Richard Dawkins (1941 ...) And the selfish / altruistic gene.

He is an evolutionary biologist well known for his science and his militant atheism. From what I read in his biography, he's six days younger than me. He was born on 26.3.1941. And it seems that he is still active. I sent him on 10.6.2017 a copy of Survival and Altruism but he did not accuse me of receipt. I hope he does when he reads that comment.

As is known, Dawkins in his Selfish gene, proposes genes as active priority subjects of the vital attempt of survival. And from this idea deduces the behavior of the genes themselves as active subjects and beneficiaries. And that of their "survival machines" that would be all living beings used by genes: organized as genetic information, universal and specific to each species, population and individual organism.

The idea is very attractive and has a lot to do with mine. The goal is the same: survival. Now of a collective entity. And the similar mechanism, the iterative reproduction, changes the subject: from genes to species. And living beings-organisms can be qualified as survival machines, and the species as survival systems or units.

But he is right that the species, while trying to survive, is trying to survive the genetic information that the species has in each moment. That is to say, the objective of survival of the species carries with it the objective of survival of the genes. From the originals of LUCA and from which each living individual of each species has transmitted or can transmit to its progeny.

He also succeeds in thinking that each living organism tends to try to make its genes the ones that last. And that is why the laws of natural selection exist. And the protection of the closest descendants as major transmitters of the genes of the parents. Hamilton did an extensive job quantifying preferences according to kinship. The theory was very popular and in principle accepted by many scientists, including E. O. Wilson who later repudiated it.

For my part I believe that he is right in his first statements, but that he does not succeed in considering that the vital mechanism of trying to survive is annulled with the distance of the reproductive organism. And that becomes a fight against the most genetically different organisms, although they are mostly similar because they are of the same species. Organisms are more important than genes in this process and it is they who try to survive. It is what scientists have redefined. Although they have not come to see that individual organisms do not attempt their own survival but that of their species, which is, at the same time, the means by which organisms themselves can live and reproduce.

I do not know if Dawkins has modified his initial hypothesis of Selfish Gene. I think he has been and is more occupied with memes, which are also very interesting. And acting as a militant atheist.

I will try to follow his activities, but I think that until now he has not seen the species as active subjects of the vital attempt of survival. As an active level among the possible existing between the first individual living being and the later groupings. Which according to some may include: proteins, genes, organisms, demes, Mendelian populations, species, clades, tribes, biomass, Life... 

Possibly all these subjects try to survive and are part of the mechanism that attempts to maintain life through the conservation and transmission of vital, genetic and other information. For my part, I have focused on the species because, as a living being-man, I belong to the Sapiens and I'm interested in what happens to this particular species. Above all, if something bad can happen to it because it does not do what it has to do. Or it does not do in the best way possible.

In Marbella, 19.8.18. Revised on 5.10.18


The altruistic gene. Adding of 19.12.2018.


This dawn and without remembering that I had written the above, it occurred to me that the Dawkins hypothesis is another way of seeing the basic idea. That, with this vision, it can be formulated as:

"All living beings have the goal of their genetic information to survive, their genes. And the vital imperative of trying."

 As I have said elsewhere, it is very possible that the "final or quasi-final" vital goal is to maintain life, that is to say that life "survives". For which that must be living beings. Life as a quasi-final goal, because the ultimate goal could be extended to another transcendent level.

This idea would lead to the Ron Hubbard scale that I quote in "Survive. Ideas for a universal ethics" (Page 36) that goes from the self to the infinite or Supreme Being. The scale of its eight dynamic, cited in several of his books, is: oneself, family, groups, to species or humanity, the biosphere or animal kingdom, the spirits or spiritual dynamics and the infinite or Supreme Being.

On the same page I quote Frans de Waal who in "Primates and philosophers"(Paidos, 2007, 205) draws a pyramid in whose vertex indicates "I" and in the following levels down it says: "Family-Clan, Community, Tribe-Nation, Humanity, All forms of life." And in black, as the base of the "Resources" pyramid. At the bottom of the box it indicates: The expanding circle of human morality..." Although he does not say it, he is stating the basic idea.

Also Teilhard de Chardin, after confirming that: "it is preferable to be than not to be", considers Humanity as: "...responsible depositaries for a part of universal energy that must be preserved and propagated…" and that "...we should try mainly that the human mass (sic) retains its internal tension; that is to say, do not let itself be wasted or diminish in it the respect, the love, the fervor of Life". To reach a "Super-humanity" And to the Omega point. (From the comment to "Science and Christ" in my own "Survival. Ideas for a Universal Ethics "Pages 224 to 228).

I have quoted Hawkins after Hubbard, de Waal and Teilhard, to situate our species within what may be the different levels to be considered as strata or partial objectives within the broad scale that goes from the inanimate to the ineffable. Passing through the different strata, or constructs, of entities constituted by living beings, whose task or objective is to be means to conserve and transmit life. 

On this scale, the intermediate levels between the individual organisms (or the human Self) and the species are the Hubbard groups, or the various collectives of de Waal, or the populations of Dobzhansky. That they can be more or less determined and that they can also be evolutionary "targets" in Mayr's terminology. Without going into these possibilities, our subject is the concrete biological species as defined by Mayr, Dobzhanky and Gould.

Those species and Homo Sapiens are the ones that "carry" Dawkins' genes. And those genes, selfish as beneficiaries, have as carriers, as "survival machines" some living, social beings, that in order to survive need to live in society (family, clan, community, tribute, humanity) and for that they must practice some form of altruism. In the case of Man, all those contained in the pyramid of human morality de Waal. And that could be extended to the transcendent Love of the believers to reach the Omega point of Chardin. But this last level is not observable, nor therefore scientifically demonstrable, as are the previous ones up to the species or Fraternal Humanity. Fraterna biologically according to the biologists cited for coming from the same biological parents and for carrying the same selfish and fighting genes of Dawkins. We have discovered that they are, at the same time, altruistic and peaceful genes because of the account they have.

In Madrid, 19.12.2018.