Cheap The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene (Popular Science) Price
   
Cheap The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene (Popular Science) Price
Cheap The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene (Popular Science) Price  

Cheap The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene (Popular Science) (Book) (Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett) Price

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AUTHOR: Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett
CATEGORY: Book
MANUFACTURER: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0192880519
TYPE: Evolution (Biology), Gene expression, Genetics, Life Sciences - Evolution, Life Sciences - Genetics & Genomics, Natural selection, Science, Science/Mathematics, Evolution, Genetics (non-medical), Science: General Issues
MEDIA: Paperback
# OF MEDIA: 1

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Customer Review of The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene (Popular Science)
Very Good, also very difficult
Richard Dawkins is one of the most interesting popular science writers working today, and usually his books are filled with insight and perception about evolution (and other topics), written in clear and effective prose. This book is different from most of Dawkins's books, as it targets biologists rather than laypeople, and so it is a much more frustrating and difficult reading for such readers.

Frankly, if you are, like me, a lay person, don't read this book before reading other books by Dawkins, most notably The Selfish Gene, but also other stuff by him. I doubt I would have understood this book had it been my introduction to Dawkins's ideas. The glossary, though helpful, is far from complete and rarely detailed enough.

But for all this, The Extended Phenotype is richer in observations and ideas then any other book by Dawkins I have ever read. Dawkins says this is his best book, and you can see that he has a point.

The book has three main themes. The first is discussion of left over issues from The Selfish Gene, answering criticism and elaborating on the ideas in that book. The second is clarifying some issues in discussion of evolution, such as replicators and vehicles, fitness, etc. The third one, and the one for which Dawkins is most proud is his 'Extended Phenotype' - the concept that genes operate on the enviornment, and that the body (the individual organism) is a link in the chain of orders passing from DNA to the external phenotype - beaver dams or host behaviour that helps the parasite, or any other activity that helps the genes.

Frankly, the concept of the extended phenotype is best explained in the chapter about 'The Long reach of the gene' in the new (1989) edition of 'The Selfish Gene'. The book is actually best when Dawkins deals with the two other themes -difining genes for example, and discussing replicators. Those chapters are masterworks of clear, essential thinking, of which Dawkins is always a champion.

Finally, one would wish that the book was updated. Many discussions are based on information that at the time was brand new, and follow up would be useful. uinfortunately, Dunnet's afterword does not do the trick, and is more of a hymn to Dawkins (albeit a justified one) than anything else.

'The Extended Phenotype' is not an easy read, but it is definetly worth it.


For True Believers its not really that surprising...
If you haven't read "The Selfish Gene", stop, go back and read that book. If you really _get_ the message presented there, that replicators (DNA) have built all of the life on earth, then this book is not as revealing as Dawkins seems to think it is. By this, I mean that there are no knew insights, only explanations of how DNA behaves.

I can only suppose that most readers of TSG are not actually aware of the full implications of the idea he presented in that book. If you understand that DNA builds organisms, and that genes cooperate to the extent necessary for each to insure its own continued existence, then the idea that genes in different organisms, species, etc... can cooperate is not surprising.

The reader will definitely learn a lot about how genes cooperate and compete with one another, and for this alone, the book is worth reading. But, if you understand that genes make organisms (when it suits them), and that organisms do not _use_ genes to reproduce themselves, then you may be disappointed to find that this book lacks something that a groundbreaking book like The Selfish Gene necessarily contains.

Still, highly recommended, a powerful exploration of replicator phenomenology.

(Note: if you have read this book, and think I've missed the point, please email me your interpretation, or where you think I've gone wrong.)


Why Will Dawkins not admit he's wrong
Dawkins refuses to let it go. Astrobiology and microbiology is pushing the final nail in the coffin of this ultra-Darwinist garbage. BUT, Dawkins refuses to let it go, using same flawed reasoninng to back his claims. It is time to abandon the current evolutionary paradigm, and ebrace the more than plausible models that have been pushed away by dogma of ultra-Darwinists.

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