous said...

RCB,

What are your thoughts on the arguments for the EGI concepts made here:

http://www.counter-currents.com/2011/04/ethnic-genetic-interests/

http://www.counter-currents.com/2011/04/the-ethics-of-racial-preservation-frank-salters-on-genetic-interests/

http://www.counter-currents.com/2011/04/why-was-the-understanding-of-ethnic-genetic-interests-delayed-for-30-years/

Anonymous said...

Notice that I said I aimed to refute Salter, and then qualified that this assumes a particular definition of adaptive. Which is exactly what I should do if I'm not sure what definition he's using. And, that I believe *my* definition of adaptive is reasonable does not mean I assert that everyone else should use it. My behavior is consistent.

So, rather than use or even mention his definition of adaptive (which is at the beginning of his book, whose first chapters you claimed to have read), you use your own definition to call 'bullshit' because his example's not consistent with it. Your behaviour is consistent. That's the problem.

Regarding your 6 points, I don't think there was much I would disagree with. A novel Breivik allele would not be selected for in modern England, (Although maybe this depends on the penal system. I'm sure there are lots of women willing to have his child). If, by chance, the allele ever would reach a level where it could make an impact, it will be too late. The English will sort things out in the next couple generations, based on behaviours they already possess, or they will disappear.

Anonymous said...

Those two sentences of mine that you quote are essentially equivalent. But... if you disagree with my definition of "selectively disfavored", fine.

Let's look at your 2 sentences again:

I'm saying to you, very clearly, that such alleles are currently selectively disfavored. That's all.

and

But neither of you have explained why such alleles would not go extinct before alternatives in England.

That's not all your saying. Currently selectively disfavored (in within-group context) does not mean they will go extinct.

n/a said...

RCB,

Go back, read what I wrote, and think about it some more.

To the extent the survival of one's family depends on the survival of one's group, the interests of the family and group are aligned. And, again, most relevant alleles will not be new.

RCB said...

n/a -

Since you have not yet refuted them, I presume you do not dispute the six points I have offered.

"And, again, most relevant alleles will not be new."
As I have repeated a few times now, the novelty of the alleles is not important (only serves to show that altruistic alleles have a hard time "getting off the ground"). Within-group selection is currently pushing non-novel altruistic alleles to extinction, in all groups, regardless of their frequency (point 3), unless they are associated with some other benefit (point 6), or frequent group reshuffling can maintain high F_ST at such loci.

At this point we are simply repeating arguments to each other, so there isn't much reason to continue, unless you or I have something new to say. I am happy to leave the argument with you accepting that my six points are correct. You may offer your own concluding points, if you wish.

n/a said...

RCB,

If an allele doubles its representation in the population in the first generation, but kills all descendants in the second generation, how "adaptive" is this?

That something like that could well happen in nature does not mean it's the optimal course, or that if the allele were able
to reason it "should" choose that path.

But getting back to the actual question that started all this, I'd like you to admit, per your acknowledgment that "(5) English alleles, broadly speaking (across the genome), would indeed live longer if England were able to resist foreign invaders for longer." that from the standpoint of an individual (and we are individuals, not novel alleles) Salter is correct that caring about ethnic genetic interests is potentially adaptive.

RCB said...

n/a -

"If an allele doubles its representation in the population in the first generation, but kills all descendants in the second generation, how "adaptive" is this?"
This question emphasizes that our remaining disagreements are semantic. You agree with my points that ethno-altruistic alleles are currently on the road to be replaced by non-altruistic alleles - that they will die off *sooner* than non-altruistic alleles, regardless of what happens to England, because whatever mean fitness non-altruistic alleles in England have in the future, altruistic alleles will have lower mean fitness. This is *necessarily* so because of negative within-group selection and because of the lack of F_ST regeneration. You call this adaptive, I don't. So what?

Yes, of course I admit point (5) - it's my point! Do I admit, then, that "Salter is correct that caring about ethnic genetic interests could be adaptive"? Again, given that you agree with my six points, this *has* to be a matter of semantics. If Salter wants to call a behavior "adaptive" which, under current conditions, cannot invade when rare, and is inevitably replaced by alternatives when common (as implied by my six points, which you agree are correct), then sure, it's "adaptive," and Salter is "correct".

