07 NOV 2014 by ideonexus

 Borganism in Nature

he most common example used is the hives of social insects, where all individuals work for the common good with little regard for themselves. Although it has been argued that hives lack collective minds (Nicholls 1982) it should be noted that all such species communicate with chemical signals, and at least in the case of ants chemical trails can be seen as collective cognitive maps distributed in the environment (Chiavlo & Millonas 1995). There may exist degrees of borganisation, and they are...
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29 NOV 2013 by ideonexus

 When Memes and Genes Conflict

Memes and genes may often reinforce each other, but they sometimes come into opposition. For example, the habit of celibacy is presumably not inherited genetically. A gene for celibacy is doomed to failure in the gene pool, except under very special circumstances such as we find in the social insects. But still, a meme for celibacy can be successful in the meme pool. For example, suppose the success of a meme depends critically on how much time people spend in actively transmitting it to othe...
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Memes can override genes, which means a meme like 'celibacy' can prevent the genes from reproducing.

23 JUN 2013 by ideonexus

 Hamilton's Model

Hamilton's rule is rb - c > 0. Here c is the cost to the giver's fitness (c fewer offspring because of helping), and b is the benefit to the recipient's fitness (offspring gained by the recipient from the help). Here again, "r" is a measure of the relatedness between giver and the receiver [...] Hamilton’s rule says that for unrelated individuals (r = 0) no benefit can overcome the cost of loss of the altruist's fitness (0 - c can't be greater than 0) and aid giving is selected against...
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Explains why members of a species will sacrifice themselves for offspring that are not their own.

29 MAR 2011 by ideonexus

 Humans Aren't Especially Smart, It's Just that We Swarm

I prefer sociobiologist E. O. Wilson's view of us as unfortunate tribal carnivores that have acquired intelligence. Our evolution is more like that of social insects; the advances in knowledge and understanding that we prize are more a property of the human nests we call civilization than of its individual members. The nest is always more powerful than a collection of individuals. Who dares disturb the hornet's nest? Small bees easily destroy the huge and powerful but solitary Japanese horne...
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Humans are like other social insects. Our power doesn't come from our brains, but our ability to collaborate.

29 MAR 2011 by ideonexus

 We Have No Book That Captures the Basic, Most Important R...

As individuals, we are amazingly ignorant and incapable. How many of us, alone in a wilderness, could make a flint knife? Is there anyone now alive who knows even a tenth of everything there is to know in science? How many of those employed in the electricity industry could make any of its components, such as wires or switches? The important difference that separates us from the social insects is that they carry the instructions for nest building in their genes. We have no permanent ubiquitou...
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If civilization were to collapse, we would have no book by which to rebuild our scientific knowledge and how we came to it.