Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Dawkins , Richad (1976), The Selfish Gene - First Edition, Oxford, Retrieved on 2007-01-09

Memes

29 NOV 2013

 Survival of the Stable

Darwin's 'survival of the fittest' is really a special case of a more general law of survival of the stable. The universe is populated by stable things. A stable thing is a collection of atoms that is permanent enough or common enough to deserve a name. It may be a unique collection of atoms, such as the Matterhorn, that lasts long enough to be worth naming. Or it may be a class of entities, such as rain drops, that come into existence at a sufficiently high rate to deserve a collective name,...
Folksonomies: evolution stability
Folksonomies: evolution stability
  1  notes

One of the characteristics of a successful species is stability.

29 NOV 2013

 The Origin of Life from Molecules

The account of the origin of life that I shall give is necessarily speculative; by definition, nobody was around to see what happened. There are a number of rival theories, but they all have certain features in common. The simplified account I shall give is probably not too far from the truth. We do not know what chemical raw materials were abundant on earth before the coming of life, but among the plausible possibilities are water, carbon dioxide, methane, and ammonia: all simple compounds ...
Folksonomies: evolution molecular
Folksonomies: evolution molecular
  1  notes

Highlights from Dawkin's description of how molecules evolved through natural selection to eventually form life.

29 NOV 2013

 We are Machines that Carry Genes

We are survival machines, but 'we' does not mean just people. It embraces all animals, plants, bacteria, and viruses. The total number of survival machines on earth is very difficult to count and even the total number of species is unknown. Taking just insects alone, the number of living species has been estimated at around three million, and the number of individual insects may be a million million million. Different sorts of survival machine appear very varied on the outside and in their i...
Folksonomies: evolution genes
Folksonomies: evolution genes
  1  notes

The Gene's-eye view of evolution is very useful.

29 NOV 2013

 The Actuarial Math of Altruism

I have talked in elemental terms of suicidal genes for saving the lives of particular numbers of kin of exactly known relatedness. Obviously, in real life, animals cannot be expected to count exactly how many relatives they are saving, nor to perform Hamilton's calculations in their heads even if they had some way of knowing exactly who their brothers and cousins were. In real life, certain suicide and absolute 'saving' of life must be replaced by statistical risks of death, one's own and oth...
Folksonomies: evolution altruism hamilton
Folksonomies: evolution altruism hamilton
  1  notes

It's not just intra-species, but the closer the relative the more altruism. Also the potential to reproduce affects the relationship as well.

29 NOV 2013

 The Meme-Unit

It is possible that this appearance of non-particulateness is illusory, and that the analogy with genes does not break down. After all, if we look at the inheritance of many genetic characters such as human height or skin-colouring, it does not look like the work of indivisible and unblendable genes. If a black and a white person mate, their children do not come out either black or white: they are intermediate. This does not mean the genes concerned are not particulate. It is just that there ...
Folksonomies: memetics genes
Folksonomies: memetics genes
  1  notes

Like genes, there is no particulate unit for memes. Sometimes we must look at a whole symphony, sometimes it's just a few notes.

29 NOV 2013

 When Memes and Genes Conflict

Memes and genes may often reinforce each other, but they sometimes come into opposition. For example, the habit of celibacy is presumably not inherited genetically. A gene for celibacy is doomed to failure in the gene pool, except under very special circumstances such as we find in the social insects. But still, a meme for celibacy can be successful in the meme pool. For example, suppose the success of a meme depends critically on how much time people spend in actively transmitting it to othe...
  1  notes

Memes can override genes, which means a meme like 'celibacy' can prevent the genes from reproducing.

29 NOV 2013

 Propagating Genes VS Memes

I have been a bit negative about memes, but they have their cheerful side as well. When we die there are two things we can leave behind us: genes and memes. We were built as gene machines, created to pass on our genes. But that aspect of us will be forgotten in three generations. Your child, even your grandchild, may bear a resemblance to you, perhaps in facial features, in a talent for music, in the colour of her hair. But as each generation passes, the contribution of your genes is halved. ...
Folksonomies: memetics memes genes legacy
Folksonomies: memetics memes genes legacy
  1  notes

Our genes will only last in recognizable form for three generations or so, being halved with each generation; our memes, however, have the potential to live far beyond our lifetimes and have greater influence.

19 NOV 2013

 The Selfish Gene as a New Perspective on an Old Hypothesis

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. It is a different way of seeing, not a different theory. In the opening pages of The Extended Phenotype, I explained this using the me...
  1  notes

It is Darwin's theory, but a story told from the gene's point of view.