Monday, September 30, 2013

The Problems With The Selfish Gene

Lots of people fail to understand that the "selfish gene" is a metaphor. They criticize Richard Dawkins for promoting the idea that genes can actually take on the characteristics of selfishness.

Andrew Brown and Mary Midgley are prominent examples of people with this kind of misunderstanding and Jerry Coyne has set them straight in Poor Richard’s Almanac: Andrew Brown and the Pope go after The Selfish Gene and “Selection pressures” are metaphors. So are the “laws of physics.”

However, there are two other problem with the metaphor. The first is rather trivial, it refers to the fact that it's actually alleles, or variants, of a gene that are "selfish." Dawkins knows this. He explains it in his book but I don't think he puts enough emphasis on the concept and in most parts of the book he uses "gene" when he should be saying "allele." I grant that The Selfish Allele is not a catchy title.

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Akris - S/S 2014 Show

Time: September 29, 2013 at 6:00 pm
Location: Paris
Models: Alana Zimmer, Amra Cerkezovic, Maja Milosavljevic

Givenchy - S/S 2014 Show

Time: September 29, 2013 at 8:00 pm
Location: Paris
Models: Jourdan Dunn, Lea T, Lais Ribeiro, Sam Rollinson

Chloé - S/S 2014 Show

Time: September 29, 2013 at 4:00 pm
Location: Paris
Casting: Michelle Lee
Models: Ophelie Guillermand, Kasia Struss, Fei Fei Sun

Céline - S/S 2014 Show

Time: September 29, 2013 at 1:00 pm
Location: Paris
Stylist: Camilla Nickerson
Models: Fei Fei Sun, Anna Ewers, Lisa Verberght, Ophelie Guillermand

Kenzo - S/S 2014 Show

Time: September 29, 2013 at 10:00 am
Location: Paris
Models: Fei Fei Sun, Amra Cerkezovic, Irina Nikolaeva, Sasha Luss, Irina Kravchenko

Jean Paul Gaultier - S/S 2014 Show

Time: September 28, 2013 at 7:00 pm
Location: Paris
Models: Sasha Luss, Ophelie Guillermand, Rianne Ten Haken, Alana Zimmer, Lais Ribeiro, Fei Fei Sun

Monday's Molecule #217

Last week's molecule was the 5′ cap structure on eukaryotic mRNA. Lot's of people got it right. The winners were Mark Sturtevant and Jacob Toth [Monday's Molecule #216].

As you know, the general public is very gullible. Millions of people have been duped into taking various supplements on the grounds that these supplements will improve their health and/or correct for a deficiency in their diet. These people will freely donate millions of dollars to the quacks who prey on their stupidity. Today's molecule is one of these supplements. Give the common name and the specific name that identifies this particular variant.

Email your answers to me at: Monday's Molecule #217. I'll hold off posting your answers for at least 24 hours. The first one with the correct answer wins. I will only post the names of people with mostly correct answers to avoid embarrassment. The winner will be treated to a free lunch.

There could be two winners. If the first correct answer isn't from an undergraduate student then I'll select a second winner from those undergraduates who post the correct answer. You will need to identify yourself as an undergraduate in order to win. (Put "undergraduate" at the bottom of your email message.)

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Viktor & Rolf - S/S 2014 Show

Time: September 28, 2013 at 1:30 pm
Location: Paris
Stylist: Marie Amelie-Sauve
Hair: Luigi Murenu
Makeup: Pat McGrath
Models: Fei Fei Sun, Ophelie Guillermand, Sasha Luss, Stina Rapp, Anna Ewers

Haider Ackermann - S/S 2014 Show

Time: September 28, 2013 at 10:30 am
Location: Paris
Models: Auguste Abeliunaite (Opened), Megan Thompson, Irina Kravchenko, Sasha Luss, Alana Zimmer

Maison Martin Margiela - S/S 2014 Show

Time: September 27, 2013 at 6:30 pm
Location: Paris
Models: Anna Ewers, Fei Fei Sun, Irina Kravchenko, Ophelie Guillermand, Lisa Verberght

Sonia Rykiel - S/S 2014 Show

Time: September 27, 2013 at 4:30 pm
Location: Paris
Models: Irina Kravchenko, Irina Nikolaeva, Sam Rollinson

Isabel Marant - S/S 2014 Show

Time: September 27, 2013 at 3:30 pm
Location: Paris
Models: Sasha Luss, Kasia Struss, Anna Ewers

Christian Dior - S/S 2014 Show

Time: September 27, 2013 at 2:30 pm
Location: Paris
Models: Daria Strokous (Opened), Sasha Luss, Milana Kruz, Kasia Struss, Fei Fei Sun, Alana Zimmer, Ophelie Guillermand, Vlada Roslyakova