Book Review: The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins | Stephen Diagram

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins is a story about selflessness and altruism; it is a story about death and survival. Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” tells a dog-eat-dog tale about the survival of the fittest — natural selection. The Selfish Gene both compliments and combats the work of Darwin.

“The death of a single sterile worker bee is no home serious to its genes than is the shedding of a leaf in autumn to the genes of a trees.”

BUY the Selfish Gene – Limited Edition 40th Anniversary Edition The Selfish Gene: 40th Anniversary edition (Oxford Landmark Science)

We are vehicles for our genes to survive into the future; they have no problem disposing of us. What does this mean? Suppose there is a choice. A mom can choose to offer herself as tribute in order to save the lives of her two sons. Will she selfishly save herself or let her offspring live? The mother may be hold or past her prime period for reproduction. For her genes to live a longer life, it is clear that her two sons have a better potential to create more kids than her.

Suppose you and a friend have the same amount of food. It’s enough for tonight, but if you don’t find food for tomorrow then you will starve. You stumble across an unlocked house with an opportunity to raid it for food. Your friend being the nice guy that he is, decides to be honest, and genuine; he refuses to steal the food. You, knowing that you may die tomorrow, take the risk, acquire the food and fill your belly tomorrow. Your friend, though a nice guy, starves to death. The selfish gene is the ability to do what it takes survive.

Suppose you and a friend each have a wife. Both of you have two kids. You’re presented with an opportunity to cheat, and sleep with another woman. You impregnate her and she gives birth. Now you have a third son while your friend only has two. A lion comes to two kids from each family, yours and your friends. He is left without any kids, and no ability to pass on his genes. You have one son left because you cheated on your wife, and helped the human population progress.

Now imagine a worker bee, or an enlisted soldier. If a foreign force attacks the hive or, in our case, our nation; the bee and the soldier will fight to the death to defend their kin. It’s the same instinct we have to fight for our family when they are being threatened. The genes are selfish, but we are altruistic. We are selfless. We perform acts of kindness in hopes that others will return the favor.

Be conscientious. Everyone is equipped with the same instinctual means for survival.

BUY the Selfish Gene – Limited Edition 40th Anniversary Edition The Selfish Gene: 40th Anniversary edition (Oxford Landmark Science)

5 Comments Add yours

  1. robgradens says:

    A difficult topic for people with genetic defects like me with my dual diagnosis. Even if a person has alcoholism, she or he still must choose whether or not to reproduce and pass on the disease to future generations. So then, which would be more altruistic, having kids or not? Of course, our heart’s desire is romantic love because having kids makes the world go round. Still, I wouldn’t want to perpetuate such suffering as what I’ve had to undergo. Thanks. I like Dawkins.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. no doubt, a book of great controversy. I support anything that promotes discussion. Too many people afraid to speak in today’s world.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. robgradens says:

        At least Americans don’t openly slaughter the mentally ill — unless you consider the homeless problems we’ve had since Reagan shut down the state hospitals in his first term that started from 1981. Suddenly we had a homelessness problem we hadn’t had before. People scratched their heads and of course it was a death sentence for the mentally ill who couldn’t survive on the streets. Oh well. All I can do is vote for the next Bernie Sanders. Thanks for reading and replying. I guess I am rather brave.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I can agree with you on that. There’s much to learn from Bernie Sanders. Americans can definitely use a little more backbone.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. robgradens says:

    My brother told me I have some serious “balls.” Whatever. I don’t have a lot to lose, so bring on the enemy on Twitter. I used to be a lot crazier when I drank. My aggression, underneath it all, is powered by love and justice. You might enjoy my blog called In the Raw. I can put a link here at your request. Take care.


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