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Dawkins, Professor Richard - Unweaving the Rainbow - Symbiosis



Type of Spiritual Experience


Richard uses the word gene when he really means function.  He says in the same book that genes are for protein synthesis and that is that, so all of the attribution he is talking about here has nothing to do with genes.

Genes can't 'work together' - when have you ever seen a gene leap from its host to shake hands with another gene!  The gene is hardware, what he is talking about here is software.

So in the following for gene read function and system

A description of the experience

Professor Richard Dawkins - Unweaving the Rainbow

Individuals with unfavourable combinations of genes tend to die.  Individuals with favourable combinations tend to pass those genes on to the future.  But it is not the favourable combinations themselves that are passed on in the long term.

Instead, what are passed on are the genes that tend to be good at forming favourable combinations with other genes that the species gene pool has to offer.

Over the generations, whatever else the surviving genes may be good at, they will be good at working together with other genes of the species....

For all we know particular camel genes might be good at co-operating with particular cheetah genes.  But they are never called upon to do so.  Presumably mammal genes are better at cooperating with other mammal genes than with bird genes.

The source of the experience

Dawkins, Professor Richard

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Inherited genes