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What do you think of The Selfish Gene?I am surprised that there has been no eNotes...

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William Delaney | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 2, 2012 at 10:01 PM via web

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What do you think of The Selfish Gene?

I am surprised that there has been no eNotes discussion of Richard Dawkins' book The Selfish Gene. I found it to be extremely well written and interesting. I would like to hear what other people think.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 21, 2012 at 4:01 AM (Answer #2)

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I think The Selfish Gene is a fascinating book, because it’s a new way of looking at evolution.  If you think about it, we all want to reproduce the elements of ourselves that we deem special.  I love the idea of the meme as a cultural phenomenon, especially in terms of the “gone viral” YouTube videos.

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted October 22, 2012 at 12:09 PM (Answer #3)

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Dawkins' thesis has two interesting points to it. The first is that survival of the fittest requires survival of the selfish-est, though I am not convinced this takes into account mutations of both the beneficial and harmful varieties. The second is that, logically expanding upon the first, a selfish pre-programming of genetic predisposition is--from the gene's point of view--antithetical to an organism's ultimate world view of "universal love and welfare." On the one hand, this may account for humans' paradoxical dichotomy of desire where universal love and welfare are striven for at the same time that dominance and overlordship is striven for. It is equally interesting that, while accepted graciously when first published and readily incorporated into scholarship, the book's ideas have become more controversial over the years according to "Preface to the 1989 edition."

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