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.
Evolution by natural selection undermines the idea that humans are the culmination and ultimate beneficiaries of all nature. However, to say that anthropocentrism necessarily dissolves in the rising tide of evolutionary theory is to ignore the ways in which human centered humanness plays an intriguing role in evolution. In his article, "Anthropocentrism: A Modern Version," W.H. Murdy integrates these two conflicting phenomena by tracking the evolution of anthropocentrism itself and proposing that Darwinian theory marks the shift from an old version of anthropocentrism to a new, modern version. This modern reconceptualization is able to situate human centered thinking within the story of evolution, but it also elucidates a complex and uniquely human crisis in which anthropocentrism becomes self-destructive.
Analyzing the... ... middle of paper ... ...present (Gangestad 1989). The paradox of altruism is another notion undefined because it interferes with Charles Darwin’s “survival of the fittest”. Now there is a gene present contributing to the benefiting of the vast number of species and no longer a battle for personal fitness? Organism’s now reproduce to carry on the successful offspring by themselves and genetically similar organisms (Rushton 1980). This is the evolution of species’ genes and now kin related species will obtain the same genes?
In addition, if humans are given the power to manipulate the genes of living organisms, what prohibits us from building our own humans, from constructing computers that look and act like humans, and from slowly eliminating all of nature's intentions in order to formulate a world that we select? References: 1 Epstein, Ron. "Redesigning the World: Ethical Questions about Genetic Engineering." http://online.sfsu.edu/~rone/GE%20Essays/Redesigning.htm. 2 Grogan, John and Cheryl Long.
The concept of the ‘selfish gene’, introduced in 1976 by Richard Dawkins in his book of the same name, is used to express the notion that the unit of selection at which evolution operates is that of genes, as opposed to that of individuals or groups. In order to assess whether regarding genes as selfish is useful to any extent, the theoretical underpinnings of the gene-centred view of evolution must first be considered, particularly with regards to the problem of altruism. The alternatives to the selfish gene hypothesis—claims that the unit of selection in evolution is instead the individual, or the group—will also be discussed, and evidence in support or contention of these views will be evaluated. The evidence for and against the selfish gene hypothesis will then be considered, in order to determine whether it is the optimal explanation for the unit of selection at which evolution operates, and thus whether it is useful to regard genes as ‘selfish’. An alternate proposal that evolution can operate upon different units of selection under different circumstances will also be discussed and evaluated.
In his account of Darwin's theory, Mayr uses the principles of evolution to account for phenomena in human societies and culture. Reinforcing the significance if chance in the formation of reality, Mayr challenges us to redefine our values and identify the factors that stump our development. Analyzing the aspects of the theory of evolution, he suggests a new way of thinking that empowers humans to cast off the fear that thwarts their ability to play and experiment with reality. Much stamina on the part of people will this entail. Are humans prepared to answer such a challenge?
He adopted an approach that focused on the level of the gene. He saw social behavior as controlled, in principle, by particular genes, and he saw evolution as occurring at this level because reproductive success amounted to increasing the frequency of certain genes in future generations. However, the insistence of sociobiologists on grounding at least some behavior in universal human genetic predisposition runs contrary to cultural anthropologists' emphasis on the primacy of culture itself as the determinant of human social life. Several distinct approaches can be identified in contemporary sociobiology. The first one is evolutionary psychology.
This theory also disputes that the process of natural selection is enough to explain the complexity of living organisms. The theory states that the complexity must come from the work of an intelligent designer. A well known analogy of the teleological argument is the Watchmaker Argument, which was known by William Paley. The argument states that if one found a watch in an empty field, o... ... middle of paper ... ...m. The universe could have easily been designed for the purpose of something else with humans being irrelevant. Another counter-argument to the argument from design is evolutionary theory or Darwinism.
Dawkins basic premise was that all genes are in competition with each other to reproduce themselves for the next generation. Dawkins got into some very controversial territory with The Selfish Gene, as the topic of sociobiology is controversial in and of itself. For every article there is supporting sociobiology, there is another denouncing it. Peter Lawler describes sociobiology as “the belief that human beings have real natures and natural purposes, but natures and purposes that are fully intelligible through evolution and not really different from those of the other animals” (Lawler, 2003, para. 2).
The inevitability that humanity will eternally be an ever-changing component of nature proposes a quintessential question: is the fact that humanity deviates from nature a natural occurrence, or does humanity intentionally separate itself from the natural world? Charles Darwin, an English naturalist, suggests that it is human nature to deviate from the natural world in order to secure our survival. Darwin’s thesis on humanity is challenged by an English scientist, Edward Jenner, who proposes that humans once existed in a natural state but have slowly become more unnatural and separated from nature. In this paper I aim to delve into both Darwin and Jenner’s theories concerning humanity in an attempt to reveal that Darwin’s views on humanity prove true, and make what Jenner believes is unnatural, to be in fact natural. Darwin’s concept on humanity initially begins with evolution.