Date: Sat, Aug 23, 2003
From: "Herb Gintis" 
Subject: Re: [evol-psych] Kin Selection vs. Group Selection?

At 11:13 PM 8/21/2003 -0400, Phil Roberts, Jr. wrote:

> Which model would you propose to account for the "altruistic" 
> behavior of the 9/11 terrorists?

My preferred model is my own, Herbert Gintis, "The Hitchhiker's 
Guide to Altruism: Genes, Culture, and the Internalization of 
Norms",  Journal of Theoretical Biology 220,4 (2003):407-418.

> Herbert Gintis wrote:
>> The current usage of the term "behavioral" is not the same as
>> the use in psychology in the early to mid-Twentieth century (Watson,
>> Skinner, et al.). Rather, it refers to an experimental approach to
>> modeling choice and behavior through experimental games.
>And I think its the same old behaviorist bullshit gussied up just
>enough to keep folks from noticing that its actually a metaphysics
>(materialism) masquerading as an epistemology.

I do not like being flamed, especially by someone who should have 
more sense.  You have two strikes. One more and you are on my 
filtered-out list.  You also don't know what you are talking about. 
I have no metaphysics of materialism, and I have no problem with 
mental constructs. Quite the opposite. I am working with 
neuroscientists to validate such constructs in the context of 
experimental games.

>> It does not
>> reject introspection, but it requires that propositions derived from
>> introspection be validated in the laboratory or by other
>> scientific means.
> The proof is in the puddin'.  Perhaps you can explain to me why I can't
> find a single reference to 'feelings of worthlessness', 'self-worth',
> 'self-esteem', etc. in Cosmides and Toolby, the current Bible according
> to evolutionary psychology.  I don't know what mind you think these guys
> are trying to understand, Herb, but its obviously not the HUMAN mind,
> not unless I'm some sort of alien transplant.

You talk big, but you don't know what you're talking about. 
Cosmides and Tooby do not do experimental games, and indeed in print have 
come out very critical of some of our interpretations. See their recent 
article, Michael Price and Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, "Punitive 
Sentiment as an Anti-Free Rider Psychological Device", Evolution & 
Human Behavior 23,3 [may] (2002):203-231. Perhaps if you spent more 
time reading and less time mouthing off, you would do better.

Herbert Gintis
Emeritus Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts
External Faculty, Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe, NM
Recent papers are posted on my web site.

Get Game Theory Evolving (Princeton, 2000) at

There is no sorrow so great that does not find
its background in joy.
                         Niels Bohr (1938)