THE SELFISH GENE by Richard Dawkins

THE SELFISH GENE by Richard Dawkins

Author:Richard Dawkins
Language: eng
Format: mobi
Tags: archivio inglese, cover, english
ISBN: 0199291152
Published: 2012-02-07T10:57:51+00:00

Many baby birds are fed in the nest by their parents. They all gape and scream, and the parent drops a worm or other morsel in the open mouth of one of them. The loudness with which each baby screams is, ideally, proportional to how hungry he is. Therefore, if the parent always gives the food to the loudest screamer, they should all tend to get their fair share, since when one has had enough he will not scream so loudly. At least that is what would happen in the best of all possible worlds, if individuals did not cheat. But in the light of our selfish gene concept we must expect that individuals will cheat, will tell lies about how hungry they are. This will escalate, apparently rather pointlessly because it might seem that if they are all lying by screaming too loudly, this level of loudness will become the norm, and will cease, in effect, to be a lie. However, it cannot de-escalate, because any individual who takes the first step in decreasing the loudness of his scream will be penalized by being fed less, and is more likely to starve. Baby bird screams do not become infinitely loud, because of other considerations. For example, loud screams tend to attract predators, and they use up energy.


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