Richard Dawkins and The Selfish Gene

The 1976 book The Selfish Gene was in part written to counter a view, popular in biology at the time, that tried to account for certain behaviors in the animal kingdom in terms of “the benefit to the species.” Thus, the parent bird that sacrifices its life for its offspring is acting instinctively against its own interests, but in a way that will protect the gene pool or increase the viability of the group as a whole. As attractive as these theories might seem, Dawkins claimed that they were incorrect and that all behaviors were due to genetic programming designed to solely benefit the gene.

The First Replicator

Dawkins hypothesized that somewhere during the birth of life on Earth, there evolved a unique ...

Get The Complete Idiot's Guide® To Memes now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.