[Election-Methods] Simple two candidate election

Juho juho4880 at yahoo.co.uk
Mon Dec 24 13:22:37 PST 2007

On Dec 24, 2007, at 17:34 , rob brown wrote:

> It's easy to apply your intuition about human behavior to other  
> animals, but if you apply it to non-reproducing bees, you are  
> making a big mistake.  It just doesn't apply.

I try to map human concepts to bees and bee concepts to humans and  
generic scientific concepts to both. I don't like the idea of trying  
to see animals as if they would have human like intentions etc. Also  
talking about the (human like) intention of genes to do something  
(e.g. selfish genes trying to multiply) is an interesting but  
theoretically not the best possible style to explain their role in life.

> When a bee stings, it kills the bee.  Do you know of anything like  
> that in an animal that reproduces directly?

Yes, unfortunately at the very moment many soldiers at their best  
reproducing age give their lives for their country. Worker bees are  
likely to die when they sting a soft skinned large animal. Humans are  
not that radical - in most war situations individual soldiers have a  
reasonable probability to stay alive. But often sacrificing one's own  
life in order to protect others is praised and thereby encouraged,  
and happens in real life.

Note also that worker bees can produce drones if needed (not totally  
different animals from that point of view). They can also be said to  
be in the state of rage when they attack (driven to attack by a  
smell). Rage with its possibly fatal consequences is also a known  
phenomenon among (typically male, maybe less important from  
reproduction point of view) humans.

> There is a fundamental difference between eusocial animals and non- 
> eusocial animals.

I still tend to rather see the differences to be in scale and style.  
Surely colonies where majority of the members are (usually) non- 
reproductive has somewhat different rules and outcome than humans.  
Maybe my basic approach is simply "some characteristics of a group of  
animals tends to keep that population alive". No big difference if  
some behaviour pattern leads to high mortality rate ("unpremeditated/ 
unplanned suicides") (among a subset of the population) or not.

> Altruism in humans can be explained by reciprocity and similar  
> things, but (with the exception of parent-child) kin selection  
> hardly plays into it.  Kin selection is EVERYTHING in worker bees.

Humans form also extended families, clans, tribes and nations,  
concepts that are to some extent based on genetic similarity.

> I wrote above "in favour of the genes", but I would say only that  
> genes are one way to explain motivations and the way the world  
> works, not necessarily the only correct one (maybe you didn't say  
> so either).
> I'd like to hear another.

Survival of one's children is the more traditional alternative to  
genes. A bit more different path is cultural evolution. Nations also  
fight for survival, why not ideologies too. Referring to my earlier  
definition above, it is interesting to study any property that either  
stays or disappears in time (no need to always explain them with  
attributes like selfishness and biological survival instincts).

> (for what it's worth, I'm actually working on an article on this  
> stuff, independent from voting theory.  Bees, and understanding the  
> difference between their motivations and more typical animal  
> motivations, is what inspired my interest in evolution, game theory  
> and related fields as a kid, so it is core to my thinking on all this)

Go for it. Don't listen too much to the current popular trends, and  
avoid humanization of the story (well, humanization sells better ;-).


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