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.
I will like to end my paper with a quote from Darwin on human nature: - The moral faculties are generally esteemed, and with justice, as of higher value than the intellectual powers. But we should always bear in mind that the activity of the mind in vividly recalling past impressions is one of the fundamental though secondary bases of conscience. This fact affords the strongest argument for educating and stimulating in all possible ways the intellectual faculties of every human being. (Charles Darwin) Bibliography 1) Human Nature: An Introduction to Philosophy, Thomas Wall. Wadsworth Cengage Learning 2) Internet Encyclopedia of philosophy.
These idols distort the truth, and thus stand in the way of science.” (Dror). Bacon, in his essay, The Four Idols, said, “The human understanding is of its own nature prone to suppose the existence of more order and regularity in the world than it finds” (Bacon). This statement alone, could almost crumble the majority of Darwin’s findings. Darwin found regularity and order in the process of natural selection, in fact that is what defined his theory. Darwin saw patterns in nature and discovered a theory which explained the patterns and
Essentialist such as Cuvier being the most notable on this thought, viewed life as unchangeable categories with specific functions that suited each organism exclusively. As time has gone on, ideas have been shaped and changed indefinitely as illustrated in the book, The Half-Life of Facts. Sound arguments had to be modified and changed over time as new evidence came to light. Differing ideas from natural inquiry As many notable researchers attempted to classify life as a whole, there has been a general trend as stated in the book, Systematics and the Origin of Species. “It seems as if all the conclusions and generalized laws derived from a study of taxonomic material were dependent to a very high degree on the nature of this material and the background of the student.” (Ernst Mayr, p.3) This quotation suggests something profound in that early naturalists could observe the same elements of life and draw differing conclusions, this can be attributed to their personal life experiences and specialization in their field.
In closing, most of Darwin’s hypothesis so far what I have read has been derived from the idea of variation. He went into debating that the abundance of traits and adaptations are the prime factors that often separates a type of species from each other. Superficially in chapter 4 he formulates a focal point and goes into depth of natural selection and the laws of variation but according to his own mechanism. He captivates his readers and helps them to comprehend the importance of the influence of different types of selection as well as the strong reliance between wild organisms and its surroundings.
The writers don’t see eye to eye with this thought and are trying to reassert a competing theory that organisms must be seen as integrated wholes. Gould and Lewontin show their explanations for a pluralistic perspective of the evolutionary theory through diction, quotations, and examples; they are able to persuade readers with their views. Through specific diction, Gould and Lewontin create a distinction between their views and the adaptationist programme. The adaptationist programme is "truly [a] Panglossian Paradigm” (Gould and Lewontin, 344). This gives a negative connotation to these evolutionary scholars and it places them on an opposing side of evolution; natural selection versus the pluralistic.
In particular, it robs those who disagree with these silenced opinions. Mill then turns to the reasons why humanity is hurt by silencing opinions. His first argument is that the suppressed opinion may be true. He writes that since human beings are not infallible, they have no authority to decide an issue for all people, and to keep others from coming up with their own judgments. Mill asserts that the reason why liberty of opinion is so often in danger is that in practice people tend to be confident in their own rightness, and excluding that, in the infallibility of the world they come in contact with.
These stories themselves are often the motivation for what we determine to be evil upon examining an alternate story, but we do not have a choice about whether or not we tell stories at all. That is in our nature. Alternately, without our stories we would not experience good and beautiful. The most dissatisfying aspect of a matter-first explanation of morality is that it absolves us from any responsibility for how we impact the natural world and other human beings. This could come as a welcome relief, after considering the incomprehensible responsibility of being an agent of creation.
When Darwin contradicted one of these things that they already knew, he had to make sure that his evidence reflected the truth so that he could ultimately change their minds. Changing the mind of the individual was probably the toughest task that Darwin had to overcome with his theory of evolution. “According to Bacon, the first goal of any science was to create a special museum of observations and "deviating instances," intended to clear the mind of "idols" that stand in the way of study” (Kopanyeva). The goal of Darwin’s science was to attempt to make this confusing world that people live in and make it simple. He produced a lot of evidence to help clear the minds of those individuals he did not want to change their minds.
When attempting to account for his actions and the way he conditioned the culture in Enron, he stated that his favorite book the “Selfish Gene” informed his approach. Wait, I thought Harvard graduates could read…because if that’s the case, how did he miss pages over pages of information where the book itself stated that while we are born selfish, we can be taught to be altruistic; and rebel against those genes and not let them control our bodies, lives, and actions. Of course he would use just a limited portion to make his case. Selective selfishness much? Maybe Mr. Skilling could not read too well because his eyes were already in the shape of dollar signs.