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The Selfish Gene Theory

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It makes sense to me that emotions are influenced (if not controlled completely) by our genes (in which all actions of any organism seem to find their roots). The emotions might simply be the genes' way of getting us to act for its survival. Makes everything seem quite superficial, really (and I suppose it is, if you give it enough thought).

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In the chapter, Extended Phenotype, of his book, it says whether or not agents in a body would cooperate as part of the body or exploit as parasites, depends on if the way the agents replicate themselves is through sexual intercourse and would be passed down with sperms and eggs to next generation.

 

In the case of HIV/AIDS, just thinking, actually it could be passed on by sexual intercourse as well as from mother to child. So, as explained in that chapter, in theory, AIDS should act almost as part of the body, interests/benefits at one with the body it resides in. But in fact it can be lethal if the body does not get proper lifetime treatment.

 

This case came into my mind when studying issues in HIV/AIDS after having read that book. Anyone has any idea why the conflicts here in the theory?

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I thought that the ideas behind or in this theory should help out many with the question that is on all or at least most minds, at least to fill in the general background and allow for a more informed and educational debates on Evolution.

 

It's called the Selfish Gene Theory.

 

Here's a brief rundown on it(plus many other goodness):

 

Selfish Gene Theory

 

For more information, great links, book reviews, etc, this is a very good site:

Especially for those who are studying Evolution and or Physical(aka Biological) Anthropology, that site has a wealth of info, or at the very least it can set one on the right path to a great book, etc.

 

World of Richard Dawkins

 

Finally this is a must read, after all , it's what started the Scientific Revolution(Evolution). I still prefer a hardcopy, but someone was nice enough to make it into a digicopy.

 

The Origin Of Species - by C. Darwin

 

 

ITS ALL BUT THE OPPOSITE OF SELFISH RICH-TARD

 

 

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It makes sense to me that emotions are influenced (if not controlled completely) by our genes (in which all actions of any organism seem to find their roots). The emotions might simply be the genes' way of getting us to act for its survival. Makes everything seem quite superficial, really (and I suppose it is, if you give it enough thought).

 

 

Emotions can be seen as being genetically controlled as they are nothing more than hyper/hypo activity in certain parts of the brain based upon the action of hormones and electrical signals, the pathways of which are laid down by the genetic code. But recent evidence suggests that nurture also plays a large role in forming the brain with regards to how emotions are processed (felt) and initiated. So I'm guessing about half can be put down to your genetic information.

 

This would have had advantages several thousand years ago when we had a greater need for the specific responses the emotions initiate.

 

See bear -> signal from eyes to brain

Brain initiates -> "Oh sh*t a bear" response

Cortisol and epinephrine flood the system -> Body is ready to run far away

 

See rival tribe taking your women -> signal from eyes and ears to brain

Brain initiates -> "That bugger's taking my mate" response

Coritsol, epinephrine, oxytocin and a few others I'm guessing flood your system -> You run after him to give him a beating

 

Of course, since then our environment has changed, now we have bears in zoos and prostitutes, so you get these little sub-classifications, like jealousy and irritation etc etc.

 

 

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how does one evolve to change colors and blend into the environment? I want that one. :(

 

I live in the desert so I blend in perfectly with my environment. :)

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It is also strange that the most advanced cultures restrain the number of childern. The selfish gene theory would suggests being poor and destitude countries are at a higher level of genetic expression.

 

But, what if "so what"? "So what" to Ayn Rand logic. Survival of the fittest is not some magical force which things "have" or even have to want to abide by. It's just a consequence of how the environment happens to work right now, which means it can be changed if the environment changes.

Edited by questionposter

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is there a theme anywhere in this forum about religion ??

 

You should email an admin. I thought I saw an update that said you can debate religion somewhere, but I can't find it.

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I can't be bothered reading all these posts.

 

To selfish gene theory: rename it because 'selfish' is a derogatory word in laymens eyes.

 

To selfish gene theory: group selection also plays a part. Evolution and occams razor need a blunt edege (if u don't get the metaphor talk to my lawyer).

 

Now I'm thinking of developing a "shellfish" gene theory where octopi rule the Earth (joke)

 

:P Merry Xmas, I'm not Christian, but I hope this is a funny present for u.

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Group selection has been shown to be formally equivalent to kin selection. Hence, with the exception of a few remaining proponents, group selection has been essentially abandoned. And the selfish gene explanation fits nicely under the umbrella of the inclusive fitness theory, which is the basis model to explain altruistic behavior.

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I think I understand "selfish gene theory" and I definitely understand evolution in general, but what about when people are willing to give up their life because they know it will save other people or even for concepts like the truth or liberty, even if they won't really be recognized? And what about free-will? Can't you do things because you freely want to and not because of a mechanism? Sure, a mechanism can cause the release of a chemical which has a bunch of complex stuff going on and causes a feeling of compulsion to do something, but despite all that work, you can just ignore it and do whatever some entity that is your consciousness wants to do.

