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Creatures of Cain$
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Erika Lorraine Milam

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691181882

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691181882.001.0001

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The New Synthesis

The New Synthesis

Chapter:
(p.235) 13 The New Synthesis
Source:
Creatures of Cain
Author(s):

Erika Lorraine Milam

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691181882.003.0014

This chapter discusses new understandings of humanity from the 1960s onward. It shows how a particular group of scientists struggled with the question of human nature by conceiving of natural and sexual selection as acting at the level of individuals, who in turn served as genetic-information processing units. A trait could not spread in a population unless it conferred some advantage to the individuals who possessed it, allowing them to contribute more copies of their genes to the next generation of that population than other individuals. These struggles are furthermore framed within a period when sociobiology was just starting to get a foothold in academics.

Keywords:   sociobiology, natural selection, trait, genes, sexual selection, academics, humanity, human nature

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