David Barash disses group selection as an explanation for altruism

Why Evolution Is True

David Barash is a professor of psychology at the University of Washington at Seattle, and has written many articles on evolution as well as several “trade” (i.e., popular) books on science for the public. In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal (link here, but you’ll hit a paywall), he’s reviewed two books on altruism in a piece called “Genes are selfish; humans are not.”

The first book he takes up is David Sloan Wilson’s new volume, Does Altruism Exist? Culture, Genes, and the Welfare of Others, published by Yale University Press. I haven’t read it, but the Amazon blurb suggests that Wilson’s still banging on, as he has for years—nay decades—about his theory that altruism in humans and other species evolved by group selection. This is from the Amazon description:

From an evolutionary viewpoint, Wilson argues, altruism is inextricably linked to the functional organization of groups. “Groups that work” undeniably exist…

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