Joan Roughgarden, Professor of Biology at Stanford University, will discuss her new book, The Genial Gene: Deconstructing Darwinian Selfishness. Building on her book Evolution's Rainbow, "in which she challenged accepted wisdom about gender identity and sexual orientation," Roughgarden upends the notion of the selfish gene and the theory of sexual selection and develops a compelling and controversial alternative theory called social selection. This scientifically rigorous, model-based challenge to an important tenet of neo-Darwinian theory emphasizes cooperation, elucidates the factors that contribute to evolutionary success in a gene pool or animal social system, and vigorously demonstrates that to identify Darwinism with selfishness and individuality misrepresents the facts of life as we now know them.
Joan Roughgarden is Professor of Biology at Stanford University. She is the author of Evolution's Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People (UC Press), Evolution and Christian Faith, and Primer of Ecological Theory.
The Genial Gene: Deconstructing Darwinian Selfishness author Joan Roughgarden challenges Darwin's theory of sexual selection in regard to the peacock. The peacock's tail, according to Darwin, attracts peahens as a marker of superior genes. Roughgarden contradicts the theory, citing studies of peahens disregarding males' plumage.