May 22, 2010

at Saturday, May 22, 2010 Labels: Posted by Billy

The Selfish Gene does a marvelous job explaining the core concepts of
evolution for the lay person. It begins with the predominate theory of
how life began in the primordial soup. It then explains how the first
replicators became the genes that make up our DNA and how the natural
environment shapes evolution by pruning the most adaptive and
advantageous of those genes.

Genes are responsible for manufacturing organisms to help them
replicate. They affect not only its own organism, but the surrounding
environment and other organisms. The book explains how the genes
affect the organisms behavior, and how the behavior of a population of
species follows an Evolutionary Stable Strategy (ESS). The book's
title refers to the concept that genes are really looking after
themselves first, but it also explains how altruistic behavior can
arise from the gene's selfishness. The author adamantly proposes that
we are the first species that can defy our genes and oppose the
ruthless nature of natural selection to make the world a better,
friendlier place.

It worries me that many people are ignorant of evolution. Never once
did my high school offer a class on the topic. In my opinion, everyone
should be familiar with the concepts because I believe it's important
to know how we came to be. I recommend this book to everybody.