Selfish Ddefinition & mortality

Francis Heylighen fheyligh at
Wed Feb 17 06:00:05 EST 1993

Subject: Selfish Ddefinition & mortality

In article <1993Feb16.145131.973 at> Cary O'Donnell,
>Someone else said:
>>   But the
>>   "selfish gene" view seems to preclude any argument that would make
>>   mortality necessary. 
>Ouch!!! You surely don't mean that a "selfish gene", by definition, must
>prefer immortality of the body?
>A selfish gene is only interested in making copies of itself. The
>is usually one of doing better than its rival genes. As long as the gene 
>reproduces, mortality of the body is irrelevant.

That is exactly what I said (perhaps you should read more carefully
before jumping to conclusions). I certainly did not say that selfish
genes prefer immortality: they prefer maximal replication, and that seems
to be easier by increasing the number of offspring at an early age than
by increasing the maximal age.

Dr. Francis Heylighen                                Systems Researcher
PO, Free University of Brussels, Pleinlaan 2, B -1050 Brussels, Belgium
Phone:+32-2-6412525; Fax:+32-2-6412489; Email: fheyligh at

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