Tahlequah Daily Press

Features

August 8, 2013

New study: Evolution favors teamwork

Some evolutionary biologists may believe selfishness may wane, but local residents find it hard to believe.

TAHLEQUAH —

Selfishness takes many forms: Grabbing the last cookie from the jar, hogging the TV remote, failing to help a spouse with chores – the list goes on and on.
According to a new study by evolutionary biologists at Michigan State University, selfishness may eventually disappear as a personality trait, as evolution favors cooperation.
The scientists used high-powered computing to run hundreds of thousands of “games” to try and determine which wins most in the end: selflessness or selfishness.
Christoph Adami, professor of microbiology and molecular genetics at the university, believes evolution punishes the selfish and mean.
“For a short time, and against a specific set of opponents some selfish organisms may come out ahead,” Adami told the Daily Mail. “But selfishness isn’t evolutionary sustainable.”
Adami explained that evolution involves myriad strategies and ways of “winning” in which communication and cooperation are key in coming out on top. The new study directly conflicts with the widely-held “Zero-Determinant” theory that selfishness will keep evolution ticking over.
Tahlequah First Baptist Church Pastor Buddy Hunt said humans are born selfish, and their only salvation is through Jesus Christ.
“We are born of a sinful nature,” said Hunt. “That we inherit from Adam. Original sin had to do with selfishness; Eve took the fruit to gain knowledge to become more like God. It was her selfishness that caused her to want to do that. Selfishness leads us to want to be in control of our own way, which leads us away from God. Even after being saved, we have the battle between fleshly desires and our faith.”
Hunt firmly believes selfishness is a constant in this world and will not change through evolution.
“Selfishness will exist until Christ returns,” said Hunt. “Until Satan is overthrown completely, selfishness will exist.”
The Daily Press asked its Facebook friends their opinions about the study, and the responses varied. Most agree selfishness is a constant, including Jimmy Lang.

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