a thoughtful web.
Good ideas and conversation. No ads, no tracking.   Login or Take a Tour!
comment by Hein
Hein  ·  2884 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Why it's time to lay the selfish gene to rest

I have serious doubts about this piece. The selfish gene theory works extremely well for most organisms. Some genes are switched on, some are switched off. It happens all the time. (Most famously in caterpllars that turn into butterflies) The genes don't change themselves. The code for what they call "gene expression" is located in the genes themselves and I believe that if a gene were to "rewrite" itself, a copy of the original will be available for procreation.





user-inactivated  ·  2884 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Me too, mostly because the author tries to set rapid gene expression up as a parallel alternative to current gene theory while giving only a couple of tetchy examples. I'm absolutely sure that listening to a Dawkins seminar would convince me wholeheartedly that he's right all over again, just like when I read the Selfish Gene five years ago.

b_b  ·  2884 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Well the selfish gene hypothesis was a thought experiment to begin with, and a damn good one. It's not supposed to be an all encompassing theory of biology, as far as I know. It's a thought experiment insofar as Dawkins's idea was to take us back to the dawn of proto-life and to envision how those molecules might have competed with one another. And, if organisms grew from such beginnings, what should we expect to see today? It is a relevant exercise, and I fail to see how it's been put to rest.

user-inactivated  ·  2884 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I should have said, the author tries to set them up as equals, not as parallel theories.

b_b  ·  2884 days ago  ·  link  ·  
This comment has been deleted.
theadvancedapes  ·  2884 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I expressed the same concerns, as has PZ Myers. Although it was a thought provoking piece, we can't do away with the idea of the selfish gene or the idea that the gene is the key fundamental driver of evolutionary processes.