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← The Descent of Edward Wilson (with Polish translation)

Zeuglodon's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by Zeuglodon

Yes to the second (sexually-reproducing organisms are a tiny minority), but the argument works whether organisms sexually reproduce or not, because it's gene-centred, not organism-centred.

Sorry, kriton, this was badly worded on my part. What I should have said is that the criterion for identical copies does superficially work on individuals when the population includes clone bodies, because their copies do look similar. However, the argument for individuals being the replicating entity falls down because of sexual reproduction - body structures change dramatically as a result so that each body is unique, not identical. Sexual reproducers may be a minority, but they make it harder to insist on the individual being the replicating entity, and they also show us that the genes are responsible for the phenotypes. What Dawkins should have said was that no one can say individuals are always the replicator.

Thu, 24 May 2012 19:24:32 UTC | #943337