Re: SOCIOLOGY: Cooperation & Punishment

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Thu Jan 10 2002 - 17:22:05 MST

"Robert J. Bradbury" wrote:
> Nature is reporting on a Swiss study about cooperation and punishment.
> Article (subscription probably required):
> Abstract:
> > Human cooperation is an evolutionary puzzle. Unlike other
> > creatures, people frequently cooperate with genetically unrelated
> > strangers, often in large groups, with people they will never meet again,
> > and when reputation gains are small or absent. These patterns of
> > cooperation cannot be explained by the nepotistic motives associated with
> > the evolutionary theory of kin selection and the selfish motives
> > associated with signalling theory or the theory of reciprocal altruism.
> > Here we show experimentally that the altruistic punishment of defectors is
> > a key motive for the explanation of cooperation. Altruistic punishment
> > means that individuals punish, although the punishment is costly for them
> > and yields no material gain. We show that cooperation flourishes if
> > altruistic punishment is possible, and breaks down if it is ruled out. The
> > evidence indicates that negative emotions towards defectors are the
> > proximate mechanism behind altruistic punishment. These results suggest
> > that future study of the evolution of human cooperation should include a
> > strong focus on explaining altruistic punishment.

Thus, we now have experimental proof that an armed society is a polite
society.... one more nail in the coffin of modern liberalism. Why am I
not surprised that this study is coming from the Swiss? Ghu, I love the
Swiss!!!! ;)

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