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Buy Complete Document: AbstractAbstract Full Text Full Text
Rediscovering the gene genius
[1 Edition]
Sunday Herald - Glasgow (UK)
Author: Morton, Brian
Date: Apr 4, 1999
Start Page: 6
Abstract (Document Summary)

The Darwin Wars: How Stupid Genes Became Selfish Gods by Andrew Brown; Simon & Schuster, #12.99 The Meme Machine by Susan Blackmore; Oxford University Press, #18.99 Lamarck's Signature: How retrogenes are changing Darwin's natural selection paradigm by Edward J Steele, Robyn A Lindley, Robert V Blanden; Alen & Unwin, no price indicated Reviewed by Brian Morton How do big ideas grow out of one another? What is their parentage, their inheritance and how do they pass it on, one to another, through the generations? Answering these questions means reaching for biological metaphors, almost because they seem the only tenable ones left.

Yet the whole question of how ideas grip the minds of individuals and masses is increasingly being informed by a particular approach - natural selection and evolutionary theory. We are turning with regularity to the most important intellectual enterprise of the last 2000 years - the theory riskily, but unshakably, attributed to Charles Darwin. In The Darwin Wars, Andrew Brown offers a tiny example which points to the extraordinary reach and pervasiveness of the Darwinian project. In an episode of The X-Files, Mulder rebuts partner Scully's assertion that evolution works by steps. It works by leaps, he says, and delivers a Darwinian homily on what he pompously miscalls "punctual" - it's "punctuated" - equilibrium, the idea popularised by Stephen Jay Gould. Mulder, you'll be surprised to hear, believes in "cataclysmic" and "unimaginable" evolutionary change.

Buy Complete Document: AbstractAbstract Full Text Full Text

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