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Genetic similarity theory

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Genetic similarity theory, as proposed by J. Philippe Rushton, is obtensibly a model for understanding a diverse list of behavioral and social phenomena, including positive assortive mating, friendship, altruism, and ethnocentrism/racism. Rushton believes it to be a simple extension of kin selection to broader groups. Essentially, "if a gene can better ensure its own survival by acting so as to bring about the reproduction of family members with whom it shares copies, then it can also do so by benefiting any organism in which copies of itself are to be found." But "rather than merely protecting kin at the expense of strangers," he says, "if organisms could identify genetically similar organisms, they could exhibit altruism toward these "strangers" as well as toward kin." (Rushton 2000, pg. 74) It follows, he claims, that "two individuals within an ethnic group will, on average, be more similar to each other genetically than two individuals from different ethnic groups. According to genetic similarity theory, people can be expected to favor their own group over others." (Rushton 2000, pg. 85)

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