The Selfish Gene
Author: Richard Dawkins
•“Genes cannot be selfish or unselfish, any more than atoms can be jealous, elephants abstract or biscuits teleological. This should not need mentioning, but Richard Dawkins's book The Selfish Gene has succeeded in confusing a number of people about it” (Midgley). •There are many things to disagree with in the book, depending on one’s viewpoint. Some people may interpret the term “selfish gene” in a
literal way, believing that Dawkins
thinks that genes are actually selfish.
•Richard Dawkins is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist, and author. •1941
•His other books include:
- “he conveys his opinion that evolution is correct without question” (Miletic). #3: Philosophical
-Strongly believes in Science proving evolution
-Education in biology
Doctorate in Philosophy, Master of Arts
-Evolutionary biologist, affects writing
¡People survive by natural selfishness, because their genes compete to survive. •Evolution
•The Selfish Gene is a nonfictional book where Dawkins discusses his opinion on natural selection and evolution. He believes that “survival machines” survive due to their genes and their strive to advance numerically in the gene pool.
•Ch 1- “Today the theory of evolution is about as much open to doubt as the theory that the earth goes round the sun, but the full implications of Darwin’s revolution have yet to be widely realized” (Dawkins 1). ¡Evolution is fact
•Ch 2- “ Evolution is something that happens, willy-nilly, in spite of all the efforts of the replicators (and nowadays of the genes) to prevent it happening” (Dawkins 18). ¡Evolution is unstoppable
•Ch 3- “…it means that genes are at least partly responsible for their own...
The book The SelfishGene is about the acts of species and how they can affect what the next generations may act more like. Animals that act altruistically and sacrifice themselves for their own can’t pass on their behaviors. Animals that act selfishly and continue living can pass on their selfish acts. Our genes can tell us to act selfishly; we don’t need to obey though. A gene is defined as a part of a chromosome, the size undefined, in this book. It is described how life might have come along. There were atoms that kept combining with other atoms to create molecules called The Replicators. The replicators would, as the name states, replicate multiple times with possible mistakes and create new things eventually.
The book focuses on selfishness being passed on through the gene and individual animal level rather than the group level. A whole gene is usually not passed down through generations. A miniscule part of a gene/chromosome can be passed down through many generations. The smaller the gene, the more likely it is to passed through many generations. The gene is not exactly a physical piece of DNA, but rather a primeval soup that has replicas all around the world.
In natural selection the fittest survive, and that is usually those who are selfish and don’t sacrifice for the good of the group, however...
...Evaluation of Evolutionary Theory of Altruism And The Role Of Genes-A Modern View
Evolutionary theory holds that organisms with the strongest genes for survival and reproduction do, in fact, survive and reproduce most successfully. They thus multiply their genes most widely, spreading the advantageous genes through whole populations. Ceaseless repetitions of the process can gradually transform species into totally new ones. Such a world seems to have no place for self-sacrificing types, who presumably couldn’t spread their genes very far. Several competing theories attempt to solve the puzzle. One is that groups with cooperative members out compete groups with selfish ones, and thus spread their niceness genes, in a scaled-up version of the process by which genetically favored individuals trump other individuals. Variants of this notion have gained popularity in the past decade, although it fell from favor earlier, as it has some trouble explaining how altruism got a foothold in the first place. The origin of altruism and cooperation is an enigma because evolutionary theory seems to predict such behavior should be rare or nonexistent. Yet some forms of altruism, conscious or not, are widely documented in creatures as humble as insects and bacteria. Evolutionary theory attempts to explain the evolution of aiding others in two general ways: 1. It argues that...
...Dawkins, in his SelfishGene theory, pure altruism does not exist. This theory all boils down to expanding and maximizing inclusive fitness. The term selfish does not imply that there is any motives or will to act that way but can be accurately described in that manner. In this theory the body of every living creature, from an amoeba to a human to a tree, is used as a vehicle by genes to help reproduce that genes trait throughout generations. All these genes behave selfishly to achieve reproduction and pass down their traits, even when seemingly acting altruistic. That is why my beliefs coincide with Dawkins’. In the case of a Vampire bat, the sharing of a large blood meal may seem like “pure” altruism, but in fact, it is not. Vampire bats can only survive up to 60 hours before losing most of their body weight and end up dying from starvation. When Bat A has a large meal, and shares with a starving Bat B, it actually benefits Bat A because if Bat A ends up without a meal, Bat B will help Bat A survive. This is the case with most, if not all, living creatures. Acts of altruism within humans is approached with a similar fashion. What is the ulterior motive within the act? The answer is survival. In Maia Szalavitz article titled Is Human Nature Fundamentally Selfish or Altruistic, she states that “humans could not have survived in nature without the charity and social...
...Why do people act upon their selfish desires when it will negatively affect others?
