Darwin’s concept on humanity initially begins with evolution. In order for the cogs in the wheel of nature to turn, there must be significant differences within species. Darwin refers to this idea as variation, which can be found within the aesthetic, behavior, or genetic makeup of an individual found in a species. These variations generate competition within species to survive, seeing as there will ultimately be both favorable and unfavorable traits. The concept of survival of the fittest is notably known as Darwin’s natural selection theory.
With his provoking work entitled The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins attempts to answer such questions as he proposes a shift in the evolutionary paradigm. Working through the metaphor of a "selfish gene", Dawkins constructs an evolutionary model using a gene as the fundamental unit of selection, opposed to the more commonly accepted belief of the species as the unit of selection. This "selfish gene", possessing a certain selfish emotional nature, acts as an independent entity fighting to ensure its replication in future generations, maximizing its number of descendents (2). Those successful in replicating have made the most of their given environment (1). For the interests of this paper, is it valid to assume that natural selection occurs at the level of DNA?
Genes Debate Genes are units of hereditary information that tell the organism to produce a particular chemical, or to display a particular characteristic, e.g. blue eyes or brown hair. In this genes debate, genes are said to not only display these physical characteristics, but also determine our social behavior (contrary from being a result of who we are from the way we are socialized). In the past, biological determinism has been used to justify racism, sexism and class inequalities. However, recent claims of biological determinism seem to be more outstanding and more scientific.
Cultural evolution also followed a process of adaptation. In the field of anthropology, a very important theory is that of the sociobiologists. Sociobiologists focus on adaptation and reproductive success rather than progress toward perfection. Edward O. Wilson was one of the most important of them. He adopted an approach that focused on the level of the gene.
Darwinism supports the idea of human traits such as consciousness, empathy, and compassion being products of evolution. He contends that these mechanisms, which make us unique, are embedded in our genes, and that evolution has shaped us into a special species. Through his theory, we know now why we share the same emotions, hopes, fears and cognitive disruptions. Karl Marx’s theory on the other hand, focuses more on social behavior and status. While Darwin’s theory is rooted from evolution, Marx believed that human nature stemmed from our place within a community.
The Language Behind Dawkins’ Selfish Gene Theory According to Michael Polanyi, our understanding of a concept depends in part on the language we use to describe it. Connie Barlow's book, From Gaia to Selfish Genes, looks at metaphors in science as integral parts of some new biological theories. One example is Richard Dawkins' theory about the selfish gene, where he claims that the most basic unit of humanity, the gene, is a selfish entity unto itself that exists outside the realm of our individual good and serves its own distinct purpose. Dawkins looks at the evolutionary process, how DNA replicates in forming human life, and the possibility that there is a social parallel to genetics, where human traits can be culturally transmitted. Dawkins, in the excerpts that Barlow has chosen, uses heavily metaphoric language to explain these scientific concepts to the general public.
Explaining Diversity The history of humanity has shown that the influences of a select few, charting their ideas of what is right and wrong, pure or dirty, black or white may all influence cultures; but these principles do not follow a certain direction. Rather, with the continuance of culture through time, the principles have diverged human experience into thousands of different cultures. In Biology as Ideology, the argument of genetic determinism arises; ones genetic makeup and other biological factors are the main determinants of individual behavior. This theory is greatly reliant on a culture looking for a direct cause and effect relationship between the genetic makeup of humans and social ability. Like this belief, the Origin Myth in Malanowski's "Magic, Science, and Religion" explains how a certain Indonesian culture, namely the Trobrianders, explains their creation by using stories, experience and presentation.
I will explore evidence supporting this theory, as well as evidence pointing to psychological explanations such as reciprocal altruism, social norms and primitive sympathy. First, it is important to understand what altruism is. Altruism is any act carried out by an individual in order to benefit another individual. [1, 2] At first glance, explaining altruism in terms of natural selection may seem contradictory.  After all, natural selection is loosely defined as “survival of the fittest”.
Evolutionary theory is developed from Darwin’s argument that “suggests that a process of natural selection leads to the survival of the fittest and the development of traits that enable a species to adept to its environment. “ Many have taken this a step further by saying that our genetic inheritance determines not only our physical traits but also certain personality traits and social behaviors. There is such a controversy over significant behaviors that unfold because many believe that we are already pre-programmed human species. It has also been argued that evolution is reflected in functioning and structure of the nervous system and that is has evolutionary factors that have a significant influence on everyday behavior. With what is being said means that if we follow the evolutionary theory, then it would be said that we are already pre-programmed from before birth to follow certain protocols in life.
One of the intriguing problems confronting evolutionary ethics is to solve the apparent paradox of altruism. According to evolutionary theory, natural selection entails that in general only the fittest individuals in any given biological population will survive and reproduce. An organism’s evolutionary telos, or goal, seems to be to promote its own fitness in order to survive long enough to reproduce. In situations where an organism confronts a choice between enhancing its own fitness and enhancing the fitness of others, it would seem to follow that the organism will (or "ought to," or should be expected to) choose to enhance its own fitness. (1) The paradox arises because empirical facts seem to contradict this prediction of evolutionary theory.