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  • MR T
  • Bristol
  • United Kingdom

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Are there any human behaviours that can't be logically derived from selfish gene promotion?

We do it with animals in biology all the time, we study animals and realise that the more closely related they are, the more likely they are to help each other. So why, if humans arose under the same conditions (evolution) should we treat ourselves any differently in study?. Arrogance?

Take sharing between friends, one friend shares with another in a time of excess, so that in a time of inexcess the other might reciprocate. This way both fair better than they would alone. Could this be a 'selfish' act?.


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  • Nov 5 2013: I would say not, but not because "selfish gene promotion" is valid. It's because "selfish gene promotion" is such a broad model that it is meaningless. When something explains everything, it explains nothing. It just becomes magical hand-waving. "Selfish gene" models need to be historically evaluated. It's really just another form of social darwinism. You might say it is the individualistic form of social darwinism, in contrast to the more conventional collectivist social darwinism. When it was a new theory, it has some value, but it looks like the reality is somewhere between a selfish and a group model.
    • MR T

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      Nov 7 2013: "When something explains everything, it explains nothing."

      What? please expand
      • Nov 8 2013: "Selfish gene" is like saying "God's will" for everything. It explains everything but actually explains nothing. It's a cover-all "explanation" that does not give any models or mechanisms that can be tested.
        • MR T

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          Nov 8 2013: Incorrect.

          Have a read of 'the selfish gene' by Richard Dawkins, within are hundreds of examples of mechanisms that have been tested.

          Explaining everything and nothing is a logical fallacy
      • Nov 8 2013: I have read "The Selfish Gene"--it was already ten years old when I got to it. In its day, it was useful, but the idea has since been overextended so very far that it is now a meaningless non-model. EVERYTHING gets some yoyo trying to "explain" it by the "selfish gene" model. It's a 40-year-old work, and science moves on. I'm not speaking theoretically. I am a working scientist.
        • MR T

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          Nov 8 2013: So after denying the existence of evidence to support the theory, you are now accepting that it does exist and that you have seen it, but you have decided to discount the evidence because its old?


          What does overextended mean?
      • Nov 8 2013: Just resume worshiping a man as if he were a god. Science doesn't work the way you think it does. I stated that the "selfish gene" model, in the present tense, is not valid. The present tense. At one time, it may have been valid, but it has been applied willy-nilly and so blindly to attempt to "explain" ever possible behavior that it is now just invoked like some sort of religious mantra--it's now meaningless. Science is not about finding forever-and-ever-amen dogmas. It's about building models then discarding them when their limits become too unwieldy. How much biology have you done professionally, anyway?
        • MR T

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          Nov 8 2013: So again your saying the theory is worthless because its old. And I sense some aggravation in your response.

          Quit pattering on about fashion and come up with some actual reasons as to why I'm wrong.

          If I have practiced biology ten minutes longer than you have, it has no bearing on who is right and who is wrong. I don't think a who's dick is bigger contest would be particularly relevant.
      • Nov 9 2013: I did not say the theory is no longer valid because it is "old", I have said that it is invalid because, as a result of historical processes, it has become the biological equivalent of "It's all God's Will". When EVERYTHING can be explained by a model, that model ceases to have any use, because you can't explain why X is not 100% EXACTLY the same as Y. Any actual scientist, as opposed to a wannabe or groupie, already knows this and doesn't have to have it explained to them. It's like somebody going into a garage and nattering on to mechanics about what kind of carbeurators this year's new American automobiles are going to have.
        • Nov 10 2013: What "historical processes" drove to the selfish gene's theory becoming a theory of everything? What kind of scientist would judge the validity of a theory based on "historical processes"?

          Ipse dixit. You present some ridiculous claim with an all-knowing attitude and expect your opponent to present his credentials in order to see if he has the right to disagree with you. That kind of speaks for itself. Not every evolutionary biologist agreed or agrees with Dawkins. For example, Frans de Waal does not agree with him. But De Waal does not agree for reasons other than "it explains everything". "Explaining everything" means that the theory is compatible with every observed outcome and also that it predicts every observed outcome. So you are basically saying that when physicists will develop a theory of everything (which they are striving to do), they will have to throw it away, since by definition, it has become too broad.

          So, give us an example of experimental, observational evidence that contradicts the predictions of selection at the gene level (what Dawkins is arguing actually).
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        Nov 16 2013: I'd like to make a comment - "Everything" means only a manmade concept, a collective idea, that is absolutely impossible to truly perceive by anyone. If one tryes to perceive "Everything" in whole he perceives "nothing".

        We may perceive something, but only as individual minds, and through tremendously limited perceptions. There is no real wholeness, completeness or endlessness ever possible within, or without our existence - the world is new and entirely different in every instant, it cannot be ever stopped for observing "Everything".

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