In god I trust.

Misinterpreted it.

In the few videos in which I’ve seen Dawkins talk about evolutionary theory he is very on-point and good at explaining the basic concepts. Where has he “misinterpreted” it?

It’s actually really a matter of opinion, but I think he misinterprets, as I don’t think the gene-centered/adaptationist view is really remotely tenable. I’m of the opinion that the phenotype is, at least primarily, the unit of selection as the unit which actually interacts with the interface thereof, while genes are recording units a step removed from the actual selection. The problem is apparent, if ignored, in Dawkins’s own Selfish Gene, around the “green beard” idea of altruism-by-way-of-recognition and deceiving green beard genes. I also think the shift from genes as passive recorders to causal kinda-agents requires some intellectual/linguistic acrobatics which didn’t stick the landing on their routines too well; I generally, but not unreservedly, share Gould’s view that Dawkins’s language giving genes the ability to act consciously is a “shorthand metaphor,” with the reservation being that, at times, I don’t know if it’s only a shorthand metaphor or its conceptual and rhetoric influence goes somewhat deeper than saved space and ease of understanding.

The same gene can manifest itself in countless phenotypes over the course of generations, based on the other genes it interacts with. An ordinarily fatal gene that, by a one-in-a-million chance, produces a beneficial phenotype, will still be weeded out of future generations. If you take a step back and view this over the long run, it’s the gene as a whole–and the full array of phenotypes available to it–that will be selected for or against. Not any given phenotype.

I think Dawkins’ innocuously titled “green beard” theory goes a long way toward explaining some uncomfortable human realities. For example, that infants stare more intently at members of their own race; or that similar-looking groups of people, left to their own devices for long enough, often begin to persecute outsiders.

Imagine the uproar if he had titled it the “blond hair-blue eyed” theory.

Or it’s the lethal phenotype that’s selected against regardless of what gene or combination thereof would be said to be the cause? The absurdity of Dawkins’s view is that it assumes the calculation of utility occurs on the genetic level, not on the level of the phenotype. Rather than the metaphor of a gene calculating pB>C in his altruism theory, the actual calculation is on the phenotypes available to the gene and how well they enable that gene’s perpetuation. Essentially, I think the fatal-slash-one-in-a-million gene you mention is selected against because its result of premature death leads to the vehicle’s failure to reproduce more than whatever beneficial result leads to the vehicle’s success at reproduction. Less new vehicles with the cloned gene will be born, and so it will not be selected, because the premature death caused the gene to be cloned much, much less. The action occurs on the level of what does and does not allow successful reproduction (or other means of cloning the gene), while the genes themselves are merely passive recorders of this happening. Obviously, the whole gene will go, but it’s because of causal factors in the interface of natural selection.

What have I done?

I agree with you, and I suspect Dawkins would too. I don’t think he is arguing that genes are directly selected for each generation, regardless of their phenotype intermediary–which is obviously absurd.

First, I think Dawkins is emphasizing that an organism’s phenotypes don’t control its genetic success over the long run. Phenotypes are too susceptible to being lost in the influx of new genes every generation.

Second, I think Dawkins is trying to shift people’s perspective in a way that makes it easier to observe and comprehend phenomena like altruism.

Consider a primitive tribe that, due to an early mutation, has red hair. For thousands of years, the tribe is structured so that members help one another, but is also constantly at war with outsiders. It is certainly conceivable that these redheaded tribesmen would evolve to prefer red hair instinctively, because being attracted to their allies would benefit their chances of survival. If the tribe rewards altruistic behavior toward fellow tribesmen (with gifts of food and riches) and punishes destructive selfishness (with execution), then one could also imagine tribesmen evolving altruistic tendencies toward fellow redheads.

Once the favor-redheads gene is present in the tribe, I think it probably would function in the pB > C way that Dawkins describes. If one redhead sacrifices his life to save many others in the redhead tribe, that will ultimately help propagate the favor-redheads gene.

Focusing on the organism, rather than the gene, makes it harder to recognize this group-wide chain of causation. But ultimately it just strikes me as a difference in perspective.

It’s not that they’re selected without regard for phenotype, it’s what’s placed at the center or, more directly, which is seen as the active and/or passive component. Basically, the gene’s survival would come down to the exact equation Dawkins posits, the issue is that the calculation isn’t occurring on the genetic level but as that level is played out actively through phenotypes. In Dawkins’s view, genes are given a causal role in selectionl, as opposed to the role of passive recorders of what was selected as those traits manifest on a genetic level. That it is largely a matter of perspective makes it all the more infuriating that Dawkins’s famed “contribution” is essentially a chicken/egg argument and a few oversimplified examinations of things like altruism from that perspective, which I think can actually be a misleading one which inhibits understanding.

By this do you mean escaping mortality?

There are religions that have nothing to do with escaping mortality.

Like what?

Excluding Cult of Kefka, >75% of the religious are:

Christian (heaven/hell)
Islam (heaven/hell)
Buddhist (rebirth)
Hindu (reincarnation)

Highlander (there can be only one)

Shintoism never had any clear views on an afterlife, which may be why Buddhism and its notion of rebirth caught on quickly in Japan.

I escaped after hearing Matthew Alper suggest that religiosity evolved as a coping mechanism to deal with our inability to survive. Suddenly it all made sense.

Not at all. I, personally, don’t ever even think about or dread death.

My question is why want do? Why not just dick around with your time and die someday? Gnomesain?

edit: In fact, why not dick around with your time and NOT die someday? Why not never die never? As a matter of fact, why why?

tredit: As a way of saying that I am going to create a new type of “communication,” and I only use the word communication in the sense that you think about, not mine, I’ll say that I am going to create a new type of “communication.” I’ll call it the Fundaments of Human Language. And I don’t mean Language in the sense of an actual language, I mean it in a fundament-sense. The one obstacle yet to be cleared is whether or not “fundament” IS ACTUALLY A WORD or not. However, I do plan on leaving words behind. However, I’ll need to be clear in my “communication” (in your sense as well as mine) so that people can understand what I’m saying.

My practice, when the idea of my death enters my thoughts, is to say (in the internal monologue) that by the time I will die, I will think differently of it. Therefore, to go on worrying about it would be absurd.

Haha sounds like you worry about it anyways pussy

QFT, pussy.