[searches Amazon frantically for "Exclusion Dynamic for Dummies" and "Deceiving those who have evolved the means to detect such deceptions and thereby minimise the effects of it"]
I'm merely extrapolating from what I have read so far in Dawkins' treatise, SBC.
Or are you saying that the altruistic ones... are the ones willing to leave, send off, even kill... the weaker... for the benefit of the remaining group? Is THAT the definition of altruism? ... I am just trying to understand...
Yes and no, Shelby. Remember that we are discussing this in the context of billions of years of evolution, but that is a big hump to get over. I might be able to provide a small inkling of understanding, or what I understand to be understanding. I am not expert and I could be quite wrong but I will hope I am directionally right. Consider first familial selection. A mother will tend to be very altruistic toward her babies, to the point in some species (like humans) where she will actually sacrifice herself for them. In nature, not all mothers are altruistic in this way but for the sake of this discussion we can ignore them. But in nature altruistic mothers are oftentimes faced with a Sophie's Choice of sorts. I had a hound dog when I was a boy. She was a bluetick cross and a reasonably good hunter. When she had her one and only litter there were 7 pups, which was larger than average. As with many large litters there was a runt in this one who did not compete as well as his littermates for access to their mother's teats and who after only a few days had grown noticeably weaker. Still, the mother seemed to be trying her best to keep it alive. But that meant that her limited supply of milk was being wasted on a pup that just might not make it. Sometime between points of me checking up on the litter she ate the runt. Whether or not it had died before she had done so, I do not know. But her behaviour, no doubt genetic else we are ascribing sapient thinking to a dog, could be construed as altruistic, not toward the pup she devoured but toward the sixth most robust littermate who might have perished along with the runt had she not done so.
I think, to elevate the discussion to the modern human species - and by modern I mean over the past several thousand years, since genetic selection takes a very long time - one could conceivably equate the coda of the OT as a written example of societal selection favouring altruistic individuals. The altruism, however, was codified within the tribe to the detriment of individuals who were outside the tribe. It was not ok to take the wife, or the life, of a fellow Israelite but it was perfectly ok, even encouraged to visit such selfish behaviour upon those who were not of the tribe. Such selfishness extended even to killing wholesale the innocent livestock and children of those others. But within the tribe of Israel there were laws that encouraged the killing of children whose behaviour was perceived as negative, of women who willfully went against the wishes of men, and of men who likewise behaved in such a way that the society judged to be objectionable - in the case of homosexuals, whether the Israelites were aware of it or not, they were attempting to eradicate individuals from their society, almost all of whom were more likely bisexual and therefore capable of passing on their genes to subsequent generations, and thereby eradicate homosexuality. The altruism in all these examples is not toward the individual, but toward the society itself or, more specifically, toward what the society has established as "good" and worth preserving.
If so, is it Mr. Hawkins'
Dawkins, my dear. Hawkins Dawkins. Murrah Murrow. Oopps. Wrong thread.