New Meetup: September Meetup--"The Selfish Gene" by Richard Dawkins

From: Megan
Sent on: Sunday, August 23, 2009 9:18 PM
Announcing a new Meetup for The Science Book Club Meetup Group!

What: September Meetup--"The Selfish Gene" by Richard Dawkins

When: September 20,[masked]:00 PM

Where:
Cosi
11909 Democracy Dr
Reston, VA 20190
[masked]

Our first meeting was such a raging success, in my point of view. I highly encourage those who weren't able to attend to join us! Even beyond discussing the book, it was fantastic to get together with so many other science "nerds". A few of us went to Jackson's to get drinks afterwards spur-of-the-moment, which I will plan for and invite the whole group to next time! Soooo, next month....

"The Selfish Gene" by Richard Dawkins
This book, considered a classic in the fields of genetics and evolution by many biologists, was first published in 1976. There was a 30th anniversary edition published in 2006 with updates and annotations--I recommend, if possible, that you try to buy or borrow this later edition.

From the description on Wikipedia:
The Selfish Gene is a book on evolution by Richard Dawkins, published in 1976. It builds upon the principal theory of George C. Williams's first book Adaptation and Natural Selection. Dawkins coined the term "selfish gene" as a way of expressing the gene-centred view of evolution, which holds that evolution is best viewed as acting on genes and that selection at the level of organisms or populations almost never overrides selection based on genes. An organism is expected to evolve to maximize its inclusive fitness?the number of copies of its genes passed on globally (rather than by a particular individual). As a result, populations will tend towards an evolutionarily stable strategy. The book also coins the term meme for a unit of human cultural evolution analogous to the gene, suggesting that such "selfish" replication may also model human culture, in a different sense. Memetics has become the subject of many studies since the publication of the book.

The book was extremely popular when first published, caused "a silent and almost immediate revolution in biology", and continues to be widely read. It has sold over a million copies, and has been translated into more than 25 languages. Proponents argue that the central point, that the gene is the unit of selection, usefully completes and extends the explanation of evolution given by Charles Darwin before the basic mechanisms of genetics were understood. Critics argue that it oversimplifies the relationship between genes and the organism. Mathematical biologists' initial relationship with the ideas in the book was, according to Alan Grafen, "at best difficult" due to what Grafen postulates is a reliance solely on Mendelian genetics by these biologists.

Learn more here:
http://www.meetup.com/The-Science-Book-Club-Meetup-Group/calendar/11182198/

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