The ZMan wrote an interesting blog on the conflict between Cofnas and me. My comment:
I completely agree that Cofnas is a sophist who cares nothing for the truth and keeps making the same arguments while ignoring my counterarguments. But re group selection: My perspective is cultural group selection which is entirely in the mainstream of evolutionary thinking these days. It’s not important to get into how it works genetically. From my review of Joseph Henrich’s The WEIRDest People in the World:
Without mentioning cultural group selection, Henrich describes social norms as “arising directly from cultural learning and social interaction, that is via cultural evolution” (p. 69). Within the group, reputation is important; people with a bad reputation may be penalized, exiled, or even murdered — essentially acknowledging that human groups become, like a military unit, vehicles of selection because they are able to police group membership by expelling cheaters who accept the benefits of group membership without paying the costs. Groups with better norms, especially the ability to inculcate high levels of intragroup dependence and cooperation, are able to prosper by growing faster, and this has genetic consequences. “Wherever we look, from the Arctic to Australia, hunter-gatherer populations compete, and those with the best combinations of institutions and technologies expand and gradually replace or assimilate those with less effective cultural packages”; e.g., the Inuit replaced the “fragmented and isolated communities that had lived there for millennia” (p. 80). The relevance to the expansion of the West after 1500 is obvious.
This is my approach to Judaism, as presented in my first book, A People that Shall Dwell Alone: Judaism as a Group Evolutionary Strategy: The culture of ethnic separation, endogamy, dietary restrictions, promoting marriages of high IQ people, within-group altruism, enforcing penalties for Jews who violated community norms (which likely selected for ethnocentrism), etc. They developed a culture that had evolutionary advantages (at times Jewish population growth has far exceeded non-Jewish, as in 19th-century Russia; but, as the history of anti-Semitism shows, there are serious disadvantages as well). There are obviously genetic payoffs for groups with successful strategies, as Henrich’s comment shows. But Jews are also highly ethnocentric, as you seem to agree.
I rather doubt that my use of the word ‘strategy’ was a trigger. The first book got good reviews. What triggered people is that in The Culture of Critique I discussed conflicts of interest between Jews and Europeans over the construction of culture, Jews as a substantial part of the post-WWII elite in America, Jewish influence on culture, immigration, multiculturalism, etc. Anyone who takes a less than positive view of Jewish influence will certainly trigger a lot of people. And yes, Jewish cultural influence has been an evolutionary (genetic) disaster for European peoples.