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The burden of proof for a cultural group selection account

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 March 2016

Pat Barclay
Department of Psychology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.
Daniel Brian Krupp
Program in Evolution and Governance, One Earth Future, Broomfield, CO 80021. dbkrupp@saltlab.org Department of Psychology, Queen's University, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6, Canada.


Richerson et al. establish cultural group selection as a plausible force in human social evolution. However, they do not demonstrate its causal precedence for any trait, let alone its “essentialness.” To do so, they must show that a particular group trait was caused by cultural transmission, and directly caused differences in group fitness.

Open Peer Commentary
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016 

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