The Selfish Gene

April 19, 2017 Biology

The Selfish Gene Author: Richard Dawkins Book Criticism •“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. Loading… Author Biases •Richard Dawkins is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist, and author. 1941 •His other books include: Author’s Biases •#1: Religious -Strong Atheist – “he conveys his opinion that evolution is correct without question” (Miletic). #3: Philosophical -Strongly believes in Science proving evolution •#2: Educational -Education in biology Doctorate in Philosophy, Master of Arts #4: Professional -Evolutionary biologist, affects writing Loading… Central Claims •Natural Selection ?People survive by natural selfishness, because their genes compete to survive. •Evolution ?Darwin’s Theory Book Summary •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. Reflection/Chapter Summaries •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 survival in the future, because their survival depends on the efficiency of the bodies in which they live and which they helped to build” (Dawkins 23-24). ?Efficient genes are necessary to survive •Ch 4- “Selection has favored genes that cooperate with others” (Dawkins 47). ?Cooperative genes are necessary to survive Reflection/Chapter Summaries •Ch 5- “Natural selection favours genes that control their survival machines in such a way that they make the best use of their environment” (Dawkins 66). ?Adaptable genes are favorable Ch 6- “What is the selfish gene?… Just as in the primeval soup, it is all replicas of a particular bit of DNA…” (Dawkins 88). ?Selfish genes are genes that survive through natural selection •Ch 7- “They express a preference for ‘natural’ methods of population limitation, and a natural method is exactly what they are going to get. It is called starvation” (Dawkins 111). ?Unable to survive natural existence, one will not survive natural selection •Ch 8- “Genes are selected for their ability to make the best use of the levers of power at their disposal: they will exploit their power practical opportunities” (Dawkins 137). Genes that make the best use of their surroundings are able to survive •Ch 9 “Of course, while the child bears half her genes, it bears no genes at all from the gullible step-father. Natural selection would severely penalize such gullibility in males…” (Dawkins 147). ?Survival machines want their own genes to be passed on so that their children can adapt and survive Reflection/Chapter Summaries •Ch 10- “A relationship of mutual benefit between members of different species is called mutualism or symbiosis… this kind of fundamental asymmetry can lead to evolutionarily stable strategies of mutual cooperation” (Dawkins 181). Mutualism can benefit survival machines for adaptation •Ch 11- “As in genetic evolution though, the change may be progressive. There is a sense in which modern science is actually better than ancient science” (Dawkins 190). ?More recent science has further proved evolution •Ch 12- “Grudgers came to dominate the population because they passed on more genes to future generations than either Suckers or Cheats” (Dawkins 202). Survival machines that reproduce more, with good genes, are better fit to survive •Ch 13- “The only kind of entity that has to exist in order for life to arise, anywhere in the universe, is the immortal replicator” (Dawkins 266). ?Replication, and the passing on of genes has led to adaptation and evolution Reflection Of Book •Many religious people do not agree with this book because it has points showing how “survival machines” have come to exist and evolve that go against their religious beliefs. •Midgley has pointed out that many people take “selfish genes” as a literal thing.

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Loading… Reflection of Book •We believe that survival machines with better adaptable genes are more likely to survive. •We believe that Dawkins is correct about the theory of evolution being real •We disagree with the metaphor of a specific gene being selfish, whereas in reality, all genes want to survive, but are not actually selfish. This metaphor can confuse people. Visuals/Media Works Cited •Dawkins, Richard. “The God Delusion. ” Amazon. N. p. , n. d. Web. 4 Jun 2012. . •Dawkins, Richard. “The Magic of Reality. ” Amazon.

N. p. , n. d. Web. 4 Jun 2012. http://www. amazon. com/The-Magic-Reality-Whats-Really/dp/1439192812/ref=sr_1_1? s=books=UTF8=1338850948=1-1. •Midgley, Mary. “Gene-juggling. ” Philosophy. 54. 210 (1979): 439-458. Web. 30 May. 2012. http://journals. cambridge. org/action/displayAbstract? fromPage=online=3520652. •Miletic, Greg. “The Selfish Gene. ” Student Excellence in Writing . (2006): n. page. Web. 30 May. 2012. . •Richard Dawkins – The Selfish Gene – Meet the author. Youtube, 2006. Web. 30 May 2012. . .


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