If you have an appetite for evolutionary theory, and enjoy bearing witness to the shift of a long standing paradigm, the three links below make for a hearty feast indeed.
There is a lot to ingest in all this, but this passage leaps out from the article on the selfish gene:
"This gene-centric view, as it is known, is the one you learnt in high school. It’s the one you hear or read of in almost every popular account of how genes create traits and drive evolution. It comes from Gregor Mendel and the work he did with peas in the 1860s. Since then, and especially over the past 50 years, this notion has assumed the weight, solidity, and rootedness of an immovable object."
"But a number of biologists argue that we need to replace this gene-centric view with one that more heavily emphasizes the role of more fluid, environmentally dependent factors such as gene expression and intra-genome complexity — that we need to see the gene less as an architect and more as a member of a collaborative remodelling and maintenance crew."
And from Gregory Wray, biologist, Duke University
‘We’re stuck in an outmoded way of thinking that should have fallen long ago.’
I'm happy to report Natural Dog Training isn't stuck in that way of thinking. When I googled "gene-centric" and "dogs," at least on my browser, only one dog site comes up, Natural Dog Training. So why is only NDT theory consistent with these new aspects of evolutionary theory, as well as the recent inroads physics is making into the nature of cognition and collectivized group behavior? Because all other theories of behavior are gene-centric which means behavior is interpreted in terms of intention. They believe that genes equal information, not that they lock in information. An immediate moment analysis of behavior (emotion as a state of attraction) revealed three decades ago that on the deepest architectural level there is a universal operating system to the animal mind, no matter the species. Therefore, the gene is not the fundamental unit of information, rather, the fundamental unit is the principle of emotional conductivity. This flow principle is the only behavioral theory which is in agreement with the Constructal Law, a new principle of thermodynamics discovered by Adrian Bejan.
Animals are emotional and emotion moves according to the laws of motion and the principles of thermodynamics, what I refer to as the principle of emotional conductivity. And if there is one universal operating system to animal consciousness, what I term "emotosynthesis," then nature evolves as a whole, not as individual organisms locked in a competitive struggle that is refereed by one set of genes proving more or less adaptive than another set of genes. Again this is consistent with the Constructal law. Emotosynthesis, turning energy into information, is as conservative a notion as photosynthesis which turns energy into matter.
Why is gene-centricity important to dog training? Because otherwise one believes in learning by reinforcement as the key to social flexibility, or the equal/opposite notion that instinct is the source of canine sociability. This doesn't mean that you won't be able to train your dog, but it means you won't be able to understand why what works works, and why things might unravel over time because the organizing principle, flow, wasn't properly identified and worked with. A dog doesn't work to replicate his genes, he works to overcome resistance and improve his flow.
<<< Yet another take on evolution, that while still gene-centric, challenges the notion of natural selection as the driving force. Author argues for sheer randomness. May we live in interesting times.