Stupid is as stupid does

"The argument of this book is that we, and all other animals, are machines created by our genes. Like successful Chicago gangsters, our genes have survived, in some cases for millions of years, in a highly competitive world. This entitles us to expect certain qualities in our genes. I shall argue that he predominant quality to be expected in the successful gene is ruthless selfishness... Let us try to teach generosity and atruism, because we are born selfish." -- Richard Dawkins

How did someone who wrote an entire book of such mind-boggling stupidity become a prominent "intellectual"?

10 comments:

  1. At least he writ it using proper grammar.

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    1. Rob, Siri is not always kind to those who p ost via dictation.

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  2. I guess social cooperation has nothing to do with human survival.

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  3. Gene I was so looking forward to you pinpointing some nonsense in Dawkins, but you haven't spelled it out for us. What exactly is the problem here? I can imagine a number of things, but maybe you're seeing something so glaring that I'm missing it with my microscope.

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    1. Am going to reply in snippets, since Blogger and my iPhone get along so poorly. First of all, Note that "ruthless" And "selfish" Ate terms of evaluation That can be properly applied To moral agents But are nonsensical When applied to a molecule.

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    2. Secondly, let us note that If, as Dawkins suggests, Genes are our masters, It is ridiculous to recommend that we teach something different than what our genes dictate we do.

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    3. And thirdly, note Dawkins entirely invalid move from His preposterous idea that our genes are "selfish" To the notion that WE are "selfish."

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  4. "First of all, Note that "ruthless" And "selfish" Ate (are) terms of evaluation That can be properly applied To moral agents But are nonsensical When applied to a molecule."

    I took him to mean that natural selection necessarily only/mainly allows the ruthless and selfish to survive (and so passing on the genes that make us ruthless and selfish, in case it is a genetically). However I agree it is worded somewhat weird. And no I don't agree with him.

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  5. (1) Alas, Dawkins repudiated the last sentence you quote as poorly worded and not reflecting his actual views, and some time ago too. So it seems unfair to attack on this.

    (2) the “selfish gene” is a metaphor. Richard Dawkins does not, as far as I understand, think genes are selfish in the literal sense.

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    1. 1) Well, he still wrote it. And even he agrees it is bad!

      2) 'the “selfish gene” is a metaphor.'
      As Midgley notes, this is common with the sociobiological crew: they make claims which heavily rely upon taking traits like "selfish" in the usual sense, but when called on it, fall back on "just a metaphor!" She documents many case of this.

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