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The Selfish Gene: 30th Anniversary…

The Selfish Gene: 30th Anniversary Edition--with a new Introduction by the… (original 1976; edition 2006)

by Richard Dawkins

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7,42876472 (4.3)1 / 129
Title:The Selfish Gene: 30th Anniversary Edition--with a new Introduction by the Author
Authors:Richard Dawkins
Info:Oxford University Press, USA (2006), Edition: 30th Anniversary, Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library, Changed my thinking

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The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins (1976)


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English (70)  French (1)  Italian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (75)
Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
Richard Dawkins does a great job of explaining the scientific reasons to believe in evolution. But he is the most arrogant biologist I have ever found. In this book Dawkins is arrogant and naive enough to posit that if an alien race arrived at earth the first question they would ask is whether humans have discovered evolution. When he said that I wasn't sure whether someone so biased towards their own subject could present a fair account of it. After reading the book I would say that he absolutely could not present evolution in a fair manner, but that's mostly ok. The only real problem that I had with Dawkin's presentation of the material is that at times Dawkins would delve into possible explanations for apparent contradictions with evolution and observed phenomena by making up some wild story that could explain the data if it were true. But we don't know if the story he made up is what actually happened. Often times when he does this he says that research should be done in the area to see if his wild story is correct. That's fine if you take it for what it is, as wild story that explains the data. But it is not an actual explanation of the data.

Overall though the book is well written, interesting, and even entertaining. It also must be admitted that evolution is The theory of biology. It is what all modern biology is based on and it works really well to explain the data. When Dawkins complains about creationism he is somewhat justified because no serious biologist should or does preach creationism in a classroom, it is not a scientific theory. Nevertheless in Dawkins' mind there is no room for any other God other than evolution. To Dawkins the only creator is evolution and evolution is a jealous creator that accepts nothing before or even after it. Which is fine for a biologist, but not something that admirable in a person. ( )
  JaredChristopherson | Nov 16, 2015 |
Fascinating! He does a good job explaining how people think they know how evolution works because of the "good of the species" narrative at the heart of our middle school foray with it. Then he goes on to explain in lucid detail how a gene-centered approach quantifies so many of Darwin's ideas, reminding us how many developments have surfaced since 1859. There are a few hard pills to swallow: the inevitability of the rise of life, the vague definition of a "gene," that our bodies and minds are merely "survival machines" build by and for our DNA. Other ideas are profound: the conspiracy of doves, the meme pool. ( )
  Victor_A_Davis | Sep 18, 2015 |
The science was very interesting, and I particularly enjoyed Dawkin's treatment of the mathematics of evolution. I also liked his theory on why men typically chase after women, whereas women press for the sanctity of marriage, and not the other way around. It did at times get a bit repetitive, and also seemed to be settling some scores with other biologists, which is really of little interest to the average reader. But I found it a worthwhile addition to my knowledge on the subject. ( )
  JacobMayer75 | Jul 16, 2015 |
A little over my head, and a little out-of-date. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
What does natural selection act on? Dawkins makes a case for the unit of replication: the gene. Or less succinctly, the sequence of DNA that remains together when chromosomes cross and divide. This is in contrast to E. O. Wilson (I was interested to see that they’ve been arguing about this for 30+ years), who proposes selection at multiple levels: individual – kin - group. The gist is that “life evolves by the differential survival of replicating entities”. Genes replicate; organisms do not. Genes cooperate in cells to keep chemical pathways together. Cells cooperate in organisms to allow specialization. It is not that genes intend anything; genes are the perpetual entities that improve the “survival machine” (organism) by influencing its features and behaviors, all other things held equal. An analogy is choosing crew members for a boat: If a boat is propelled by multiple rowers, then a single best rower can’t be determined; but if boats propelled by rowers in a variety of combinations compete in a series of races, then individuals can be correlated with winning.

Dawkins advocates a game theory model of assessing populations. Instead of assuming that a balance of characteristics is optimal for the population as a whole, investigate actions of individuals with costs and benefits to understand why the population has settled into a particular “evolutionary stable strategy”. A simple example is the ratio of male : female. This model is not a Dawkins original; he refers frequently to the work of John Maynard Smith and Robert Trivers. Which is not at all to discount the contribution of Dawkins; he makes an engaging and persuasive presentation, perhaps not flawless, but extremely useful as a general perspective. (Dawkins elaborates in The Extended Phenotype.) This book is a classic for a reason.
  qebo | Dec 27, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dawkins, Richardprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ferreira, Karin de SousaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Intelligent life on a planet comes of age when it first works out the reason for its own existence.
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(Dutch) Nederlandse uitg. oorspr. verschenen o.d.t.: Het zelfzuchtige erfdeel
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0199291152, Paperback)

Richard Dawkins' brilliant reformulation of the theory of natural selection has the rare distinction of having provoked as much excitement and interest outside the scientific community as within it. His theories have helped change the whole nature of the study of social biology, and have forced thousands of readers to rethink their beliefs about life.
In his internationally bestselling, now classic volume, The Selfish Gene, Dawkins explains how the selfish gene can also be a subtle gene. The world of the selfish gene revolves around savage competition, ruthless exploitation, and deceit, and yet, Dawkins argues, acts of apparent altruism do exist in nature. Bees, for example, will commit suicide when they sting to protect the hive, and birds will risk their lives to warn the flock of an approaching hawk.
This 30th anniversary edition of Dawkins' fascinating book retains all original material, including the two enlightening chapters added in the second edition. In a new Introduction the author presents his thoughts thirty years after the publication of his first and most famous book, while the inclusion of the two-page original Foreword by brilliant American scientist Robert Trivers shows the enthusiastic reaction of the scientific community at that time. This edition is a celebration of a remarkable exposition of evolutionary thought, a work that has been widely hailed for its stylistic brilliance and deep scientific insights, and that continues to stimulate whole new areas of research today.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:19 -0400)

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"The Selfish Gene is remarkable in several ways. First published in 1976, aimed at a general audience and written by a then little-known young lecturer in zoology at Oxford University, The Selfish Gene rapidly became highly influential. The important biological work of such figures as W. D. Hamilton and Robert Trivers was introduced to a wider public for the first time. But that was not all. Drawing together the threads of contemporary research in Neo-Darwinism into a powerful vision of the living world viewed through the eyes of genes as the units of selection, it was a significant contribution to biological thought. The full explanatory power of the gene's eye view was presented, in fine non-technical prose, for the first time in one short volume, bringing novel insights to those working in the field and inspiring whole new areas of research. Yet even that is not all. It has been widely acclaimed too for its literary qualities. Here is a book that set a new standard in science writing for the wider public, a modern masterpiece that fresh generations of aspiring young scientists would seek to emulate."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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