Genes Will Survive Even If Most Humans Do Not

Oct 21, 2014

Photo: Mopic / Alamy

By Donald A Collins

In our July 23, 2014 lunch at our home with the Darwinist/atheist, Richard Dawkins, and his colleague, Robyn Blumner, Executive Director of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, my wife, Sally and I of course discussed many subjects, but perhaps the most illuminating for me was to refer to his long gestating book, “The Selfish Gene” which he initially joked about as “my best seller”, long before it became a real best seller which it did in 1976.

Just for clarity’s sake in that book, Dawkins describes our genes thusly: “The genes are the immortals….(they) have an expectation of life that must be measured not in decades but in thousands and millions of years.

“In sexually reproducing species, the individual is too large and too temporary a genetic unit to qualify as a significant unit of natural selection. The group of individuals is an even larger unit. Genetically speaking, individuals and groups are like clouds in the sky or dust storms in the desert. They are temporary aggregations or federations.” He notes such populations can last a long while but any “population is not a discrete enough entity to be a unit of natural selection, not stable and unitary enough to be “selected” in preference of another population”.

In this seminal volume, he makes the case for the survival of genes, not specific creatures, which of course include humans. In the process, he attacks prior theories of evolution which say that evolution always seeks to produce better results, better creatures!

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