RE: Abstractism

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Tue Jan 29 2002 - 09:37:13 GMT

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    At 01:12 PM 28/01/02 -0800, "Grant Callaghan" <>


    >I've heard that the "gene" concept has several problems that obscure a
    >clear picture of what a gene is.


    Dawkins wrestles with this problem at great length in (I think) _Extended
    Phenotype._ Genes in some ways are even more of a problem than memes are
    because any stretch of DNA can be split and spliced in the process of
    crossover and reduction to form sex cells.

    The long discourse Dawkins goes through is worth reading even if he never
    comes to an entirely satisfactory statement of what a gene is because of
    all sorts of corner cases in, for example birds. He finally comes to an
    operational definition that a gene is a stretch of chromosome which stays
    in one piece "long enough" to affect (through the bodies it builds) its own

    Keith Henson

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