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Dawkins vs. Dyson

  1. Sep 18, 2007 #1
    I ran across this interesting "friendly" exchange between these two titans of modern biology arguing over whether the natural selection happens WITHIN the species (Dawkins) or among groups (Dyson). I'm in no position to be the arbitrator, but I would love to hear some opinions from the people who know a great deal about biology. Whose side would you take?



  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 18, 2007 #2
    Group selection is fundamentally flawed in at least two (maybe even three) ways. It counteracts itself (when GS tries to explain someone, it will be countered by natural selection later), one can apply reductio ad absurdum (why not species or family?) to it and it fails to make sense on a genetic level (why select for sacrifice for someone who do not share your genes or is able to perform reciprocal altruism?). I can expand on the argument in a few hours when I have more time if you wish.

    Even if group selection took place, individual (or gene) selection operates on a much faster time period. Frankly, after reviewing the arguments, I find that altruism, aggression and whatever else data group selection is suppose to explain is better explained by a genetic view rather than a group view.

    To my knowledge, gene selection is mainstream rather than group selection.

    http://www.simonyi.ox.ac.uk/dawkins/WorldOfDawkins-archive/Dawkins/Work/Articles/1994burying_the_vehicle.shtml [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
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