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Kin Selection Goes to Kindergarten

By kin selection I mean the evolution of characteristics which favour the survival of close relatives of the affected individual, by processes which do not require any discontinuities in the population breeding structure.

John Maynard Smith

A scene from homework time with our family. My wife Nika is sitting with our middle kids, our daughters Naomi, age 8, and Hannah, age 5. Naomi likes to help enrich Hannah’s kindergarten educational experience.

Naomi: “Mom, can we go on the computer and find math homework for kindergarten?”

Mom: “Oh my gosh, you love Hannah so much. You’re always teaching her things.”

Naomi: “I don’t love her! I just don’t want her to be a dumb geek. I want her to be the smartest in the class like me and Levy.

I want her to get lots of candy and treats.”

Cynics might call it kin selection but with melting heart, a parent calls it genuine love. Until Naomi continues: “That way, she can share it” — that is, the candy and treats as a reward for good work in class — “with me.”

David Klinghoffer

Senior Fellow and Editor, Evolution News
David Klinghoffer is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute and the editor of Evolution News & Science Today, the daily voice of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, reporting on intelligent design, evolution, and the intersection of science and culture. Klinghoffer is also the author of six books, a former senior editor and literary editor at National Review magazine, and has written for the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Seattle Times, Commentary, and other publications. Born in Santa Monica, California, he graduated from Brown University in 1987 with an A.B. magna cum laude in comparative literature and religious studies. David lives near Seattle, Washington, with his wife and children.

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__k-reviewclimate changeevolutionglobal warmingJohn Maynard Smithkin selectionwhite males