Inheriting the mantle of revolutionary biologist from Darwin, Watson, and Crick, Richard Dawkins forced an enormous change in the way we see ourselves and the world with the publication of The Selfish Gene
. Suppose, instead of thinking about organisms using genes to reproduce themselves, as we had since Mendel's work was rediscovered, we turn it around and imagine that "our" genes build and maintain us in order to make more genes. That simple reversal seems to answer many puzzlers which had stumped scientists for years, and we haven't thought of evolution in the same way since.
Why are there miles and miles of "unused" DNA within each of our bodies? Why should a bee give up its own chance to reproduce to help raise her sisters and brothers? With a prophet's clarity, Dawkins told us the answers from the perspective of molecules competing for limited space and resources to produce more of their own kind. Drawing fascinating examples from every field of biology, he paved the way for a serious re-evaluation of evolution. He also introduced the concept of self-reproducing ideas, or memes, which (seemingly) use humans exclusively for their propagation. If we are puppets, he says, at least we can try to understand our strings. --Rob Lightner
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
'buy this book, read it and recommend it to your students...There is still nothing else quite like it. Not only are the new chapters and endnotes worthy additions to the original, but the 1976 text comes up as fresh as a primrose and, in its way, nearly as perfect.'l Animal Behaviour
'Learned, witty and very well written...Exhilaratingly good.' Peter Medawar in The Spectator
'This book should be read, can be read, by almost everyone. It describes with great skill a new face of the theory of evolution.' W.D. Hamilton, Science
`Dawkins demonstrates that complex, theoretical or mathematical ideas can be expressed rigorously, in plain English. The book remains an excellent way for those who have not been trained in evolution to understand modern arguments.' Trends in Ecology and Evolution
`An essential and value-for-money purchase for all biological libraries.' Journal of Applied Ecology
`Richard Dawkins is one of a rare breed - a scientist with the gift of the good writer. He has succeeded here in conveying theories of neo-Darwinism with the excitement of a mystery story... He has revelled in pushing the novelty of language and metaphor to the brink, and has ended up with a new way of seeing, which can in its own right come full circle and make an original contribution to science. At the same time, he has produced a book which is highly readable both for the layman, without any note of condescension, and for the expert, giving hima new way of looking at familiar ideas.' Alternatives to Laboratory Animals
'A splendid example of how difficult scientific ideas can be explained by someone who understands them and is willing to take the trouble.' The New Yorker
'What is so refreshing about Dawkins is that he has confidence in the scientific method, in the testing of beliefs to destruction, no matter how cherished they may be' Benjamin Woolley, The Listener
'influential' The Sunday Correspondent
'An entertaining look at evolution for the general reader.' Publishing News