This struck me as a very odd passage. It’s from a recent, critical review by Richard Dawkins of E.O. Wilson’s latest book.
“Nobody doubts that some groups survive better than others. What is controversial is the idea that differential group survival drives evolution, as differential individual survival does. The American grey squirrel is driving our native red squirrel to extinction, no doubt because it happens to have certain advantages. That’s differential group survival. But you’d never say of any part of a squirrel that it evolved to promote the welfare of the grey squirrel over the red. Wilson wouldn’t say anything so silly about squirrels. He doesn’t realise that what he does say, if you examine it carefully, is as implausible and as unsupported by evidence.”
That’s not group selection among conspecifics, that’s interspecific competition. And I can easily imagine traits evolving in response to competitive pressure. However, if grey and red squirrels have only recently come into sympatry then this wouldn’t apply and this would be an irrelevant example. It’s curious to see Dawkins make such a silly argument. Reminds me of Jerry Coyne’s misunderstanding of punctuated equilibria.