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The selfish gene

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posted on Sep, 23 2005 @ 08:28 AM
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Our genes made use. We animals exist for their preservation and are nothing more than their throwaway survival machines. The world of the selfish gene is one of savage competition, ruthless exploitation, and deceit. But what of the acts of apparent altruism found in nature - the bees who commit suicide when they sting to protect the hive, or the birds who warn the flock of an approaching hawk ? Do they contravene the fundamental law of gene selfishness ? By no means: Dawkins shows that the selfish gene is also the subtle gene. And he holds out the hope that our species - alone on earth - has the power to rebel against the designs of the selfish gene.


What does every one think about Richard Dawkin's selfish gene theory?




posted on Sep, 23 2005 @ 08:38 AM
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could be a good theory..my personal take is that we have an inbuilt ability to survive..call it animal instinct to survive/procreate...it is what we exist for..its in our genes..its the reason we are all here today..IMHO..good theory..could start a good debate


[edit on 23-9-2005 by Heratix]



posted on Sep, 23 2005 @ 05:12 PM
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Originally posted by Heratix
could be a good theory..my personal take is that we have an inbuilt ability to survive..call it animal instinct to survive/procreate...it is what we exist for..its in our genes..its the reason we are all here today..IMHO..good theory..could start a good debate


[edit on 23-9-2005 by Heratix]


Well it's a very scary theory if you really think about it. Sociobiology says living beings are just containers that protect and copy genes. The genes are more important than individuals (that's why ants and bee's for example sacrifice their own lives for the queen,because only she can reproduce).

It's like if a bottle suddenly became aware that his existance is only meant for protecting the liquid inside...



posted on Sep, 23 2005 @ 07:38 PM
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I've never heard of Dawkin, but I have thought about a similar idea before. I was thinking about whether you could make the case that all the actions we take are for purely selfish reasons. (I wasn't thinking about the genetic aspect as Dawkin is, but more the psychological reasons for doing things)

Except for a few extreme cases, like throwing yourself at an armed robber to give your family time to escape, I think that pretty much everything we do has at least some selfish component to it. I don't think that everything we do is purely selfish, but I do think that everything we do is done for partially selfish reasons.

Things like job, school, keeping laws, reproduction; really, just about anything, can be shown to have selfish aspects, even if it is something that is normally considered unselfish. For example, suppose I give money to charity. Am I doing that because I want to help a particular organization? Probably. But I'm probably also thinking about the tax breaks I'm going to get, and how people will think I'm generous and respect me more for it. If I were to volunteer my time at a local hospital, as another example, one of the reasons would probably be that I want to help out the community. But I will also be able to pad up my resume with a good reference, and maybe flirt with the hot nurse on the 5th floor :p.

I guess my point is, how many things do you (or any of us) do that are totally 100% unselfish? I doubt there are very many. For myself, I can't think of any.



posted on Sep, 24 2005 @ 03:49 AM
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i think he uses to many words to explain himself


stick to the facts, don't beat around the bush.

"Dawkins shows that the selfish gene is also the subtle gene. And he holds out the hope that our species - alone on earth - has the power to rebel against the designs of the selfish gene."

lmao riight.

[edit on 24-9-2005 by Aether]



posted on Sep, 24 2005 @ 07:26 PM
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1. Could you like to the place you quoted that from?

2. Yeah.

I've always felt that all of our higher-thought processes, while nice, are simply evolutionary advantages developed and perfected over the years. I think we've reached the point where we've lost sight of that fact, which is why we do so well; life isn't about reproduction, it's about doing something valuable with your life, and that's what let's you reproduce. It's something to be awed.

Selfish geneology is a brilliant idea. Humans are basically hedonistic, and not just economically. We do what pleasures us, we don't do what hurts us. There seem to be a few exceptions, such as the ones DragonsDemesne mentions, but, in the end, those are simply actions based on a deeper desire. We want them to be alive, it's more important to us than our life. Much like the bee. Our higher functions get confused sometimes, because they are complicated, but, in the end, we'll never beat our genetics, no matter how we try.



posted on Sep, 24 2005 @ 07:34 PM
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Any research for a lazy gene?

I would type more but I'm too lazy.



posted on Sep, 25 2005 @ 04:30 PM
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I have had the argument of selfishness many times with various people. What the selfish theory tends to ignore is situations where it doesn't benefit the person acting at all, is a detriment to them, but benefits another person who you do not have a personal relationship with.

Giving ones own life for another human being, a perfect stranger. This happens, and not "Infrequently".

I believe that it is true that selfishness is in our genes... however, I also think that it is humanity's responsibility to be more than just the sum of our parts. If we are merely what our genes say we are, then there is nothing particularly important to existing. I like to exist, and like to think there's a reason for things BEING.

Personal experience tends to hold out for this theory.



posted on Sep, 25 2005 @ 06:27 PM
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if this is true then why do animals in a herd make large gestures to signal the rest of the herd when a predator is found. shouldn't the selfish gene make the animal do as little as possible to stand out and try to get to the center of the pack. instead they basically could be sacrificing themselves for the good of everyone else. i think this behavior does a lot to discredit the theory.



posted on Sep, 27 2005 @ 09:42 AM
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You really need to put more links in there, Vapor. While you did summarize the idea, there's a whole lot more to this than was in the summary.

For instance, "selfish" means "perpetuating the genome." Dawkins addressed a lot of the things brought up by folks in his theory.



posted on Sep, 27 2005 @ 11:44 AM
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Originally posted by DarkSide

Originally posted by Heratix
could be a good theory..my personal take is that we have an inbuilt ability to survive..call it animal instinct to survive/procreate...it is what we exist for..its in our genes..its the reason we are all here today..IMHO..good theory..could start a good debate


[edit on 23-9-2005 by Heratix]


Well it's a very scary theory if you really think about it. Sociobiology says living beings are just containers that protect and copy genes.

Dawkin's selfish gene has nothing to do with sociobiology tho. The selfish gene is merely that genes, as replicators, can act as selected individuals, ie that that which results in an increase in the copies of a gene in the next generation will be favoured, on the level of the gene itself. It will of course be opposed if it has a negative effect on the fitness of the individual organism tho.


Dawkin's is noting that individuals can be thought of as collections of these independant genes that have evolved to work together for their own individual benefit (the 'goal' being to make more copies of themselves). Not that individuals have no real existence.


I see that a lot of people are thinking that dawkin's means that beign selfish is of benefit to people and that that is why peopel are selfish. Its strictly not what he is talking about, he isn't talking about, for example, there being a gene for 'selfishness' that is being spread throughout the population. He is talking about analyzing biology and evolution with the individual gene, a part of the whole genome, as the level of selection, whereas traditionally we think of the organism as the level of selection, the thing that is beign 'naturally selected' and who's fitness is at stake.

Here is a good unofficial website with lots of his papers:
World Of Dawkins
And here is a peice from a newspaper by him that specifically addresses the issue of how human behaviour is what gives man the ability to dominate over his genes, ie why mere possession of a gene doesn't determine man's behaviour:
How we got a head start on our animal natures


Again, i have to really emphasize, he is not saying that there is a gene 'for' selfishness and that that is why there are selfish people, by saying the 'selfish gene' he is talking about considering genes as the individual upon which selection acts.



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