Paragraph Completion- The Selfish Gene

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Paragraph Completion - The Selfish Gene

In his book, The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins puts forth the radical theory that all living creatures are essentially vehicles for their genes, and exist merely to transmit and propagate their genes._____________________________________________________In fact, Dawkins later wrote that his choice of the word “selfish” was wrong, since it attributed an anthropomorphic quality to what is essentially a bunch of chemicals. A better term, he thought, would have been “the immortal gene”.

Choose the option which fits in best in the given blank:

  1. Only when individuals behave in their genetic self-interest and form alliances, genes are passed on for species to survive.
  2. Genes are not sentient; they passes through bodies and affect them, but are not affected by them on the way through.
  3. Dawkins’s proposition is that pure altruistic behavior has never helped anyone in the history of any species.
  4. Genes may be willing to abandon the individual to replicate themselves.

    • Correct Answer
      Choice B

    Detailed Solution

    The first line of the paragraph explains the radical theory proposed by Richard Dawkins in his book, The Selfish Gene, that all living creatures merely exist to transmit and propagate their genes. The lines after the missing one explain that Dawkins later regretted his choice of the word “selfish” and thought that “immortal” was a better word to describe the genes as they are essentially chemicals, without human qualities.

    Now of the given options to fill the blank, option D is ruled out straight away as it seems unrelated to the paragraph given.

    Option A states that species survive only when individuals behave in genetic self-interest, forming alliances so that their genes are passed on. While this seems to add to the first line, it does not gel well with the ideas in the next two lines, of genes merely being chemicals, without any anthropomorphic qualities.

    Option C is not a good choice to fill the blank for the same reason that option A is not: it adds to the description of genes as “selfish” and so does not hook up effectively with the next two lines of the paragraph.

    Option B, on the other hand, declares that genes are not sentient (i.e. capable of emotion) and that while they affect living organisms, they are not affected by them in turn. This option adds to the first line, while at the same time links to the next idea in the paragraph that genes are not selfish, but immortal. So option B is a good choice to fill the blank.

    Correct Answer: Choice (b)

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