In richard dawkins he published his first book, the selfish gene, in which he tried to rectify what he maintained was a widespread misunderstanding of darwinism. The fact that they replicate, together with certain further conditions means, willy nilly, that they will tend towards the evolution of qualities which, in the special sense of this book, can be called selfish. Dawkins came to prominence with his 1976 book the selfish gene, which popularised the genecentred view of evolution and introduced the term. Unlike with genes and dawkins original meaning of meme, there.
Dawkins uses the term selfish gene as a way of expressing the genecentred view of evolution as opposed to the views focused on the organism and the group, popularising ideas developed during the. The book was published in multiple languages including english, consists of 360 pages and is available in paperback format. And they have not found a way to displace a meme so powerful as the selfish gene. The selfish gene is a 1976 book on evolution by the biologist richard dawkins, in which the. A simple replicator, whether gene or meme, cannot be expected to forgo shortterm selfish advantage even if it would really pay it, in. The selfish gene theory and altruism by richard dawkins. Dawkins uses the term selfish gene as a way of expressing the gene centred view of evolution as opposed to the views focused on the organism and the group, popularising ideas developed during the. His book the selfish gene is one of the mostread popular accounts of evolution, and it introduced the term meme, long before internet cats, as a. We are built as gene machines and cultured as meme machines, but we have the power to turn against our creators. Dawkins may be the best science writer i have ever read.
Darwin if he read this book would scarcely recognize his own original theory in it, though i hope he would. The story of the selfish gene the selfish gene by richard dawkins, published in 1976, famously became a bestseller and is still selling more than 40 years later. Professor dawkins articulates a genes eye view of evolution a view giving centre stage to these persistent units of information, and in which organisms can be seen as vehicles for their replication. The world of the selfish gene revolves around savage competition, ruthless exploitation, and deceit, and yet, dawkins argues, acts of apparent altruism do exist in nature. Meme, unit of cultural information spread by imitation. Interestingly, the evolutionary biologist richard dawkins coined the term meme in his 1976 book the selfish gene to describe an idea, style or behavior that spreads within a culture. Its one of the odd beauties of this whole mess that dawkins himself coined the term meme, and did so in the selfish gene. A meme, dawkins suggested is like a gene in that it can replicate itself, typically via language or imitation. The meme for blind faith secures its own perpetuation by the simple unconscious expedient of discouraging rational inquiry. The selfish gene is a 1976 book on evolution by the biologist richard dawkins, in which the author builds upon the principal theory of george c. To this extent, contrary to popular opinion, dawkins exposition is not merely a popularisation, but actually breaks new ground theoretically. You will find yourself reading this book from both ends. According to dawkins theory, the base unit of evolution is the individual gene. The meme first appeared in richard dawkins first book, the selfish gene 1976, and was an attempt to understand why some behaviours.
The book also introduces the term meme for a unit of human cultural evolution analogous to the gene, suggesting that such selfish replication may. Richard dawkins 1976 popular science book the selfish gene 24. Published in 1976, tsg is not only still in print, but according to the a long, chronologically uninterrupted trail of stamps on the card inside of the. As persuasive today as when it was first distributed, the selfish gene has turned into a great piece of a transformative idea. What few realize, however, is that the vocal atheist and champion of evidence as the holy grail of life, who even penned a childrens book rebutting religious mythology with science, had his first experience of a true meme, decades before he had. The selfish gene by richard dawkins 871 words bartleby. It is a book full of good sense and the kinds of intellectual rigor and clarity of writing that we have come to expect from the boydricherson stable. In this short clip professor richard dawkins discusses how he arrived at the idea of the selfish gene the basis of his seminal 1976 publication. The meme first appeared in richard dawkins first book, the selfish gene 1976, and was an attempt to understand why some behaviours, from an evolutionary perspective, seemed to make no sense but, somehow or other, were found to be very common in human societies. The main characters of this non fiction, science story are. A few popular science books rise above the genre and become popstars of the book world bestsellers. No 10 the selfish gene by richard dawkins an intoxicating renewal of evolutionary theory that coined the idea of the meme and paved the way for professor dawkins. Dawkins says in this anniversary edition of the book that he regrests naming it the selfish gene because people go into it believing that the thesis of the book revolves around an inevitability of the most selfish genes, and by asoociation, creatures surviving.
The selfish gene pdf by richard dawkins bookspdf4free. Replicators compete directly for space within an individual, and only consequently for existence in the gene or meme pool. In 1976 richard dawkinss study of evolutionary theory became the first. An intoxicating renewal of evolutionary theory that coined the idea of the meme and paved the way for professor dawkinss later, more. Dawkins apparently did not intend to present a comprehensive theory of memetics in the selfish gene, but rather coined the term. In his 1979 book, the selfish gene, professor richard dawkins gave us a cultural theory of natural selection in which he reformulated the word. The people who gave him one star must have serious problems in comprehending simple logic. Richard dawkins on the cultural meme evolutionary biologist and the selfish gene author richard dawkins speaks about his concept that the. The selfish gene charles simonyi professor of the public. Ive now finished my 2nd and started my 3rd dawkins book but the selfish gene is the best. Dawkins shows that the selfish gene is also the subtle gene.
