Re: XLS files scrambling [off-topic]

Subject: Re: XLS files scrambling [off-topic]
From: Francis Norton <francis@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2000 20:29:14 +0100

Etienne Posthumus wrote:
> On Fri, 23 Jun 2000, George Prezerakos (ETG) wrote:
> > Am I missing something here ?
> If we share things, we can all do better and greater things. By hiding and
> obfuscating things more harm is done than good.
> Why would you not want to share anything you have done?

At the risk of going severely off-topic there is an excellent book
called "Unto Others" by Sober and Wilson
) which throws some very specific light on to this kind of issue.

The first half explores the situations in which the effects of group
selection might outweigh the effects of individual selection, thus
propagating altruistic behaviour (because "altruistic" teams are winning
out faster than "selfish" players). They then go on to argue that this
happens more often in nature than is accepted under modern scientific

The key requirements for these situations are (1) that groups are
competing with each other for survival (obviously enough), and (2) that
the groups themselves are transient, and are re-formed randomly for new
group generations (because in a sufficiently long-lived group the
selfish members will out-replicate the altruists).

Making the big assumption that this analysis can be applied to the
propagation of behaviour patterns rather than organisms and genes, it
would appear that groups of individuals supporting new technologies via
mailing lists or even start-ups might well be an ideal environment for
encouraging altruistic behaviour, whereas a more stable technological
and commercial environment would encourage the domination of
less-altruistic behaviour.

In other words, we may be living in a golden age of altruism here.


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