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Richard Dawkins: How a Scientist Changed the…

Richard Dawkins: How a Scientist Changed the Way We Think

by Alan Grafen, Mark Ridley

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This book's about to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the 'Selfish Gene', perhaps the most important of Dawkins' works. It's a bit disappointment that the title's misleading, because most of the essays are not about Dawkins but the book and it's impacts. I enjoyed the last two chapters the most, these are about the man and his extraordinary abilities to explain one of the most influental and most wonderful theory of mankind's history. Evolution. ( )
  TheCrow2 | Dec 12, 2012 |
This collection of essays celebrates the contributions of Richard Dawkins. Most of the contributors focus on his selfish gene theory, though there is a short grouping at the back of the book that discuss his ability to generate religious controversy. One section deals solely with his ability to write in a comprehensible, interesting manner. There are a couple of clunkers among the essays, chiefly the one by Matt Ridley, but most of them are intersting and informative. The book is not as interesting to read as books by its subject, however. ( )
1 vote Devil_llama | Apr 16, 2011 |
Rather disappointing collection of essays, much of them sycophantic, and some rambling. There is a small section of interesting dissenting voices, but two of the three essays are of very poor quality, and the third, by Bateson, has some bizarre bitter comments aimed at Dawkins and an obviously personal rivalry. However, there are also one or two strong chapters, which are more carefully and clearly argued, such as Cronin's sexual selection chapter. Could have been so much more. ( )
  RachDan | Oct 6, 2009 |
Yes, we can rebel against selfish genes.

This is a very powerful book.
Edited by two former students of Dawkins at Oxford, and now renowned biologists on their own, Alan Grafen and Mark Ridley, this book collect some 25 essays that are meant to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the first edition of "The Selfish Gene", the book that originally propelled Dawkins to fame.
Although most contributors are close and friendly to the scientist, whose work they are celebrating here, some of them are among his critics, and one of them is the Bishop of Oxford.
The book is a useful re-statement of some of the basic views of contemporary evolutionary biology, ie. of 21st century Darwinism, and inevitably this will make it an important tool in the struggle for science and against obscurantism, which is being waged all over the planet nowadays.

[ This review of
Richard Dawkins: How a Scientist Changed the Way We Think: Reflections by Scientists, Writers, and Philosophers by Alan Grafen
was originally written for Amazon.com on March 31, 2006 ]
  ludosvabc | Nov 14, 2007 |
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Alan Grafenprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ridley, Markmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0199291160, Hardcover)

With the publication of the international bestseller The Selfish Gene some thirty years ago, Richard Dawkins powerfully captured a newly emerging way of understanding evolution--a gene's eye view. Dawkins went on to publish five more bestselling books, including The Blind Watchmaker and Unweaving the Rainbow. He is one of the most high profile public intellectuals today and any attempt to understand the scientific view of the world must grapple with his ideas.
Now, in this exciting collection of original essays, some of the world's leading thinkers offer their take on how Dawkins has changed the way we think. Readers will find stimulating pieces by Daniel Dennett, the renowned philosopher of mind and author of Darwin's Dangerous Idea; Steven Pinker, the brilliant Harvard linguist who wrote The Language Instinct and The Blank Slate; Matt Ridley, author of the bestselling Genome; and James Watson, who with Francis Crick discovered the structure of DNA, arguably the greatest scientific discovery of the last century. Dawkins' widely admired literary style forms the subject of several pieces, including one from novelist Philip Pullman (author of the bestselling His Dark Materials trilogy). As one of the world's best known rationalists, Dawkins' stance on religion is another theme in this collection, explored by Simon Blackburn, Michael Ruse, Michael Shermer, and the Bishop of Oxford. Numbering twenty in all, these articles are not simply rosy tributes, but explore how Dawkins' ideas have shaped thinking and public debate, and include elements of criticism as well as thoughtful praise.
Richard Dawkins' work has had the rare distinction of generating as much excitement outside the scientific community as within it. This stimulating volume is a superb summation of the depth and range of his influence.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:30 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

This sparkling collection explores the impact of Richard Dawkins as scientist, rationalist, and one of the most important thinkers alive today. Leading figures from science, philosophy, literature, and the media reflect on the breadth and range of Dawkins' contributions to science and public debate, from evolutionary theory and artificial life, to rationalism and ethics. - ;This sparkling collection explores the impact of Richard Dawkins as scientist, rationalist, and one of the most important thinkers alive today. Specially commissioned pieces by leading figures in science, philosophy, litera.… (more)

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