Altruism and Selfish Genes: Is anyone really ‘good’?

HL Biologists should  be able to tackle this topic during Option E: Neurobiology and Behaviour.

Knowledge Question: 

  • How can we know if the altruistic actions of an individual are truly only in the interest of the recipient?

Discuss the following:

  • What is altruism and how does it benefit the gene?
  • How does altruism originate and propagate in populations?
  • What is the difference between kin selection and reciprocal altruism?

We need to know examples in other animals. In Dawkins’ video, he explores a more TOK-related link to knowledge and ethics. Are we truly unselfish or is our kindness a veneer to promote our own reproductive fitness?

In what ways has Dawkins’ term ‘Selfish Gene‘ been misunderstood in general discussion?

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