He explains the inherent drive we all posses for survival and replication as a result of the ‘spark of life’ given to us through our genetics. So, it’s of evolutionary importance to pursue important ideas and also “plant” them in other people’s heads.

The proven best way in evolutionary biology, as in most of science, is to define a problem arising during empirical research, then select or devise the theory that is needed to solve it.

To sum up, the book covers different aspects of the human evolution including physical attributes, genes, inheritance, what is the human’s role among other living creatures, our ancestors, etc. Find summaries for every chapter, including a The Selfish Gene Chapter Summary Chart to help you understand the book. Rather, genes provide instructions for building embryos, like “build an embryo that will have long legs” (this helps organisms run faster and escape from predators), or “build an embryo that will chirp when there’s food nearby” (this benefits a chick’s nearby genetic relatives).

In his “Preface to the Second Edition” of The Selfish Gene, Dawkins says he is writing for three kinds of people: the general reader (for whom he has avoided technical language), the scientific expert (who might see something in his story that they perhaps overlooked in their more technical way of looking at things), and the student (who might find the book helpful in breaking down technical theories into everyday language). It has sold over a million copies, and has been translated into more than 25 languages. But while genes are called selfish numerous times in the book, the point the author is trying to communicate with the reader is against the controversial title – collaboration and altruism is key to evolution and survival.

Symbols & Motifs. Essay Topics. Genes are called selfish for a simple reason – they manipulate our behavior to make sure they will survive. Thompson goes on to suggest that the cell-environment interrelationship has much to do with reproduction and inheritance, and a focus on the gene as a form of "information [that] passes through bodies and affects them, but is not affected by them on its way through"[52] is tantamount to adoption of a form of material-informational dualism that has no explanatory value and no scientific basis. All the programmer can do is to set up the computer beforehand in the best way possible.

The primeval soup was not capable of supporting an infinite number of replicator molecules. Thompson quotes Sarkar:[47].

For example, Andrew Brown has written:[10], Donald Symons also finds it inappropriate to use anthropomorphism in conveying scientific meaning in general, and particularly for the present instance. Instead, culture can be seen as a spin-off, separate from biology, created by humans, that relies on the same evolutionary principles.

They are programing bodies, manipulating behavior, and embedding certain desires in brains to ensure that human “machines” will help them move forward in time. (p. 61), Some authors consider facets of this debate between Dawkins and his critics about the level of selection to be blather:[37], Other authors say Dawkins has failed to make some critical distinctions, in particular, the difference between group selection for group advantage and group selection conveying individual advantage. In the soup, some replicators were more successful than others at copying and thus becoming more ‘successful’ and abundant. He’s also been telling a story about replicators. He criticises earlier approaches to social evolution, saying: "...unwarranted faith in the central role of kinship in social evolution has led to the reversal of the usual order in which biological research is conducted. It provides a superficially plausible answer to deep and troubling questions about existence. When you plant a fertile meme in my mind you literally parasitize my brain, turning it into a vehicle for the meme’s propagation in just the way that a virus may parasitize the genetic mechanism of a host cell.” Richard Dawkins. In fact, Dawkins has proposed that it is at the level of the extended phenotype:[9][16]. Like the a human programming a chess program, our genes have built a brain, all-be-it with a time lag. He discusses ‘gene selection theory’ or ‘selfish gene theory’ and how through adaptive evolution only the toughest and most adaptable genes can survive, building ever slightly changing organisms in the process. Dawkins argues qualitatively that the lottery for the gene is based upon a very long and broad record of events, and group advantages are usually too specific, too brief, and too fortuitous to change the gene lottery. Another example is the existence of segregation distorter genes that are detrimental to their host, but nonetheless propagate themselves at its expense. While surviving and replicating is probably your most important goal, it’s very basic for our subtle brains. If one decides to do so, he will be free, but his partner will remain in prison for at least 5 years. Humans are special. By following this simple strategy, genes secure their spot in the gene pool.

The Selfish Gene Summary “We are survival machines – robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes.” – The Selfish Gene In the beginning there was simplicity. However, the claim is made that if the organism becomes intelligent enough to understand its own interests, as distinct from those of its genes, there can be true conflict. His contention is that the genes that are passed on are the ones whose evolutionary consequences serve their own implicit interest (to continue the anthropomorphism) in being replicated, not necessarily those of the organism.

He then introduces the idea of the evolutionarily stable strategy, and uses it to explain why alternative competitive strategies like bullying and retaliating exist.

As a result, populations will tend towards an evolutionarily stable strategy. Some genes affect behaviors in other organism’s bodies (this happens when a parasite’s genes manipulate the body of its host).

In The Selfish Gene, the author looks at life through the eyes of our genes. Dawkins begins by discussing the altruism that people display, indicating that he will argue it is explained by gene selfishness, and attacking group selection as an explanation.

This means that organisms exist because they keep genes alive, as copies of themselves, from generation to generation.



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