In reality, I don't think he would agree to my six points. I think he *does* believe that ethnic-altruistic behaviors in large, stable ethnic groups can spread when rare, contra point 1 - like you believed, until I corrected you. In which case, he would be wrong, as you have conceded. Do I know for sure that he thinks this? No.

Anonymous said...

Would it be accurate to say that this debate is between a Dawkinsian "selfish gene" paradigm vs. a Mayr style anti-reductionist view?

n/a said...

Anonymous,

There's no conflict between group selection properly understood and a gene-centric view of evolution properly understood. Group selection was out of fashion for a few decades starting in the 1960s, owing to the impression encouraged by the likes of G.C. Williams and John Maynard Smith that kin selection or a gene-centric view of evolution rendered the concept of group selection wrong or irrelevant.

Group selection was put on a firmer footing by the 1970s, with Price helping to formally quantify the situations in which selection at the level of groups could affect gene frequencies. But outside of mathematical population geneticists many people did not really understand much of this, and simply continued along with the impression that it's usually safest to discount group selection (which in many situations may be true; but the evolution of human sociality is exactly one of the situations where group selection is likely to have been important).

Dawkins saw himself as popularizing the work of people like Williams and Hamilton. But Hamilton for one had no problem talking about group selection in humans. I believe I've even seen a quote from G.C. Williams at least acknowledging the possibility. Nor is Dawkins remotely in the mainstream of theoretical population genetics today in denying even the coherence of the concept of group selection in his attack on E.O. Wilson (who in turn is not in the mainstream in denying the utility of the concept of kin selection).

Anonymous said...

In reality, I don't think he would agree to my six points. I think he *does* believe that ethnic-altruistic behaviors in large, stable ethnic groups can spread when rare, contra point 1 - like you believed, until I corrected you. In which case, he would be wrong, as you have conceded. Do I know for sure that he thinks this? No.

You wasted all these electrons based on your mind-reading abilities? I doubt Salter's even thought about the spread of rare alleles.

Just admit that you were a hostile reader. Perhaps you wanted to use the book as a foil to provide a 'free pop gen lesson' (which would also explain why you ignored his definition of adaptive). Or perhaps you're uncomfortable with the idea of ethnic groups preventing their replacement (which is not an 'arbitrary' event). What's your ethnic background?

Anonymous said...

I doubt Salter's even thought about the spread of rare alleles.

It's not mentioned in his book and I've never heard him discuss it in interviews.

RCB said...

Anonymous -

Look, when Salter talks at length about (and misuses) Hamilton's rule, it's clear to me that he's trying to do evolutionary theory. Now, when an evolutionary theorist calls a behavior "adaptive," he usually does not mean that it cannot replace other alleles when rare, and cannot resist replacement by other alleles when common. This is precisely the situation that these ethnic altruism behaviors find themselves in in the modern world of large, stable ethnic groups. I have *never* found a case of a competent evolutionary theorist using "adaptive" this way. You have not furnished any examples. So I maintain that my interpretation was reasonable.

Evidently, n/a also got the impression that Salter was trying to say something about the evolution of behavior (scroll up to find a comment of his claiming that "there is no ambiguity", that "Salter is right", that "I [RCB] am wrong"). Hence our long debate about evolutionary processes, which has apparently culminated with him conceding my six points.

If n/a and I completely misinterpreted Salter, and all he was trying to do was put some fancy terms on a non-scientific moral philosophy, then I'm sorry for having wasted your time.

n/a said...

RCB,

As I recall, you initially denied the concept of ethnic genetic interests made sense, that ethnocentric altruism could have arisen in the first place, and that an action in defense of ethnic genetic interests could ever be adaptive in Salter's definition of adaptiveness (which is consistent with other definitions of individual adaptiveness I've seen). These are the points I was primarily concerned with, and you've now conceded all of them.

The debate was never primarily about whether a new mutation for ethnocentric altruism could be selected for in a large-scale society. This was never a point that particularly mattered (and it's not a point I think you're thinking about correctly, for reasons pointed out above; but you did not wish to continue the discussion and I also have little interest in spending more time on this). You originally started imagining new mutations to "prove" ethnocentric altruism could not exist at all.

But as it happens, you're also wrong that there's anything necessarily inevitable about selfish alleles increasing in frequency even within a large-scale society. As I pointed out, we could, for example, choose to select for appropriate types of altruism. And it's entirely conceivable even a large-scale society could come up with mechanisms to suppress free riding that eliminate much or all of the payoff for short-sighted narrow selfishness. In the short to medium run, culture is going to play a much larger role than novel mutations.

RCB said...

n/a -

"denied the concept of ethnic genetic interests made sense"
It's not clear what "makes sense" means here. You can certainly define the quantity and measure it - I stated that in my very first comment. Whether you can use it to make good evolutionary predictions is unclear - certainly Salter fails there.

"denied... that ethnocentric altruism could have arisen in the first place"
Under current conditions, it's not selected for - that has been my main point. Could it have arisen in the past, or by hitchhiking on other adaptive behavior? Yes - absolutely. See point (6).

"adaptive in Salter's definition of adaptiveness (which is consistent with other definitions of individual adaptiveness I've seen)"
I have made my six points; you have failed to refute them. Again, if you want to call a behavior adaptive which cannot invade when rare and cannot be maintained when common, feel free - no qualm there.

"You originally started imagining new mutations to "prove" ethnocentric altruism could not exist at all."
If you got that impression, let me clear it up: I have repeated many times that ethnocentric altruism exists (see point 6). My argument is that the kinds of behaviors mentioned by Salter are not positively selected by the mechanism of group selection (or Hamilton's rule) under current conditions.

You and Anonymous continually point to my argument about novel mutations. But only the 1st of my 6 points explicitly deals with novel mutations. Since within-group selection is killing off group-altruistic alleles in every group, and there is no process counterbalancing this F_ST-killing process, the inevitable result is extinction of the altruistic allele, to be replaced by non-altruistic alleles, everywhere, regardless of starting frequency (again, unless it's balanced out by other positively selected behaviors). I have repeated this many times, and you have not refuted this

"we could, for example, choose to select for appropriate types of altruism."
(Questionable use of the term "appropriate" aside...) Of course we could! When you remove the within-group cost of ethnic altruistic behavior, we're no longer talking about ethnic altruism! Such behavior is not difficult to explain! It's also not what Salter was talking about: he said that killing off one of your kids to resist immigration of two Bantus is adaptive. Period. I interpreted this to mean what pop geneticists always interpret "adaptive" to mean: an allele (or set of alleles - doesn't matter) that causes this behavior will spread and replace alternatives. It will not.

"In the short to medium run, culture is going to play a much larger role than novel mutations."
I'm happy to talk about cultural processes and cultural group selection. But this is not what Salter is talking about (ethnic *genetic* interests), and it's not what we've been talking about all along. You're grasping at straws, now.

n/a said...

RCB,

"Again, if you want to call a behavior adaptive which cannot invade when rare and cannot be maintained when common, feel free - no qualm there."

To try to explain this one more time:

England is currently being invaded from without on a much faster timescale than a new selfish mutation would be able to invade England from within. The best strategy for a new English mutation (that most likely to result in its still being around in a few centuries) would likely be to increase English ethnocentrism; and even where a new mutation could benefit from jumping to another group, this will not work for an individual, who can't change his phylogenetic position and the large numbers of variants shared with other English relative to Africans, for example.

Individual adaptiveness means what it means, and Salter is unambiguously correct.


"If you got that impression, let me clear it up: I have repeated many times that ethnocentric altruism exists (see point 6)."

Yes, it only took dozens of posts to get you to start acknowledging this. If your memory is really this poor, go back and re-read your original comments.


"I'm happy to talk about cultural processes and cultural group selection. But this is not what Salter is talking about (ethnic *genetic* interests), and it's not what we've been talking about all along."

Salter's book is a cultural product. He discusses cultural strategies. The area of concern is defending ethnic genetic interests. The available mode of defense is cultural.

Anonymous said...

Salter's definition of adaptive, this time from the glossary:

Behaving in such a way as to maintain or increase genetic representation in future generations, i.e. to conserve or expand genetic interests.

Preventing extinction is sufficient to be considered adaptive by this definition, but not by RCB's.

Anonymous said...

Based on RCB's definition, I don't see that he believes an individual (collection of alleles) can behave adaptively.

Anonymous said...

Since within-group selection is killing off group-altruistic alleles in every group, and there is no process counterbalancing this F_ST-killing process, the inevitable result is extinction of the altruistic allele, to be replaced by non-altruistic alleles, everywhere, regardless of starting frequency (again, unless it's balanced out by other positively selected behaviors). I have repeated this many times, and you have not refuted this

Again, it's not inevitable.

What behaviour is an allele that causes altruistic ethnocentric behaviour (triggered by the Fst between an Englishman and a Bantu) going to produce in an English England? Under different circumstances, the behaviour will be different (or even absent). Maybe it increases fitness, maybe it's selectively neutral but drifts to high frequency or extinction, maybe it maintains its frequency, etc. You don't know.

RCB said...

"England is currently being invaded from without on a much faster timescale than a new selfish mutation would be able to invade England from within. The best strategy for a new English mutation (that most likely to result in its still being around in a few centuries) would likely be to increase English ethnocentrism; and even where a new mutation could benefit from jumping to another group, this will not work for an individual, who can't change his phylogenetic position and the large numbers of variants shared with other English relative to Africans, for example."

If you define adaptive as increasing your country's ability to persist, then sure. Like I said, we agree on the group-beneficial outcomes of ethnic altruism (that's how group altruism is defined) - see my point (5). This is not what most evolutionary biologists would call adaptive (at least, this property alone does not make it adaptive), in my experience (then anything that yields a group benefit would be called adaptive). Rather, adaptive usually means higher fitness than alternative alleles/behaviors. But of course this is semantics, and so I don't really care to spend time on it. Hammering out our substantive points is what matters. So let's move to that:

When you say "best strategy", this is not very well-defined. Let's say something more precise: if you fear that English alleles are going extinct, then you *must* recognize that negatively-selected alleles within-England will go extinct *before* alternatives, because of negative within-group selection. Regardless of what happens to England, the ethnic-altruistic alleles will die off before the non-ethnic-altruistic alleles. More concretely: *If you think English genes are going to mostly disappear in n generations, then the ethnic-altruistic alleles will disappear before that*, because whatever mean fitness alternative alleles experience, altruistic alleles will have lower fitness than that (again, assuming all the caveats of not being tied to other beneficial traits - which is implied when you call something altruistic). There is no question about this; you have not refuted it. Whatever other terms we use to describe this outcome is a matter of semantics.

To repeat: yes, absolutely, alleles that cause individuals to behave altruistically toward the group will increase that group's mean fitness. There is no disagreement there. Point (5).

"Yes, it only took dozens of posts to get you to start acknowledging this. If your memory is really this poor, go back and re-read your original comments."

Check your inbox for an email I sent you weeks before this discussion (June 14, in fact). The one where I wrote "I agree, of course, that ethnocentrism exists."

In the interest of wrapping things up, I'd really like to find out what substantive points we still disagree on, apart from the semantics of what "adaptive" means. If you mostly agree with my 6 points, I can't think of anything that really stands out.

RCB said...

In the interest of fairness: I've been calling them "my" 6 points. But clearly n/a has been arguing in favor of (2) and (5) (and (6)?) the whole time. Maybe I should call them "our" 6 points.

n/a said...

RCB,

I see no reason to argue further at this point.

But have I made clear why I believe what I believe (why someone concerned with individual adaptiveness, as defined by Salter, would also have a concern with ethnic genetic interests)?

RCB said...

n/a -

"have I made clear why I believe what I believe (why someone concerned with individual adaptiveness, as defined by Salter, would also have a concern with ethnic genetic interests)?"

That's a good question. I think it's clearer to me now than before. Since we have come to agree on most substantive evolutionary matters (I think), my conclusion is that you allow Salter to use "adaptive" in a way that evolutionary theorists usually do not. There is no problem with this - we can use terms in different ways if we wish - except that it may cause confusion among pop gen readers of your blog.

That being said, I don't think Salter believes that he's using "adaptive" in an atypical way. I think he believes he's doing real evolutionary theory - which is why he's appealing to Hamilton's rule in the first place. I think that when he butchers Hamilton's rule - e.g., when he uses F_ST at "120 selectively neutral alleles" to conclude that it would be "more adaptive for an Englishman to risk life or property resisting the immigration of two Bantu immigrants to England than his taking the same risk to rescue one of his own children from drowning" - he's implying that alleles that cause this behavior will spread and replace alternatives. Because that's precisely what happens when a behavior actually does satisfy Hamilton's rule. In short, I believe he's making claims that are wrong. But perhaps you interpret him differently, in a way which renders him not incorrect, and that's fine.

In any case, I'm happy to leave the discussion here.

Anonymous said...

As yet NOT A SINGLE gene has been shown to have an INDEPENDENT effect on any human behavior. NOT A SINGLE ONE.

n/a

IS

A

BORING

RETARD.

Anonymous said...

allele for ethnic altruism, allele for this and that behavior.

MY GOD YOU ARE ALL A BUNCH OF FUCKING FUCKTARDS.

Anonymous said...

Wait I misspoke. The gene for crime has been found.

It's the entire Y chromosome.

Yet y'all go on and on and on and on in this purely theoretical and obviously meaningless discussion of the selection for ethnic chauvinism...a behavioral trait...a quite complex behavioral trait...not like sleeping and shitting or walking upright.

BORING AND RETARDED.

n/a said...

Mugabe,

No one believes a SINGLE gene has an INDEPENDENT effect on any human behavior. This is not some unique or brilliant insight. Behavioral genetics continues on unperturbed in the face of your devastating critique.

And in the case of the trait we're discussing here, if I did not acknowledge the importance of environment, I probably would not have written: "Salter's book is a cultural product. He discusses cultural strategies. The area of concern is defending ethnic genetic interests. The available mode of defense is cultural."

Anonymous said...

Behavior genetics is NOT genetics.

Its people are psychologists. AND NONE of them, like anthropologists, has ANY understanding AT ALL of the TOTAL MEANINGLESSNESS of h^2 when it is determined for a population which is restricted in time, space, and genetic variety.

Let me state it more FUCKTARDEDLY for you.

Not a single gene or single constellation of genes has been shown to have ANY INDEPENDENT effect on ANY human behavior.

The exceptions are the Y chromosome and crime and various rare alleles that cause mental retardation.

BUT OTHER VARIANTS OF THOSE SAME GENES (FOR WHICH ONE ALLELE CAUSES MENTAL RETARDATION) HAVE BEEN INVESTIGATED. AND NONE OF THEM INDIVIDUALLY OR IN COMBINATION EXPLAINS ANY OF THE VARIANCE IN IQ.

U

R

A

RETARAD.

Anonymous said...

N/A SHOULD LOOK UP THE WORD "POLYSEMY".

It's apparent in his discourse with RCB that he doesn't know there is such a a phenomenon. It is equally apparent in his insistence above on the difference between single genes and sets of loci on the genome.

I suppose he'd also like to assert that despite independent assortment such sets can be selected for and that many genes (like thousands) of small effect can be selected for and thus this "explains" the difference in some traits between populations when those traits are hypothetically caused to "many genes of small effect".

Tards are gonna 'tard.

Anonymous said...

lol take a breath bro

RCB said...

What is a retarad?

Anonymous said...

A retard is someone who can't recognize a typo, has no sense of humor, and who types perfectly, because he's a prole who's learned the prole skill of typing.

Human behavior genetics deserves no break "bro".

It's a pseudo-science conducted by MORONS.

But unlike astrology its malignant effect is profound.

RCB,

You, like n/a, are a

RETARD.

Anonymous said...

and again n/a should come out of the closet and stop pretending he's attracted to "science".

he should throw a coming out party at the end of which he, like an alcoholic, says,

My name is n/a, and I am a National Socialist.

THEN I could be his "sponsor", except that National Socialists Anonymous has the express goal of MAINTAINING Nazi sympathy.

Anonymous said...

Selection for large segments of the genome or the entire genome can be done ARTIFICIALLY.

Otherwise such sets of genes CANNOT be selected for.

Natural and artificial selection CANNOT converge when the trait is determined by thousands of genes each of which has a trivial effect.

"many genes of small effect" may explain some differences, but CANNOT have been selected for.

A natural process which selects the top 45% in so many generations CANNOT give the same results as an ARTIFICIAL process which selects the top 5%, NO MATTER HOW MANY EXTRA GENERATIONS SUCH A PROCESS HAS.


RCB said...

I'm going to go against my better judgment and assume you are not a troll.

If by "sets of genes," you mean highly epistatic gene combinations, such that you need lots of alleles in just the right combination to work at all, then yes - natural selection will have a hard time pushing you to that point.

But if by "sets of genes" you mean many loci contributing additively to some quantitative trait, such that there is substantial additive genetic variance in the trait (which is the case if h^2 is well above 0), then natural selection will have no trouble moving things along. It has been known for a long time that the response of a quantitative character, to which many genes contribute, is approximately equal to the selection coefficient times the additive genetic variance, divided by mean fitness. So, in general, you are very wrong to say that traits composed of many genes of small effect cannot have been selected for. That is the most basic result of selection in quantitative genetics, which goes back to Fisher.

So yes, it is absolutely possible for selection to make different populations have different mean genetic values. Just need minor changes in lots of loci across the genome. It's why pygmies are short.

Anonymous said...

i'm going to go against my better judgement and assume that someone who uses "troll" as you have isn't a...

FUCKTARD.

that was a joke. U R A FUCKTARD.

n/a has whined about faggotry. yet it's totally beyond his very short arms and grasp that the whole "gay rights" movement is ONLY possible because:

1. the gay Holocaust...AIDS

2. behavior genetics bullshit...it's not a MORAL failing...they can't help it.

social "science" departments have had an exclusively malign influence on western civ. their only REAL reason for existence is to allow people too fucking retarded to be in college to graduate...

and this supports the Mercastani CONSERVATARD pretense of social mobility and a class-less society.

psychology, economics, anthropology, etc.

=

astrology with consequences.



Anonymous said...

Mercastani conservatardism, HBD, hereditism,...

it's just more jewish cock worship.

n/a clearly LOVES JEWISH COCK.

HE LOVES IT IN HIS MOUTH,

IN HIS RECTUM,

AND SPOOGING ALL OVER HIM.

Anonymous said...

he's a peasant on the Jew lord's estate.

he believes that if only he could convince his fellow peasants to be Republicans and hereditists, all of them could get a better deal...

from their Jew lord.

and EVEN MORE PATHETICALLY,

n/a suffers from STOCKHOLM SYNDROME and as a consequence believes that his captor, his Jew lord, has only gotten to be lord and captor as a result of his innate and congenital virtue...and in one generation!

n/a, the Jew cock worshipper,

is still thinking with the means allowed him by his Jew lord.

he turns the soil, plants, harvests, maybe he works in the smithy,...

but he's still just a peasant...a benighted GENTILE...an AMERICAN.

Anonymous said...

What could be more goyish than agriculture or oil?

Yet 2 of the 5 commodities trading companies which control > 90% of the market are Jew companies, Glencore and Louis Dreyfus.

n/a's topic is internecine bullshit between white trash hicks and SWPLs.

it's just MLK, jr. vs Malcolm X or the Black Panthers, except it's white guys imagining they still rule the world.

Get off it already.

You're both slaves!

Anonymous said...

lol relax bro

John Fuerst said...

RCB,

Might we discuss the topic some? I agree with your points 1-6 (made elsewhere), yet I feel that you didn't exhaust the range of possibilities.

RCB said...

John -
Would be happy to talk more. I'm reluctant to provide an email address here publicly. So we could continue the discussion here? Or, email n/a; he can connect us.

Jacob said...

I am curious, do you find ethnocentism to be maladapative?

ben tillman said...

Group selection was put on a firmer footing by the 1970s, with Price helping to formally quantify the situations in which selection at the level of groups could affect gene frequencies. But outside of mathematical population geneticists many people did not really understand much of this....

If someone can't grasp the concept of multilevel organization (which is probably a more-apt name than multilevel selection) after reading D.S. Wilson's "Unto Others", especially pp. 87-98, he's hopeless.

Anonymous said...

«I don't think Salter believes that he's using "adaptive" in an atypical way. I think he believes he's doing real evolutionary theory - which is why he's appealing to Hamilton's rule in the first place. I think that when he butchers Hamilton's rule -»

So, Salter is wrong on that... but his book is worth reading nonetheless or not?

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