The Selfish Gene

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Nin', Sep 30, 2008.

  1. Nin' Registered Member

    Messages:
    90
    I was wondering if anyone had some thoughts to share about this book?

    I'm currently in the process of reading it and only have finished the first couple (1 & 2) of chapters. I get the general idea though. We are simply 'vehicles' or 'survival machines' made for our genes. We are programmed for the purpose of increasing our survival chances may that be through selfish acts or altruistic acts, which in the end are simply selfishness in disguise.

    So far it's a rather bleak outlook...

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Messages:
    30,353
    It's not that we are programmed. Our genes are programmed. But, if you read to the end, you'll see that Dawkins is very careful to make the point that we are not our genes. Even if our genes are "selfish", that in no way means that we, as people, should be or must be selfish.
     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. Gustav Banned Banned

    Messages:
    12,575
    /eek

    i take it you concur with dawkin's point?

    /excited
     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Messages:
    30,353
    Yes.
     
  8. Gustav Banned Banned

    Messages:
    12,575
    hmm
    i have room to maneuver?
    to what degree?
    obviously i cannot say no to the second kidney, ja?
     
  9. sniffy Banned Banned

    Messages:
    2,945
    I heard Dawkins regretted calling it the 'selfish' gene as the dummies have misintepreted it.
     
  10. Michael 歌舞伎 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    20,285
    I read that book and a few others. Not bad for their time.

    If I remember correctly each gene is also competing with the other genes in the body all trying to get a copy of themselves made.
     
  11. Gustav Banned Banned

    Messages:
    12,575

    oh?
    whats the new and improved version?
     
  12. Gustav Banned Banned

    Messages:
    12,575

    i love you

    whats his take?
    whats ours?
     
  13. Gustav Banned Banned

    Messages:
    12,575
    c'mon, y'all!
    lets pin the tail on the woo woos
     
  14. sniffy Banned Banned

    Messages:
    2,945
    The gene is driven to replicate; the human to survive. Therefore the gene is selfish but the human not necessarily so. Indeed humans have learned to survive by co-operating with other humans beyond the familial;not entirely selfless but nor is it rampantly self interested.

    Check the current world population figures....
     
  15. Gustav Banned Banned

    Messages:
    12,575
    i love you

    i see a trend of negative birthrates
     
  16. sniffy Banned Banned

    Messages:
    2,945
    Only in certain populations. Perhaps there is such a thing as too successful.
     
  17. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,515
    What's inaccurate about saying we're programmed? I think that's more accurate to say than to say our genes are programmed. Our genes are the "programmers," and we are the robots carrying out their "will," granted we have minds and we are not complete slaves to our genes, e.g. birth control, risking our lives for strangers, etc. I think we're very obviously programmed.

    That said, I think that's the most important book I've ever read. Dawkins says it's his least favorite of his books, mainly because people so badly misunderstand it and he blames himself for their bad reading comprehension. It's actually very clear and hard to misconstrue what he means if you're unbiased and a reasonably clear thinker.

    Basically for me, the book confirmed what I expected all along: that the fundamental units of the world are necessarily selfish, and it's nothing to take personally. It's a really philosophical book. I really like how he weaves all things together, from exploitive cuckoos, to the altruistic hymenoptera to the mathematics of successful game theories and how the Prisoner's Dilemma is relevant to everything. It really gets to the crux of things, and explains an incredible amount of the stuff we see in our everyday world, even to huge greedy corporations and corruption. It's nothing to take personally. It's all comes out of the mathematics.
     
  18. sniffy Banned Banned

    Messages:
    2,945
    The fundamental units of life do not actually exhibit 'selfishness' as this is a human value judgement. Dawkins used 'selfish gene' as a metaphor that has since been misunderstood and misrepresented. Genes replicate; organisms reproduce.

    Greedy corporations and corruption reproduce greed not healthy humans.
     
  19. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,515
    My point is that things that survive do so because they have self-preservation mechanisms. Genes replicate to preserve their pattern. If they didn't, they wouldn't exist for us to observe. How does that not conform to this definition of selfish:

    ?

    Corporations and businesses that are friendly and not particularly self-preserving will die due to natural competition with other more aggressively self-preserving (selfish) corporations.

    It's funny, because like how altruism in the natural kingdom is really fundamentally selfish, altruism in corporations is also fundamentally selfish. If corporations do not appear to be good, they will not receive investments. If Microsoft didn't donate and do a lot of good things, it would seem like a total asshole firm due to the other shady things it's done. What's really important for corporations is to appear to be ethical and unselfish, but to actually be aggressively selfish at the same time. That's true in the animal kingdom. It would very advantageous to a bat to appear to be altruistic by other bats, without actually being altruistic. That way it could get food from others without having to give up any of its own food. But other bats usually have adept mechanisms and memory to prevent that sort of exploitation.
     
  20. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    72,822
    Its just anthropomorphism on another scale. The most replete societies die out.
     
  21. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,515
    Selfish doesn't just apply to humans. That's a very humancentric way of seeing things.
     
  22. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    72,822
    Orly? Can you describe to me the concept "self-ish"?
     
  23. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,515
    Consult a dictionary.

     

Share This Page