What Does It Mean for a Theory to Function as an Accounting Method?

David Sloan Wilson in Evolution For Everyone:

DavidSloanWilson The evolutionary community is as active as an alarmed beehive over the critique of inclusive fitness theory recently published in the journal Nature by Martin Nowak, Corina E. Tarnita, and E.O. Wilson. I do not agree with them in every respect but I'm glad that they have aroused the evolutionary community from its stupor. The general public and majority of evolutionary biologists have a pre-1975 understanding that hasn't even kept pace with modern inclusive fitness theory, not to speak of the debates that will be taking place among the cognoscenti. This is an opportunity for everyone to take stock of the core issues at stake.

It is important to realize that numerous issues are at stake that must be examined one by one. It doesn't help that Richard Dawkins continues to issue boneheaded statements about group selection, as I recount in my previous post. Inclusive fitness theorists should be joining me in pointing out the errors of these statements, just as I intend to join them in pointing out some errors in the Nowak et al. critique.

In this post I want to focus on a statement that Nowak et al. make in the caption to figure 3 that “inclusive fitness theory…is an alternative accounting method, but one that works only in a very limited domain.”

What does it mean for a theory to function as an accounting method?

More here.