The Selfish Gene Test | Final 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 does Wynne-Edwards believe about birth rates?

2. Who does Dawkins' idea of AI expand the idea of PI to include?

3. In Dawkins' discussion, what is the detriment of raising offspring, if there is something wrong with it?

4. What does Dawkins cite Medawar's study to help explain?

5. According to the relatedness calculations in the book, is a child more closely related to a sibling or an uncle?

Short Essay Questions

1. What theory about parental suffering for children's success does Dawkins describe?

2. What factors does Dawkins mention that affect the human birthrate and population?

3. According to Dawkins, in what ways does weaning benefit an older child?

4. Does Dawkins agree or disagree with the theory about parental suffering for children's success, and why?

5. What may happen to guillemot eggs, and what is the adaptation of guillemots to deal with this?

6. What factors does Dawkins mention that weigh into caring for older versus younger offspring?

7. Explain the conflict between Wynne-Edwards and Dawkins over territory behavior.

8. What two possible explanations for the behavior of the baby swallow observed by the Spanish researchers does Dawkins present?

9. What explanation does Zahavi propose for stotting?

10. How does Dawkins describe female cells versus male cells?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss hive behavior in Dawkins' book.

1) How does Dawkins' idea of the selfish gene explain the behavior of hives and of sterile individuals in a species?

2) Why does Dawkins discuss hive behavior and the behavior of insects? Why does he only devote a part of a chapter to this discussion?

3) How much variation is there in insect behavior? How much variation is there between insect behavior and other types of animal organisms? How does this variation affect Dawkins' ideas?

Essay Topic 2

One of Dawkins' primary premises is that the good of the individual is what organisms strive for, not the good of the species. Discuss the conflict between the individual and the species in The Selfish Gene.

1) Why are individuals representative of their genes?

2) What is Dawkins' central argument for selfishness of individuals within a species? Why does the selfishness of genes translate to the selfishness of individuals?

3) What are the arguments that other scientists pose for individuals acting for the good of the species, and how does Dawkins counter those arguments?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the origin of life as Dawkins presents it in The Selfish Gene.

1) Why is the origin of life, as Dawkins presents it, not something that still happens? How do the first replicator proteins come into being?

2) What elements in the environment lead to the development of replicator proteins into organisms?

3) How is the existence of early proteins as Dawkins presents it in ancient seas similar to and different from the existence of organisms in the natural world today?

(see the answer keys)

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