(Copyright © 2000 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
This is one of the books that introduced new methods of thinking about life, behavior and evolution. Dawkins argues that the gene is the fundamental unit of evolution. Genes drive evolution and genes drive behavior.
Darwin's assumption that natural selection favors those individuals best fitted to survive and reproduce can be restated as: natural selection favors those genes that replicate through many generations.
The level at which selection occurs is not that of the individual organism, but that of particular stretches of genetic material. Organisms are merely the means that genes use to perpetuate copies of themselves.
The universe is dominated by stable structures. And one particular stable structure is a molecule that makes copies of itself.
Dawkins proves with a number of examples at all levels that selfishness is pervasive in nature.
Dawkins also introduces the concept of "memes", the analogous of genes for cultural transmission. A meme is an idea that replicates itself from mind to mind, such as a slogan or a refrain or a proverb. Memes behave in a very similar way to genes.