Edited by questionposter

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Actually, the scientific revolution started roughly around 1550.

That's right. It started with "The Enlightenment" and "The Age of Reason." They began when the Reformation gradually freed people from the confines of the single, Catholic, way of thinking.

 

I think I understand "selfish gene theory" and I definitely understand evolution in general, but what about when people are willing to give up their life because they know it will save other people or even for concepts like the truth or liberty, even if they won't really be recognized? And what about free-will? Can't you do things because you freely want to and not because of a mechanism? Sure, a mechanism can cause the release of a chemical which has a bunch of complex stuff going on and causes a feeling of compulsion to do something, but despite all that work, you can just ignore it and do whatever some entity that is your consciousness wants to do.

Great questions? The "selfish gene" theory may well have some value in dealing with lone organisms, but it is hopeless in answering the questions you raised. The mechanism involved in GROUP organisms (such as we are) is clear over Gould, Dawkins and the other's heads.

 

Any animal behavioralist will tell you that group animals such as we (who evolved in hunting/gathering size groups roughly forty people) are innately motivated in a social way that became genetic. In other words, we have social instincts.

 

In us and most other mammal groups, the males compete for status and the winner, the Alpha male impregnates more females as reward for leading the defense of the group and its territory, keeping down the juvenile males (keeping order!), and setting where, when and how to hunt. They lead the "war party" (sports team?) and hunting pack. The females are compansionate and raise the children and gather (shop?) All are motivated to care for the rest of the group to gain status. This is instinctive in all group mammals. Every member benefits by caring for the others at the expense of, if necessary, all outsiders.

 

In other words, all in an effective group benefit. Groups with members that are socially weak do not survive. Chimps have been seen attacking another, weaker group and killing every member in order to take the other group's territory. (We call it colonialism).

 

In "The Last Civilization," I show how we use ideology to expand the size of our groups so that we still function as effectively and efficiently in them as in the hunting/gathering size groups we were limited to before the development of language and speech. I also show how natural selection occurs between these expanded groups or "societies."

 

We have social genes, not selfish ones!

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Great questions? The "selfish gene" theory may well have some value in dealing with lone organisms, but it is hopeless in answering the questions you raised. The mechanism involved in GROUP organisms (such as we are) is clear over Gould, Dawkins and the other's heads.

And you assert this of Gould, Dawkins, and others, why exactly? Would you care to give some examples of what they suggest and how "The mechanism involved in GROUP organisms" is actually "over their heads" ?

 

Any animal behavioralist will tell you that group animals such as we (who evolved in hunting/gathering size groups roughly forty people) are innately motivated in a social way that became genetic. In other words, we have social instincts.

Could the fact that we have social instincts then not be explained because it benefits our selfish genes in that they are better able to copy themselves?

 

In us and most other mammal groups, the males compete for status and the winner, the Alpha male impregnates more females as reward for leading the defense of the group and its territory, keeping down the juvenile males (keeping order!), and setting where, when and how to hunt. They lead the "war party" (sports team?) and hunting pack. The females are compansionate and raise the children and gather (shop?) All are motivated to care for the rest of the group to gain status. This is instinctive in all group mammals. Every member benefits by caring for the others at the expense of, if necessary, all outsiders.

And, unless you are misrepresenting or simply misunderstanding the selfish gene explaining this does nothing to show how the theory cannot explain this. Are you simply mistaking the word selfis in the theory to apply to individuals or groups of individuals rather than the genes themselves? Common mistake but completely in error.

 

In other words, all in an effective group benefit. Groups with members that are socially weak do not survive. Chimps have been seen attacking another, weaker group and killing every member in order to take the other group's territory. (We call it colonialism).

Genes that promote behaviours in groups that survive better, whether it be detrimental to out-groups or not will tend to get passed on, that’s what selfish gene theory actually explains.

 

In "The Last Civilization," I show how we use ideology to expand the size of our groups so that we still function as effectively and efficiently in them as in the hunting/gathering size groups we were limited to before the development of language and speech. I also show how natural selection occurs between these expanded groups or "societies."

No doubt you do explain this and there may even be some truth to it. However it does nothing to promote your assertion that “The "selfish gene" theory may well have some value in dealing with lone organisms, but it is hopeless in answering the questions you raised. The mechanism involved in GROUP organisms “.

 

We have social genes, not selfish ones!

No, we have selfish genes which can promote social behaviour and promote groups of organisms that contain these genes at the expense of other groups of organisms that do not have these genes. That is simply how evolution operates. Terming it selfish genes is just a metaphorical way of explaining this process. This is all explained in Richard Dawkins’ book if you had read it rather than just the title you would understand this. You could call the theory the co-operative gene, or the social gene and it would not change what the theory actually explains.