When people want something they justify that it is their right to have it and therefore can do what it takes to get it. This is a fact that is shown in the play of Macbeth many times and often explains the horrible actions of some of the characters. He says: “If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me without my stir.” This shows that he now knows of his potential to be king which means that he will do whatever it takes to become king. He believes that it is now his right to take that position and therefore has to kill King Duncan to get it. You can also see this in the way lady Macbeth thinks. Once she hears of Macbeth’s meeting with the witches she automatically thinks of how they will get it and can only see all the good things that they could have and doesn’t think of any of the consequences. Selfish desires get the best of us and we don’t see the consequences as a reason to not try to get what we want.
We wrote the song from Macbeth’s point of view, however the chorus is sung by the citizens. We started the song with Macbeth saying how badly he wanted to be king and how he could see himself as a ruler, he then says “a different murder every night” because even though at the beginning Macbeth’s intentions weren’t to kill someone every day, but ended up killing people constantly. We then end the verse with “Scotland better prepare, for when I...
...My Genes made me do it! Consider the Genetic Influences on Criminal Behaviour.
My Genes made me do it! Consider the Genetic Influences on Criminal Behaviour.
A gene is a sequence on DNA that has a specific region on the chromosome, which determines a particular characteristic in an organism. For many years it has been thought that there are specific genes responsible for certain behaviour and so there is agene for criminal behaviour. In the first half of the twentieth century psychologists studied the heritability differences of people and had an aim to improve the gene pool within humans (Kevles, 1985; Duster, 1990 & Paul 1995). There research did not lead to much good for the human race but rather restrictive immigration policies and sterilisation laws in western countries. Also, Nazi Germany who always had an idea of ‘improving’ humanity had mass sterilisation and euthanasia within their country. Following World War two the study of genes improved compared to past years, techniques came available which could isolate and manipulate genetic material. To this day these techniques are being used to assess patterns of inheritance. Although it is not certain which genes cause criminal behaviour there are ongoing studies which may provide the answers. In recent years research has concentrated on the genetic influences on criminal behaviour, the...
...The Future Evolution of Human: Gene Splicing
Gene Splicing: Survival of the Fittest
Long ago stories, legends, and myths were created describing humans who were infused with the body parts of animal. Creatures such as mermaids, centaurs, and Satyrs were placed into our minds and we could only imagine what it would be like to meet these creatures. They became so numerous that they were given a category, Anthropomorphism. Over time and with our knowledge of science increasing, body parts that may have been considered to be part of Anthropomorphism were explainable. Webbed hands and feet, humans being born with a tail; and even being born with an extra appendage like an extra toe or finger are no longer a disfiguring ailment. But what if Anthropomorphism wasn’t just a myth? What if they were a new stage in human evolution? Scientists in many fields have hypothesized that humanity like the dinosaur will eventually die out, so what will it take for humanity to survive? Dr Joseph Alter, a Professor of Anthropology, believes that with the biotechnology available today, we could see human being born with animal DNA. This new breed could be stronger, faster, and immune to diseases that regular humans would not be able to survive. In his article, The Once and Future “Apeman”, Chimeras, Human Evolution, and Disciplinary Coherence, Dr. Alter states that “It helps us translate the obvious, that our kinship to animals is closer and more intimate than we...
...Hox Genes | November 15
| Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy |
Homeotic complex (Hox) genes are defined as a group of related genes that specify the anterior-posterior axis and segment identity of metazoan organisms during early embryonic development. These are situated very close to one another on the chromosome in groups of clusters. The orders of these genes located on the chromosomes are the same as the expression of the genes in the development of an embryo, whereas the first gene is expressed in the anterior end of the developing organism. These groups of genes are short sections of DNA that occur in clusters called homeoboxes. A homeobox contains 180 nucleotides that code for a protein domain known as the homeodomain. Hox genes produce protein products belonging to a class known as transcription factors. Transcription factors are capable of binding to DNA, in which they regulate the transcription of genes. This homeobox sequence codes for a 61 amino acid helix-turn-helix protein, resulting in the homeodomain. The homeodomain acts as a switch that turns the gene transcription on and off by binding to specific sequence enhancers of a gene that either activates of represses the gene. These same HOX proteins can act as an enhancer for one gene and a repressor for another. Hox...
Genes and intelligence and evaluation of research
Twin studies, strength and limitations
Family studies, strength and limitations
Adoption studies, strength and limitations.
Same genotype for MZ twins
Minnesota twin study: longitudinal, large sample, cross-cultural, different age groups
Brought up in different environments (for the most part)
Living together- influencing each other
Treated more similar by others
How different have the environments been
Samples are more representative
Environment = easier to measure/control
Easier to find participants (cheaper)
Shared- unshared environment
How similar is the shared environment?
Not similar genes
Families with both biological and adopted children give a lot of valuable data
Socio-economic similarities between adoptive parents(middle class families)
Representative sample size?
Age of children when being adopted?
Treated equally with biological children?
99.9% of our genes are shared with all other humans
biologically based mechanisms.
a change over time in the frequency with which particular genes- and the characteristics they produce= occur within an inbreeding population.
Random events and...