The Selfish Gene Essay

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The Selfish Gene

"We are survival machines—robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve selfish molecules known as genes."
-- Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene (1).

Can genes alone determine your DNA's place in the next generation? Are humans simply vessels for these genes?

With his provoking work entitled The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins attempts to answer such questions as he proposes a shift in the evolutionary paradigm. Working through the metaphor of a "selfish gene", Dawkins constructs an evolutionary model using a gene as the fundamental unit of selection, opposed to the more commonly accepted belief of the species as the unit of selection.

This "selfish gene", possessing a certain selfish emotional nature,
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Varying schools of philosophical and scientific thought could argue the ethic and biological counterarguments to this theory.

Dawkins' gene is a personified entity, seemingly to the extent that it is an independent being to an extent. The "machines", therefore, are subjected to programming of sorts by the genes. Capable of selfish and altruistic behavior, the gene "reaches" outside of the human body to interact with its environment (3). "With only a little imagination we can see the gene as sitting at the centre of a radiating web of extended phenotypic power," stated Dawkins (3). By granting "phenotypic power", the genotype (as determined by the interaction of genes) behaves in such a manner which dictates the phenotype, or physical expression of the gene. By following this pattern—interaction between the gene and its environment, it is arguable that the environment is actually governing genotypic behavior. By this, the environment is not merely a factor manipulated by the gene, but instead can manipulate the gene itself.

Apply the above reasoning to the concept of genetic "predisposition" to maladies and conditions. In Dawkins theory, only the "strong" genes persist. One, therefore, can perhaps assume that only the most preeminent and healthiest genes exist. Given this predilection for only the genetic superiority, then why do maladies exist? One response could be similar
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