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Profil für Matthew W > Rezensionen

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Beiträge von Matthew W
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Matthew W (Portland, OR United States)

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The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene (Popular Science)
The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene (Popular Science)
von Richard Dawkins
Preis: EUR 12,39

8 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen For True Believers its not really that surprising..., 18. September 2000
If you haven't read "The Selfish Gene", stop, go back and read that book. If you really _get_ the message presented there, that replicators (DNA) have built all of the life on earth, then this book is not as revealing as Dawkins seems to think it is. By this, I mean that there are no knew insights, only explanations of how DNA behaves.
I can only suppose that most readers of TSG are not actually aware of the full implications of the idea he presented in that book. If you understand that DNA builds organisms, and that genes cooperate to the extent necessary for each to insure its own continued existence, then the idea that genes in different organisms, species, etc... can cooperate is not surprising.
The reader will definitely learn a lot about how genes cooperate and compete with one another, and for this alone, the book is worth reading. But, if you understand that genes make organisms (when it suits them), and that organisms do not _use_ genes to reproduce themselves, then you may be disappointed to find that this book lacks something that a groundbreaking book like The Selfish Gene necessarily contains.
Still, highly recommended, a powerful exploration of replicator phenomenology.
(Note: if you have read this book, and think I've missed the point, please email me your interpretation, or where you think I've gone wrong.)

The Meme Machine
The Meme Machine
von Susan Blackmore
  Gebundene Ausgabe

3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen We're still special, 25. Juli 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Meme Machine (Gebundene Ausgabe)
To me, this book filled in a gap in my understanding of humans. If you already subscribe to genetic evolution and to sociobiology, you may think meme theory is unnecessary. Many readers will no doubt tend to view Blackmore's thesis as an impressive theory that fits well with the natural world, but that meme's "aren't really what drives us." That genetic evolution, because of its unquestionble sucess (ok, not Kansas) in explaining our biological existence, is also, ultimately, responsible for our culture. What makes this theory so powerful for me is that it claims that humans truely are "different" from other biological organisms. We're not simply different by degree from other animals, we are different in kind. We aren't just smart primates, we are a different kind of primate. This is the most important implication of the theory.
It is not disputed that genes are 'replicators' that make copies of themselves and compete with eachother for a continued existence. What makes this book shocking is its claim that there is a second replicator that dominates our existence (indeed, is partly responsible for it). Ideas spread themselves, and compete for a piece of the limited thought-space in our brains.
Is this just a clever way of explaining humankind's complex behavior, or is it something real?
A friend of mine argued that Meme's couldn't be "real" because they were just the manifestation of our physiology. To this I counter, does this mean that a sound wave is not "real", after all, it's just relative motion of a bunch of air molecules (or what ever medium the wave travels in). I don't want to get into philosophy, because I never see an end to these kinds of debates. But if Meme's aren't real, then I would suggest that gene's aren't real either because they are "just" a bunch of organic molecules (which are just comprised of atoms, which don't really exist, because they are just the manifested behavior of protons, neutrons, and electrons, which themselves are nothing more than...) which happen to get together in a stable form and cause other organic molecules to arrange themselves in the same fashion.... So, if you read the book, you'll see that this human's mind has been colonized by the Meme meme. Happy reading.

Seite: 1