The Selfish Gene Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What fundamental question does Dawkins want to consider?

2. What type of math does the author discuss that's used to model how real animals behave in the world?

3. What game, played by computers, does Dawkins use as an example of things that can happen automatically based on rules?

4. According to Dawkins, are mistakes in fidelity good or bad?

5. What does Dawkins describe as "intruder retreat" behavior?

Short Essay Questions

1. What happens to genes in sexual reproduction?

2. Explain why Dawkins speculates that cannibalism might make sense within his selfish gene theory.

3. Explain how the Watt Governor uses mechanics to regulate itself.

4. What results in variety in Dawkins' view of early self-copying molecules?

5. In ESS simulations, what happens when a hawk enters a stable group of doves?

6. How are the beginning and end of genes in DNA marked?

7. In war of attrition scenarios, what is the best bet for individual behavior, according to Dawkins' reports?

8. How do animals become active and quicker than plants?

9. Describe "crossing over."

10. According to Dawkins, what happened to self-copying molecules that were less successful?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss Dawkins' ideas about communication as presented in The Selfish Gene.

1) How does Dawkins define communication?

2) What is the role of lying in the natural world and in survival? How does lying relate to Dawkins' ideas in The Selfish Gene?

3) What altruistic roles does communication play? What selfish roles can communication play in the natural world? How does Dawkins refute ideas that communication is essentially altruistic and functions for the good of the species?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss the biological appearance of purpose in The Selfish Gene.

1) Why do biological structures appear like they have a purpose? What examples does Dawkins give of things in nature that appear to have purpose?

2) What examples does Dawkins give of machines and other things that only appear to have purpose?

3) How convincing are Dawkins' arguments that systems can appear to have purpose without actually having intention? Why does Dawkins give these arguments?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the relationship between parents and offspring in Dawkins' book.

1) How are offspring of organisms different than replications of protein molecules? How do organisms relate to their offspring?

2) How much variation is there in the natural world in how parents treat and care for their offspring? How does Dawkins account for this variation?

3) What factors affect parental care for offspring in Dawkins' theory?

(see the answer keys)

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