These innate tendencies are part of our evolutionary history thus providing an evolutionary
You don't suppose that it could be religious
Here's Hemant Mehta explaining why
The selfish gene is one of the most successful science metaphors ever invented. Unfortunately, it’s wrong.The article attracted the attention of Jerry Coyne who effectively dismantles the strange ideas promoted by Dobbs. Read all about it at: David Dobbs mucks up evolution, part I and David Dobbs mucks up evolution, part II.
The selfish gene theory is Darwin's theory, expressed in a way that Darwin did not choose but whose aptness, I should like to think, he would instantly have recognized and delighted in. It is in fact a logical outgrowth of orthodox neo-Darwinism, but expressed as a novel image. Rather than focus on the individual organism, it takes a gene's-eye view of nature.Lot's of people misunderstand the selfish gene metaphor. They think it means that organisms behave selfishly but that's not what Dawkins meant at all.
As Dawkins shows clearly, the "selfish" gene is a metaphor for how natural selection works. Genes act as if they're selfish molecules: those that produce better adaptations act as if they're elbowing out other genes in the battle for future existence. And, to be sure, selfish genes can produce selfish behaviors. But there is also a huge scientific literature on how evolution can favor genes that lead to cooperation, altruism, and even morality.There are two main criticisms of the selfish gene metaphor and both of them are quite valid. It's the reason why Dawkin's view hasn't caught on the the evolutionary biology textbooks. It usually merits nothing more than a footnote.
Let me add one thing, though. I’m constantly puzzled these days by how often people argue that the neo-Darwinian synthesis is wrong, and that we need a new paradigm. Genetic assimilation, epigenetics, horizontal gene transfer—all of these buzzwords are evoked as reasons to jettison our “conventional” view of evolution. But always, when you look at the data, the evidence that these phenomena will overturn neo-Darwinism is nonexistent.The problem here is that Jerry doesn't really say what he means by "neo-Darwinism." Most of his writing suggests that he's talking about natural selection, albeit updated by a knowledge of genetics. He does mention, from time to time, random genetic drift and other aspects of modern evolutionary theory but I'm not sure if he appreciates the fact that some legitimate evolutionary biologists really do think that neo-Darwinism is dead.
I’ve already written a lot on the epigenetics hype, and have shown that there’s no evidence that a single adaptation in nature involves the fixation in the DNA of an epigenetic alteration of the genome that isn’t initially inherited. Yet people keep banging on about epigenetics.
I’m not sure why the hype continues, but perhaps it has to do with the fact that the main paradigm of evolution—the neo-Darwinian synthesis—is largely consolidated, and is correct. Sure, there are surprises to come, and interesting new phenomena, but there’s no “quantum mechanics” of evolution on the horizon. Some theories don’t need to be overthrown because they’re generally right. Perhaps people don’t like working in a field where there’s no new “paradigm” to forge, and Kuhn has ruined us all!
The "neo-Darwinism is dead" trend may have to do with ambition, or perhaps with boredom. I don’t know. What I do know is that the many recent challenges to neo-Darwinism have all failed to hold water, but people keep pouring liquid into that sieve.
Neo-Darwinism is the 'modern synthesis' of Darwinian evolution through natural selection with Mendelian genetics, the latter being a set of primary tenets specifying that evolution involves the transmission of characteristics from parent to child through the mechanism of genetic transfer, rather than the 'blending process' of pre-Mendelian evolutionary science. Neo-Darwinism can also designate Darwin's ideas of natural selection separated from his hypothesis of Pangenesis as a Lamarckian source of variation involving blending inheritance.I think we should refer to modern evolutionary theory as "modern evolutionary theory" in order to make sure we're not talking about "Darwinism," "neo-Darwinism," or the hardened version of the "Modern Synthesis." Modern evolutionary theory includes an important role for random genetic drift, Neutral Theory, and population genetics.
Heinz, S., Romanoski, C., Benner, C., Allison, K., Kaikkonen, M., Orozco, L. and Glass, C. (2013) Effect of natural genetic variation on enhancer selection and function. Nature 503:487-492. [doi: 10.1038/nature12615]
Magda Havas is Associate Professor of Environmental & Resource Studies at Trent University where she teaches and does research on the biological effects of environmental contaminants. Dr. Havas received her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto, completed Post-Doctoral research at Cornell University, and taught at the University of Toronto before going to Trent University in Peterborough, Canada.Here comes the fun part. She has made a video in which she explains why we need to pay attention to all the scientific studies showing harmful effects of power lines, cell phones, WiFi etc. She uses Popper's criterion of falsifiability to justify her rejection of all articles that show no harmful effect and she turns cherry-picking completely upside down to support .... cherry-picking!
Dr. Havas’s research since the 1990s is concerned with the biological effects of electromagnetic pollution including radio frequency radiation, electromagnetic fields, dirty electricity, and ground current. She works with diabetics as well as with individuals who have multiple sclerosis, tinnitus, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and those who are electrically hypersensitive. She also conducts research on sick building syndrome as it relates to power quality in schools.
Since the mid 1990s Dr. Havas has taught about electromagnetic pollution in several courses at Trent University and has supervised Reading Courses and Honours Thesis Projects in this area. One of the courses deals specifically with the biological effects of electromagnetic fields and electromagnetic radiation. This is one of the few courses available in North America at a senior undergraduate level critically examining the effects of non-ionizing radiation.