LIFESCI 3C03 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Orgasm, The Selfish Gene, Fuel

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Published on 3 Oct 2015
Monday, February 2, 2015
Selfish Gene!
Chapter 4
-Selection has favoured genes that cooperate with others. !
-Muscle/engine analogy - muscles like the steam engine use energy stored in
chemical fuel to generate mechanical movement. Immediate mechanical force of a
muscle is generated in the form of tension, rather than gas pressure. But muscles are
likely engines in that they often exert their force on cords (tendons) and levers
(bones) with hinges (joints). !
-Neurones are just cells, with a nucleus and chromosomes like other cells. But their
cell walls are drawn out in long thing wire like projections.One particularly long wire
called axon, bundled together in thick multi stranded cables called nerves. !
-The main way in which brains actually contribute to the success of survival machines
is by controlling and coordinating the contractions of muscles. Need cables leading to
the muscles —> motor nerves!
-Brain is connected to sense organs by sensory neurones.!
-One of the most striking properties of survival machine behaviour is its apparent
purposiveness. This purposiveness has evolved the property we call consciousness. !
-Genes control the behaviour of their survival machines; they set it up beforehand and
then the survival machine is on its own. !
-Genes work by controlling protein synthesis, it is a powerful way of manipulation the
world. But it is slow. It takes months of patiently pulling protein strings to build an
embryo. !
-Genes can only do their best in advance by building a fast executive computer for
themselves. !
-Every decision a survival machine makes it a gamble !
-One way for genes to solve the problem of making predictions in rather unstable
environments is to build in a capacity for learning. I.E. - Repeat anything followed by
nice thing (smile, orgasm, sweet) and don’t repeat anything following by a bad thing.
(Pain, frown, etc.)!
-Simulation - imagining what would happen if you did x or y!
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