In a message dated 11/20/99 8:06:51 PM Pacific Standard Time, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
> Yes, I can see that. I still wonder if evolution can select for shorter life
It can, it's just that any individual advantages will overwhelm the group
Roughly, a group allele benefits only with the frequency of groups going extinct. An individual allele benefits with the frequency of individuals dying. Obviously the latter is far more common, so the selection to improve individual fitness is typically orders of magnitude larger than group fitness.
There's an experimental problem in that the power of group selection is generally lower than the lowest effects on individual selection we can detect. So we can't say that individual selection on any particular real trait or allele is low enough for group selection to go.