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Friday, August 23, 2013

'Selfish' Genes Create Cooperative Organisms

Rosa Rubicondior
June 9, 2013

Here are some excerpts:

One of the criticisms of Richard Dawkins' seminal work, and the work which initially made him famous as an evolutionary biologist, The Selfish Gene, is that it portrayed life itself as essentially selfish, so undermining any claim Atheists might have to be moral, empathetic and considerate people. This was of course always nonsense and is an example of attacking a scientific theory based on its consequences not on its validity, as though truth is subject to a human convenience test - rather like claiming nuclear fission doesn't work because atom bombs are destructive or that the Big Bang can't have been an uncaused event because that would shut god(s) out of the picture.

But the consequences of 'selfish' genes are not as is claimed anyway. In fact, anything more than a cursory glance at biology will reveal how cooperation, at all levels of organisation, has almost always been the key to long-term success.

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Cooperative alliances are the single greatest achievement of selfish genes. The entire web of mutually interdependent life on Earth owes its existence to these alliances, even the mutual interdependence of plant and animal life as animals provide the carbon dioxide for plants to use to make the sugars for animals to eat.

The entire blog post is here.
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