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Conservatives try to use "biology" to attack gays [again]

Hannah Dvorak hdvorak at cns.caltech.edu
Mon Jun 23 11:25:10 EST 1997

In article <33aaf630.0 at seashell.california.com>, holson at california.com says...
[rest snipped]

>        How? Just imagine a young primate who rescues two brothers
>but dies himself in the process. Simple-minded "naturalists" would say
>that any gene that made it possible for the primate to rescue his
>brothers (rather than ignore their plight) should be wiped out with
>his death. But brothers (and sisters) share Half their genes.
>This means that the 2 brothers saved collectively possess ALL the
>genes of their rescuer brother. Thus , at least ONE of the rescued
>brothers would share the "altruistic gene" and that gene would

Not exactly.  Yes, siblings share half their genes.  However,
this means that there is a 75% chance that one of the two brothers
in this scenario carries the "altruistic gene".  Why?  Because
the first brother has a 50% chance of carrying it, as does the
second brother.  The chance of neither carrying it is therefore
(1/2 x 1/2) = 25%.  So there's a 75% of one or both carrying it.

This quibble, however, does not diminish the original poster's
point of the irony of creationists trying to use evolutionary
arguments to support their pseudoscientific (not to mention
obnoxious) views.

Hannah Dvorak-Carbone
Division of Biology 216-76
California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125

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