On the Origin of Species - Chapter 7: Instinct Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 7: Instinct Summary and Analysis

The complexity of instinct is grounds for a serious objection to the theory of natural selection, because it seems that behavior as complex and amazing as the skill of bees in building their hives is far too complicated for natural selection to have produced. The term instinct itself is not well-defined, since it covers many very distinct behaviors. It is often used to describe behavior that is done for a purpose that is not intended or understood by the organism doing it. However, there are examples where this would not appear to be the case, but, nonetheless, the behavior is still considered instinctive.

Instinct in some ways can be compared with habit, and this comparison has some evidence in nature. Many activities that are habitual in humans are done almost unconsciously without any clear purpose in mind. In the...

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