well, one needs to be exacting in one's language in disputations such as these, else language and semantics present obstacles to understanding. so, we agree that genes are not manipulating the individual of which they are components. Since genes are not manipulating the individual, then the individual is acting in its own best interest given the evolution of its phenotype by natural selection. then, i guess i'm not clear on why you disagree? I see now where you are confused. An individual is most certainly NOT merely a collection of their genes or their gene products. There are emergent qualities of an individual. BigBlueHead alluded to this in an earlier post but you will need to address it. Genes and gene products interact with other genes and gene products in different ways and this is reflected in the phenotype (see epistatic and pleiotropic effects). This depends on the environment: the physical, ecological and genetic environment in which the individual finds itself. S.J. Gould wrote about this in his book, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, in the section entitled, "Attempts to Assign Agency to Genes by Denying Emergent Properties to Organisms," pp.627-628. The argument is delivered as follows; gene-selectionists believe that genes propagate via selection on organisms as interactors with the environment because "each gene stands as an optimal product and that bodies, as carriers, impose no consequences on genes." The view that the body is "a passive aggregate of genes," and selection on a body is a pathway for selection on all genes considered individually. this can only be true if interactions with other genes, or the environment, are additive. Any nonlinearity leads to emergent properties. Thus, when selection works on these emergent properties, then causal reduction to individul genes becomes impossible. I have to go to bed. I'll finish this tomorrow.