Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

The author is definitely a "spiritual person", he's a Buddhist monk and the french translator for the Dalai Lama. But he is also very scientifically minded. He has a PHD in cellular genetics from the institute pasteur[1].

One of the central themes of the book, and motivators for the author to write, is to address the contrast between other oriented (altruistic) and self oriented (selfish) societies. The author asserts that in the western fields of psychology, theories of evolution, and economics, it's often taken for granted that an individual's deeds, words, and thoughts are motivated by selfishness. To the extent that this assumption has nearly become dogma. The 868 page book, including a massive 160+ pages of notes, and bibliographies systematically lay out the scientific arguments against "the hypothesis of human selfishness".

You can read the sections of the book that specifically address "the selfish gene" with the following google search [2].

[1]: https://www.pasteur.fr/en/education/programs-and-courses/doc...

[2]: https://books.google.com/books?id=1k_2AwAAQBAJ&printsec=fron...




From the links, it seems like his main criticism of Dawkins is actually merely the word "selfish" in the title of his book, and that the CEO of Enron liked it?

Yes, Dawkins is saying that "universal love" does not have an evolutionary component, which seems like a fairly uncontroversial claim.

It seems like your criticism of Dawkins is more a criticism of how other people have misunderstood him, rather than any criticism of the arguments in The Selfish Gene itself?

If you haven't, I highly suggest you read Jonathan Haidt's "The Righteous Mind". While it's at a popular level, it does a fairly good job at presenting a plausible framework for how moral behavior (like altruism) can emerge from evolutionary principles. [1] Haidt is probably one of the most influential moral psychologists today.

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Righteous-Mind-Divided-Politics-Relig...


Thank you, I'm familiar with the book you are recommending - the righteous mind. It is discussed in Altruism and cited in its bibliography. [1]

I get the impression you've decided to take a stance on the book Altruism without reading it. The summary you provide for Rightous mind could work just as well as a summary for Altruism too. At this point, we aren't even disagreeing, we're just citing different sources, and I'm content to just drop it.

https://books.google.com/books?id=1k_2AwAAQBAJ&printsec=fron...




Applications are open for YC Winter 2021

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: