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  1. #1
    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    Default Proof that selfishness does not pay?

    New research shows that selfishness in the long run is not sustainable evolutionary-speaking

    Adami and Hintze had their doubts about whether following a zero determinant strategy (ZD) would essentially eliminate cooperation and create a world full of selfish beings. So they used high-powered computing to run hundreds of thousands of games and found ZD strategies can never be the product of evolution. While ZD strategies offer advantages when they're used against non-ZD opponents, they don't work well against other ZD opponents.
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  2. #2
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    Selfishness and co-operation are not mutually exclusive. Two people can team up to get what they want at the expense of other parties. Co-operation does not require altruism. The "you two can have kids, I don't mind!" gene won't last long.

    So I think they are incorrect.

  3. #3
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Game theory has been showing that the most apparently selfish course of action is not necessarily the best for a long time.
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  4. #4
    Theta Male Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    Excellent thread.

    I was wrestling with whether or not morality is meaningful or "real" earlier in my twenties. Eventually, I decided that altruism is important, and ultimately serves my self-interest. So, turns out, I can be true to myself without being a dick. Even if it's at as simple a level of how something makes me feel. I'm going to feel much happier not being a dick than I am going to feel being a dick. Maybe in some situations, being a dick will help me "win", but I know from experience that I won't enjoy it.The tricky part is that sometimes, it takes work not to be a dick. The dick side of the force is easier, quicker, more slippery.

    Also, now we actually have studies saying that everyone trying to fuck everyone over all the time is not a good system, and may, in fact, not guarantee efficiency. Ayn Rand must be spinning in her grave.

    The research also makes that case that communication and information are necessary for cooperation to take place.
    In other words, communication is important for humans to work together, whether within a company, or a romantic relationship. This is what I've been saying all along.
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  5. #5
    Glycerine
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    Selfishness is on one end of the spectrum while altruism on the other end. Being on either end is not beneficial. Being completely selfish is typically not smart because if you do everything for your own gain and screw others over, people will eventually catch on (through gossip, shunning, etc.) and will not help you when/if you need/want it. On the other hand, if you are too altruistic, people will find ways to exploit you and screw you over. Altruism does exist but much of it is based on reciprocity and mutual benefit... it's all about the cost/benefit analysis. In this sense, we are self-interested to survive. Much of evolutionary thought does not say "selfishness" pays but, in fact, that doing what's best in our self-interest (ex. survival) does pay. There is a difference because being "selfish" isn't always in our best self-interest... it can actually be a deterrent. For an extreme example, look at sociopaths/psychopaths/narcissists.


    Plus, according to evolutionary theory, the main reason why we have a big brain to body ratio is because we are social beings. We need to keep track of what people (of up to 150) in our social sphere are doing and where we stand in it. If we evolved to be "selfish" in the long-term, why would we have needed the big brains anyways? It wouldn't make sense.
    Last edited by Glycerine; 08-02-2013 at 01:35 PM.

  6. #6
    Ginkgo
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    I would say that it never entirely benefits because nothing can fully quench it.

  7. #7
    reflecting pool Typh0n's Avatar
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    Individualism isnt profiteable for the species. Im still an individualist though and few homo sapiens really care about the prservation of our species at this point, its not like we are endangeared. The ego/consciousness is a contradiction to organic life because its focused on itself as opposed to the preservation of the gene pool, the gene pool being nothing more than a mold in a specimen for organic life that can reproduce itself into other specimens, but at this stage of human evolution thats not really our concern, is it?

  8. #8
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    Game theory has been showing that the most apparently selfish course of action is not necessarily the best for a long time.
    Yep, the most successful strategies are generally cooperative, but retaliate against those who try to take advantage (selfish). Even tit-for-tat is more successful than pure selfishness. (according to Game Theory)
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  9. #9
    girl with a pretty smile Honor's Avatar
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    Well, of course it's not sustainable evolutionarily. However, it does seem to be beneficial in climbing the ranks of society. That's what most of the people I'm around tend to focus on, anyway.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    Game theory has been showing that the most apparently selfish course of action is not necessarily the best for a long time.
    First time I ever read about game theory was actually a book about the evolution of co-operation and detailed how even in notionally competitive societies and scenarios co-operation was implicit and underpinning of the actual competition and most of the time requisite.

    I cant remember the title of the book and it was pretty densely researched, and then of course focused upon the game theory and computer simulations for the most part, not the most readable but made a lot of good points contra the "commonsensical" or prevailing conservative ideas about selfish behaviour being the best or only option.

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