Richard dawkins book criticism genes cannot be selfish or unselfish, any more than atoms can be jealous, elephants abstract or biscuits teleological. Dawkins argued that natural selection takes place at the genetic rather than the species or individual level, as was often assumed. The concept of the internet meme was first proposed by mike godwin in the june 1993 issue of wired. There are 4 prefaces covering the different editions over the years and 70 odd pages of end notes, covering the latest thinking and giving dawkins a reply to his critics. This should not need mentioning, but richard dawkinss book the selfish gene has succeeded in confusing a number of people about it midgley. Free download or read online the selfish gene pdf epub book. Most people know that the word meme was coined by legendary evolutionary biologist richard dawkins in his seminal 1976 book the selfish gene. I also have an interesting story connected to the selfish gene. Clinton richard dawkins is an evolutionary biologist, ethologist and author who is known for coining the word meme in his 1976 book the selfish gene. And he holds out the hope that our speciesalone on earthhas the power to rebel against the designs of the selfish gene. The selfish gene book by richard dawkins thriftbooks.
Even if youve slept all the way through biology class in high school, this book can catch you up on at least 70% of whats important within a few hours. Contains two new chapters and a wealth of remarkable new insights into the biological world. After that i have no particular books in mind though another childrens book like. Richard dawkins the selfish gene explained youtube. The first booklength response to the acclaimed writer richard dawkins, author of many popular scientific works, such as the selfish gene and the blind watchmaker. Dawkins wrote that evolution depended not on the particular chemical basis of genetics, but only on the existence of a selfreplicating unit of transmissionin the case of biological. So when anybody talks about something going viral on the internet, he told wired, that is exactly what a meme is and it looks as though the word has been appropriated for a subset of that. Since evolutionary fitness is measured in terms of passing on your genes to the next generation, dawkins theorized that each gene acted in a way that would allow it the best opportunity to be replicated and passed on to the next generation. Dawkins cites as inspiration the work of geneticist l. There is a ton of great information in the selfish gene. Wellwritten and personable, this provocative book makes a cognent. First coined by richard dawkins in the selfish gene, a meme is any idea.
Dawkins first name for himself in 1976 with the book the selfish gene, in which he introduced the term meme and made popular the genecentered view of evolution. The original selfish gene book cover, illustrated by desmond morris. Richard dawkins, in full clinton richard dawkins, born march 26, 1941, nairobi, kenya, british evolutionary biologist, ethologist, and popularscience writer who emphasized the gene as the driving force of evolution and generated significant controversy with. Buy a cheap copy of the meme machine book by susan blackmore. In fact, in the final chapter of the selfish gene, dawkins invokes the metaphor of a virus. Dawkins himself did not provide a sufficient explanation of how the replication of units of information in the brain controls human behaviour and ultimately culture, and the principal topic of the book was genetics. This is the book in which dawkins introduces the theory of memes the seemingly selfreplicating pool of art and science, literature and. Bees, for example, will commit suicide when they sting to protect the hive, and birds will risk their lives to warn the flock of an approaching hawk. His argument was that genes being molecules could not be selfish. It is both manual and manifesto, and it grips like a thriller.
Selfishness then, is very useful in describing replicator behavior, but not necessarily an individuals behavior. The selfish gene, richard dawkinss brilliant first book and still his most. In this revised edition of his bestselling book the selfish gene, richard dawkins demonstrates how cooperation can evolve even in a basically selfish world. Richard dawkins on the internets hijacking of the word meme. Even so, dawkinss the selfish gene is considered a contribution to the study of sociobiology, and dawkins is viewed as a member of the field. This behindthescenes account of its publication recounts the story as seen through the eyes of the books commissioning editor, from the initial ex. It is difficult to overestimate the cultural influence of this work.
The selfish gene tsg by richard dawkins is one of these rare books. Teacher dawkins expresses a genes eye perspective on development a view giving the focal point of the audience to these tenacious units of data, and in which life forms can be viewed as vehicles for their replication. This meme, methinks, forms the true bone of contention and the true obstacle to progress. Richard dawkins told us what he thinks about memes vice. I considered it the best anything i had ever read, the most profound book and expletive book ever. The word meme originated with richard dawkins 1976 book the selfish gene. The selfish gene also derives some of its fame from the fact that it introduced the meme concept. The first edition of the novel was published in 1976, and was written by richard dawkins. In 1982, he published the extended phenotype and delved into evolutionary biology. As relevant and influential today as when it was first published, the selfish gene has become a classic exposition of evolutionary thought. Suppose, instead of thinking about organisms using genes to reproduce themselves, as we. The geneseyeview the selfish gene is indeed a seminal work in the history of biology primarily because dawkins takes the socalled geneseyeview of evolution to its logical conclusion. While writing the selfish gene, richard dawkins had access to some of wilsons work, but the entire book had not yet been published.1356 568 442 354 643 1419 868 726 477 1433 1611 165 1486 354 784 1161 42 1371 1259 1424 970 492 463 1116 1408 173 1594 433 796 149 1250 157 415 1501 413 126 1014 1004 4 1423 453 1207 124 129 1422 1368 951 590