Evolutionary cooperation

By Ken Perrott 26/09/2011 1


Kropotkin wrote about evolutionary cooperation*

Here’s a lecture on evolutionary cooperation by PZ Myers. Ok, it’s pretty long, but it’s worth downloading and watching (or even listening as the video doesn’t catch most of the slides).

Click on World Humanist Congress 2011 08/13/11 07:32AM.

Cooperation as an important component of evolution is often ignored while competition is stressed. Creationists will purposely ignore cooperation. Yet cooperation and conflict are really two sides of the same coin.

Myers illustrates his talk with examples of cooperation from nature and stresses the important evolutionary leaps made possible by cooperation. But he goes on to show that cooperation is also natural for humans.

PZ presented this talk at the 2011 World Humanist Congress in Oslo, Norway last August. Human cooperation, world peace and conflict prevention were important themes at the congress. The programme looks interesting, including sessions on:

  • The role of supra-national organizations
  • Lifestance and peace
  • Our emotional life and the role of ceremonies
  • Bit by bit and Peace by Piece

While Myers doesn’t deal in any detail with strategies for cooperation in modern human society and internationally it looks like some of the other presenters did. I will have to download more videos.


*See, for example:
Mutual Aid; a factor of evolution
Evolution and Environment (Collected Works of Peter Kropotkin)
Kropotkin: ‘The Conquest of Bread’ and Other Writings (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought)

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One Response to “Evolutionary cooperation”

  • Physicists had already proposed computational model that can explain rapid evolution using the theory of SOC (self organized criticality), in which it claimed to back up biologits’ conjectures that biological evolution takes place in terms of intermittent bursts of activity separating relatively long periods of quiescence rather than in a gradual manner, thus extinctions are indeed episodic.

    This theoretical findings thus basically answered (or put to rest) creationists’ main critique of evolution where they say that paleontological evidence doesn’t support gradual evolution (which is assumed to be the case).

    The followings are references on SOC in evolution. References #1 and #2 are freely available, but #3 is subscribed only.

    #1) Punctuated Equilibrium and Criticality in a Simple Model of Evolution

    #2) Extinction and self-organized criticality in a model of large-scale evolution

    #3) Rapid self-organized criticality: Fractal evolution in extreme environments by J. Halley, et al (Physical Review Lettters, Vol 70, 2004).

    Model in Ref #3 have made improvements over the ones described in Ref #1 and #2.

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