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Genes that promote behaviours in groups that survive better, whether it be detrimental to out-groups or not will tend to get passed on, that's what selfish gene theory actually explains.

 

You could call the theory the co-operative gene, or the social gene and it would not change what the theory actually explains.

Thanks. I was just going by the title as you suggest. I would say the hippish "selfish gene" title is rather appropriate. To me its just natural selecton, biological and group/social.

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Thanks. I was just going by the title as you suggest. I would say the hippish "selfish gene" title is rather appropriate. To me its just natural selecton, biological and group/social.

That's OK, even the author, Richard Dawkins, conceded that the title does often get misconstrued.

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Great questions? The "selfish gene" theory may well have some value in dealing with lone organisms, but it is hopeless in answering the questions you raised. The mechanism involved in GROUP organisms (such as we are) is clear over Gould, Dawkins and the other's heads.

 

Any animal behavioralist will tell you that group animals such as we (who evolved in hunting/gathering size groups roughly forty people) are innately motivated in a social way that became genetic. In other words, we have social instincts.

 

In us and most other mammal groups, the males compete for status and the winner, the Alpha male impregnates more females as reward for leading the defense of the group and its territory, keeping down the juvenile males (keeping order!), and setting where, when and how to hunt. They lead the "war party" (sports team?) and hunting pack. The females are compansionate and raise the children and gather (shop?) All are motivated to care for the rest of the group to gain status. This is instinctive in all group mammals. Every member benefits by caring for the others at the expense of, if necessary, all outsiders.

 

In other words, all in an effective group benefit. Groups with members that are socially weak do not survive. Chimps have been seen attacking another, weaker group and killing every member in order to take the other group's territory. (We call it colonialism).

 

In "The Last Civilization," I show how we use ideology to expand the size of our groups so that we still function as effectively and efficiently in them as in the hunting/gathering size groups we were limited to before the development of language and speech. I also show how natural selection occurs between these expanded groups or "societies."

 

We have social genes, not selfish ones!

 

I'm not saying selfishness doesn't exist, at this point individuals need both in some amounts to survive or at least reproduce, but I think the same questions can be applied to the group mechanisms. Like what about in a war? People give up their life to save other people from something like a grenade...

I think there are social mechanisms, and you can apply whatever reason you want to them, but really they just exist because they randomly appeared and happened to cause compulsions that are more likely to lead to actions that have a higher probability of surviving.

Edited by questionposter

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Thanks. I was just going by the title as you suggest. I would say the hippish "selfish gene" title is rather appropriate. To me its just natural selecton, biological and group/social.

 

As suggested, the selfishness of genes actually explains the altruism of organism. Altruism is, by definition, detrimental to the organism, and looking from that level, should not exist at all. However, if it is all about propagation of the genes instead, it makes sense. Check kin selection for details, for example. The suggestion is that (as a thought model) genetic mechanism try to promote their frequency, and this can be achieved by helping others that carry the same genes.

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As suggested, the selfishness of genes actually explains the altruism of organism. Altruism is, by definition, detrimental to the organism, and looking from that level, should not exist at all. However, if it is all about propagation of the genes instead, it makes sense. Check kin selection for details, for example. The suggestion is that (as a thought model) genetic mechanism try to promote their frequency, and this can be achieved by helping others that carry the same genes.

 

What about acquired altruism or attributes in that realm?

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Selfishness or the behaviour of selfish is not a gene itself, but result of many genees. Anything that is personality, it is not didcted by A gene, but rather result of many genes. That's my input

 

 

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Selfishness or the behaviour of selfish is not a gene itself, but result of many genees. Anything that is personality, it is not didcted by A gene, but rather result of many genes. That's my input

Is that a fact? Can you support that claim?

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What about acquired altruism or attributes in that realm?

 

Depends, things acquired through an individual are generally not pertaining to evolution. However, in reality things are a bit more tricky, because a) the ability to learn has a genetic basis on some level and b) learned things can also be transmitted to the next generation.

That being said, Dawkin's book is not refer to selfish or altruistic behavior per se, but rather puts forward the gene-view to explain that genes can propagate at the expense of the organism. The possibility of genetically-based altruism (of the organism) is just one of the many consequences (i.e. see kin selection). But it also explains the existence of mobile genetic elements such as plasmids, transposons and viruses.

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learned things can also be transmitted to the next generation.

 

What? How could that possibly work? That's news to me...

Unless learning things somehow alters your genes...

Edited by questionposter

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It is called teaching/learning and when it survives several generation it is sometimes referred to as tradition. It is not limited to apes, but has also been shown in e.g. crows.

My point was that there are non-genetic factors that can confound analyses.

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It is called teaching/learning and when it survives several generation it is sometimes referred to as tradition.

 

And this notion that if someone learns calculus or guitar that their offspring might automatically know how to do those things is proven?

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