Re: Sociobiological Concepts

From: Stevan Harnad (
Date: Sun Oct 12 1997 - 17:57:55 BST

> From: gianni valenti <>
> Reproduction is divided into two categories sexual and asexual. The
> latter one seems to be a better fit for the idea that Richard Dawkins
> called "the selfish gene"

Why do you think the "selfish gene" concept fits asexual reproduction
better than sexual?

> As the chance of completely dying out is quite drastic some other
> organisms have evolved an other survival strategy at their own
> expenses: sexual reproduction. This form of reproduction allows the
> organisms to pass on only half of their genetic makeup (which is the
> drawback)
It's not a drwaback if the organism can do it often, and with greater
success than cloning.

> the organism wants to be as
> successful as possible,

The organism is DESIGNED, by its genes, to unconsciously "want" to be
successful at passing on its genes. What the organism WANTS is to eat
when hungry and mate when aroused. This is the distal/proximal
distinction again.

> the partner selection will be on the basis that
> the first organism must believe that to get as far as possible in the
> generation line, the other half of the genetic material must come from
> an other organism believed to be equally or more successful than
> itself. These characteristics are "usually" screened for in the
> courting, but sometimes one of the organism will try to either force
> its genes in the gene pool or have as many partners as possible in
> order to have a higher chance of gene survival.

It's not an organism that tries that: it's one gender of many organisms:
the male.

> What it is hard to grasp is what you called Xeno`s paradox (Achilles
> and the Turtle), how can Achilles never catch up with the tortoise if
> even if the tortoise starts further ahead ?? The only explanation is
> that maybe they are not running the same race or that they both took
> off at different tangents.

I have already posted a reply about this. You might find it interesting
to look at some of the literature on this, on paper or even the Web.
There are several versions of Zeno's paradox. One is the one that seems
to imply that Achilles can never catch up to the turtle (because while
he's catching up to where the turtle was at time t, the turtle moves a
littel further; but while Achilles catches up with that, the turtle
conitnues to move, etc.). Another version is that you can never get
across the room, because you can get across the room, you need
to get half way across the room; but before you can get half way across,
you need to get half of half way across, etc.

There are some standard replies (e.g., as the distance shrinks, the
time to cross it shrinks, so they cancel one another out; another one is
that space is not infinitely divisible, so the shrinking can't go on
indefinitely), but the paradox continues to puzzle.

The logical version of Zeno's Paradox I described again in an earlier

Here's a link to see more puzzles:

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