So, does the Dawkinsian replicator actually replicate?
Well, in my terms, actors clearly replicate (that is part of their definition). S-lineages, on the other hand, certainly need not do so. Of course, to have a sustained evolutionary process, new S-lineages have to come regularly into existence; and one can certainly describe this in terms of such new S-lineages being "offspring" of previous S-lineages. In some sense then, perhaps S-lineages do "replicate" - but they do not "replicate" in Dawkins' specific technical sense. The whole point of calling something a "new" S-lineage is that it is selectively different from, and typically competing with, its precursor(s); whereas, for Dawkins, the very definition of "replication" is that it preserves whatever is selectively significant.
Regretfully then, I am forced to the conclusion that Dawkinsian replicators don't, in fact, replicate! Strange but true.
This is not, of course, the whole story. To make my point here, I too have indulged in simplification. For example, I have glossed over the conceptual difficulties which arise because (under sexual forms of procreation) lineages, including S-lineages, need not be disjoint. Perhaps more seriously, it must be acknowledged that utterly new and distinct kinds of actors may sometimes emerge; and that the distinct evolutionary systems which result might interact in significant ways, which would render any explanation phrased in terms of only a single kind of actor quite inadequate; and, indeed, that this may already have been a significant phenomenon in biological evolution to date. I have in mind here the kind of hierarchical Darwinian theory described, for example, by Gould (1982), where an S-lineage in one evolutionary framework may actually function as an actor in another. In terms of such an hierarchical theory, my purpose has been restricted to the attempted clarification of Darwinian theory within one hierarchical level; but I do not imply, and do not suppose, that such a single level theory exhausts the scope of Darwinism.