Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Is Dodging the Issue Cheating?

Evolutionary biologists talk a lot about cheating, but are unclear about the mechanics and utility of what they presume is an evolutionary trait or strategy. I am presumptuous enough to have been working on an essay about the mechanics involved, but not confident enough to publish any of it at this time.
However, I did recently comment on an upcoming article by David Sloan at the Huffington Post as follows:
"I predict you are going to discuss {George C} Williams' tentative observation that "no matter what your opponent does, you do better by cheating." Which, in light of the fact that everyone cheats to some extent, only means that the winner needs on average to be the better cheater.
Cheaters can also cooperatively out-cheat a group of less skillful cheaters. And then one needs to consider the shared purpose of each group in relation to the rewards involved and the short term versus long term consequences expected. Williams didn't go much into these aspects of what "better" entails, especially as it applies to humans and their like."

So stay tuned for further developments or lack thereof.