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Reply #31: You're correct in saying that a simple "selfish gene" principle [View All]

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FarrenH Donating Member (485 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #19
31. You're correct in saying that a simple "selfish gene" principle
Edited on Sun Jul-13-08 02:01 PM by FarrenH
is not the sum of evolutionary theory - and this is why we have something called "the Modern Synthesis", which already incorporates far more than that. So if that is the nub of the contention in this work then this work is very obviously misrepresenting science by claiming such a controversy.

Richard Dawkins, for instance, long ago coined the term "meme" to account for the fact that a highly intelligent species such as humanity may have their mating strategies determined by ideas learned after conception, rather than simple genetically informed strategies. Since the mating strategies of individuals add up to the characteristics that survive in the species, these ideas would constitute a kind of phenotypic gene, or "meme". That idea alone goes back to the sixties.

Then there are possible mechanisms that have evolved out of earlier and simpler selfish mechanisms which lead to a kind of altruism, where individuals will even favour strategies that lead to the extinction of their own line, because it increases the survival chances of their close relatives (kin selection).

In any event, mischaracterising the Modern Synthesis to create the appearance of fundamental cracks in its architecture, rather that simply the arrival interesting and new ideas which may enrich it, is misleading. And that is exactly how this series is written.

From Wikipedia

Modern Evolutionary Synthesis

Further advances

The modern evolutionary synthesis continued to be developed and refined after the initial establishment in the 1930s and 1940s. The work of W. D. Hamilton, George C. Williams, John Maynard Smith and others led to the development of a gene-centric view of evolution in the 1960s. The synthesis as it exists now has extended the scope of the Darwinian idea of natural selection to include subsequent scientific discoveries and concepts unknown to Darwin, such as DNA and genetics, which allow rigorous, in many cases mathematical, analyses of phenomena such as kin selection, altruism, and speciation.

A particular interpretation most commonly associated with Richard Dawkins, author of The Selfish Gene, asserts that the gene is the only true unit of selection.<22> Dawkins further extended the Darwinian idea to include non-biological systems exhibiting the same type of selective behavior of the 'fittest' such as memes in culture. The synthesis continues to undergo regular review.<23>
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