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 happens in inversion?

2. Does the author believe that all people should act selfishly?

3. In Dawkins' description, how does a retaliator behave?

4. How does the author define intelligent life?

5. What does the author suggest might be better wording than "survival of the fittest"?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What does Dawkins say would happen if a selfish member of a species were born into a species of unselfish members?

3. What does Dawkins have to say about the phrase "to ensure the survival of the species?"

4. What is a cistron?

5. How do genes directly and indirectly control behavior?

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

7. What does Dawkins say that the book will tell about the argument of nature versus nurture?

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

9. Explain what a prober-retaliator is.

10. What two ways does Dawkins picture that the first self-copying molecule might copy itself?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss aggression within a species in Dawkins' book.

1) Why does Dawkins raise the question of cannibalism as a potentially viable food source for species, and what are his conclusions about the question?

2) How does Dawkins analyze aggression between members of a species? Are his arguments convincing?

3) What various personality types does Dawkins identify in regard to aggression? How simplified is this model compared to the natural world?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss Darwin's treatment of siblings in The Selfish Gene.

1) In what ways are siblings in competition? Why doesn't competition between siblings typically escalate to deadly competition?

2) In what ways do siblings cooperate or benefit each other?

3) How do the relationships between siblings vary between species in the natural world, and how does this relate to Dawkins' overall theory.

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the role of game theory in Dawkins' book.

1) What is game theory? How does it allow scientists to look at systems in the natural world?

2) Why does Dawkins use game theory to support his arguments about the selfish gene? How convincing is the support that Dawkins provides using game theory?

3) What are the limitations of game theory in analyzing natural systems?

(see the answer keys)

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