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. How does Dawkins postulate that animals judge relatedness?

2. What did Spanish researchers see a baby swallow do?

3. How does a mother protecting a child promote the selfish gene theory?

4. In the example Dawkins gives, why do some ants grow a plant?

5. What does Dawkins mean by a "selfish gene?"

Short Essay Questions

1. What examples does Dawkins give of male animals resisting raising offspring that's not their own?

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

3. Why, from the standpoint of the selfish gene, is it more beneficial to save five siblings than five cousins?

4. Explain Dawkins' interpretation of the affects of overpopulation on female mice.

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

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

7. Does Dawkins put forth any ideas by Wynne-Edwards that he agrees with?

8. What is Hamilton's explanation of how herds are formed?

9. What possible explanation for viruses does Dawkins give?

10. Why does Dawkins say mothers are more altruistic to their children than fathers?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss the distinctions between humanity and other species in Dawkins' work.

1) In Dawkins' book, how does he treat humanity similarly to and differently from other species?

2) What does Dawkins believe makes humanity unique? How does this relate to Dawkins' theory of the selfish gene?

3) What implications does Dawkins' theory have for human beings?

Essay Topic 3

The opposite of selfishness is altruism, and Dawkins argues that many seemingly altruistic behaviors actually originate with the selfishness of genes. Discuss altruism in Dawkins' book.

1) What altruistic behaviors does Dawkins attribute to selfish genes? How convincing are his arguments?

2) What is "altruism"? Is there such a thing as true "altruism?"

3) How can altruism function for the good of the individual or for the good of the individual's genes?

(see the answer keys)

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