Midgley on "Selfishness" in Biology

"Trouble centres on the word selfish. For sociobiologists, this word is officially not the name of a motive at all, but a term used to describe a complicated, highly abstract and unfamiliar causal property--the tendency to maximize one's own gene representation in future generations. This is much like using the world cruelty to describe all behavior which will cause suffering to anyone else in any future generation, or the word sloth to describe all that which will fail to affect them. Why such a word should ever have been chosen, if no reference to real selfishness was meant, is hard to imagine." -- Evolution as a Religion, p. 136


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