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Den själviska genen (1976)

av Richard Dawkins

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MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygDiskussioner / Omnämnanden
9,17898582 (4.29)1 / 144
"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.… (mer)
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this shit is the only science that has ever interested me in my whole life ( )
  ncharlt1 | Oct 11, 2020 |
I registered this book at BookCrossing.com!
http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/14147557

I had this book on my wishlist for some time. Every now and then I would read something that was derogatory about the book and I would think maybe it's out of date or off somehow. So I put off getting and reading it. But a group I belong to set it for a book discussion and I decided now's the time.

Dawkins is remarkable in how he can convey complex biological information to the lay reader. So you could think he is nothing more than a science populizer. That would be plenty, of course, as we need those. But he's more. He doesn't just explain concepts; he synthesizes work by others into a new whole.

The Selfish Gene, originally written in 1976, spells out Dawkins' theme about natural selection: it is driven by the gene. However, he gives a definition of "gene" that may not coincide with that of others. Originated by G. C. Williams, he defines it as "any portion of chromosomal material that potentially lasts for enough generations to serve as a unit of natural selection." He further says "I am using the word gene to mean a genetic unit that is small enough to last for a large number of generations and to be distributed around in the form of many copies". It is deliberately vague.

In this book he answers many questions about natural selection, from how altruism evolves to how the concept of replication can be extended beyond the body ("vehicle") that protects the gene (the "extended phenotype").

Dawkins is careful to emphasize that genes do what they do through natural selection. They don't "want" or "need". Everything about life can be explained by evolution, although of course some specific answers have not yet been worked out.

Dawkins also spends time on why he uses the word "selfish", which connotes a deliberate self-interested consciousness. Successful genes are those that succeed in replicating themselves. Their actions always serve themselves and their copies. In this sense they are of course selfish, but that does not mean that they cannot cooperate with other genes or even cause their hosts to engage in altruistic behavior. There is nothing contradictory about selfish genes and altruism; that altruism serves to extend the life of the gene - by which is meant the further replication of that gene for many generations.

It seems that those who have attacked this book generally are those who did not read it, or somehow misunderstood it, as well as those whose beliefs required that they reject any thinking favoring the solid theory of evolution.

In this book Dawkins defines a new type of replication specifically related to humans that he calles "memes", based on cultural replication. The world over now thinks of memes as those pithy word-images popular on Facebook, but the word is meant to go beyond that.

Well worth reading. It took me several days, and I did not read all of the notes. Although not to be rushed, it is a book easily understood by those who want to understand evolution.
---
The 40th anniversay edition adds chapters plus a new 'afterword' that brings us up to date with newer advances in genetics. It is a substantially larger book than the original. ( )
  slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
I bought this book because I'm fascinated by the idea of evolution - I mean, at first glance it appears utterly preposterous, right? So I wanted to take a closer look. I started by reading The Origin of Species (Darwin, of course). That was well worth-while but clearly his theory was wrong, for many reasons, most of which are given in the book, by Darwin himself. The key problem for Darwin was that whilst he knew there had to be some kind of inheritance of characteristics, he had no idea what the mechanism was. Genetics came to the rescue of evolutionary theories by providing such a mechanism. OK - so now I had to find out what a modern theory of evolution looked like. I read Niles Eldredge's Re-inventing Darwin, which turned out to be a book making a counter-case to ideas proposed by Dawkins. I found it pretty convincing, but then I hadn't read any Dawkins. It didn't really provide what I was looking for, anyway; the book doesn't set out a complete theory of evolution, instead it takes an academic debate into the popular science arena. Much time goes by and I end up with Gould's last collection of essays. It turns out that he was strongly opposed to many of Dawkins' ideas, too - but that book only gave a sketch of a theory, in two essays. Time to actually read some Dawkins, then and give the guy a fair hearing. I picked up his most famous book and found that I'd made another blunder; The Selfish Gene is about the evolution of altruism! Basically it's about animal behaviour. Fer goodness' sake; I might have to start reading the blurb before I buy books on evolution!

THIS REVIEW HAS BEEN CURTAILED IN PROTEST AT GOODREADS' CENSORSHIP POLICY

See the complete review here:

http://arbieroo.booklikes.com/post/335005/post ( )
  Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
Color me very impressed. I can now see why this is considered to be one of those hugely popular science books I keep hearing about and the reason why Dawkins has become so widely known and/or respected with or without his notoriety.

Indeed, the pure science bits were pretty much awesome. We, or at least I, have heard of this theory in other contexts before and none of it really comes as much surprise to see that genes, themselves, have evolved strategies that are exactly the same as Game Theory in order to find the best possible outcome for continued replication. Hence: the selfish gene.

Enormous simple computers running through the prisoner's dilemma with each other, rival genes, and especially within whole organisms which could just be seen as gigantic living spacecraft giving the genes an evolutionary advantage of finding new and more prosperous adaptations.

Yup! That's us!

I honestly don't see the problem. I love the idea that we are just galaxies of little robots running complicated Game Theories that eventually turn into a great cooperative machine where everyone (mostly) benefits, with plenty of complicated moves going way beyond hawks and doves and straight into the horribly complicated multi-defectors, forgivers, and other evolutionary styles that depend on the events that have gone before and the pre-knowledge (or lack of) a set end-date for the entire experiment... in other words, our deaths, whether pre-planned or simply the entire mass of genes just coming to realize that it's no longer in their best interest to keep pushing this jalopy around any longer if they're not getting anything out of it... like further replication. :)

Even when it's not precisely sex, it's still all about sex. :)

Of course, what I've just mentioned isn't the entire book, because, as a matter of fact, the book walks us through so many stages of thought, previous research, developments, mistakes, and upgraded theories and surprising conclusions based on soooooo much observable data that any of us might be rightfully confounded with the weight of it unless we were in the heart of the research, ourselves.

It's science, baby.

Make sure you don't make the data conform to your theory. Build your theory from observable data. Improve upon it as the building blocks are proved or disproved, keep going until it is so damn robust until nothing but a true miracle could topple it, and then keep asking new questions.

The fact is, this theory has nothing (or everything) to do with our lives. We play Game Theory, too, in exactly the same way every gene everywhere does, but we just happen to be able to make models on top of the situations and we're able to choose whether to see through the lies, the hawk strategies, or when to stop cooperating if the advantages work out much better for us if we did. We, like our genes, can choose long-term cooperative strategies or play everything like a Bear market. :)

Even this book says that it's very likely that Nice Guys can win, but just like our lives, the gene lives keep discovering ever more complicated strategies and all eventual strategies become more and more situational.

Isn't that us, to a tea? I wonder if most complaints about this book stem from complaints about Game Theory rather than the perceived conclusion (much better spelled out, not in this book, but in later books)... that atheism rules the day. It really isn't evident here. Instead, we have a macrocosm mimicking the microcosm and no one wants to challenge their comfortable world view.

Things aren't simple. All choices to betray or cooperate are then met with situation and memory and ever complex meta-contexts, the difference between us and genes being that we're self-aware and the genes are not.

Yes, yes, I see where the arguments can start coming out of the closet about self-determination and such, but that's not really the point of this book at all. The point is that it's a successful model that accurately describes reality. It has nothing at all to do with the macro-world except obliquely, and makes no value judgments on our art, our beliefs, or how we think about ourselves except in our uniquely stubborn and self-delusional ways that love to take things out of context and apply misunderstood concepts to our general lives and wonder why everything gets so screwed up. :)

But then, maybe I'm just applying my own incomplete models to yet another and we lousy humans still lack WAY TOO MUCH data to build a really impressively improved model. :)

Come on, Deep Thought. Where are you? :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
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 revised edition of Dawkins' fascinating book contains two new chapters. One, entitled "Nice Guys Finish First," demonstrates how cooperation can evolve even in a basically selfish world. The other new chapter, entitled "The Long Reach of the Gene," which reflects the arguments presented in Dawkins' The Extended Phenotype, clarifies the startling view that genes may reach outside the bodies in which they dwell and manipulate other individuals and even the world at large. Containing a wealth of remarkable new insights into the biological world, the second edition once again drives home the fact that truth is stranger than fiction.
Source: Publisher

The Selfish Gene is a 1976 book on evolution by the biologist Richard Dawkins, in which the author builds upon the principal theory of George C. Williams's Adaptation and Natural Selection.
Source: Wikipedia
  Shiseida.Aponte | May 26, 2020 |
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Ferreira, Karin de SousaÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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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.

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