Richard Dawkins & Universal Darwinism
Richard Dawkins is one of the founders of Universal Darwinism. His
Selfish Gene not only established him as one of the century's
great evolutionary biologist, it also contained a chapter, Memes: the new replicator,
which introduced the concept of the meme and was one of the first
explanations of non-biological phenomena in terms Darwinian processes.
Dawkins may have coined the term 'Universal Darwinism' in 1982 when
he publish an article of the same name arguing that any life elsewhere
in the universe would have evolved via the same Darwinian process as did
life on earth.
Most of Richards books concern evolutionary biology and are very
accessible to the motivated public.
The Extended Phenotype extends many of the concepts of the
Selfish Gene in arguing that the evolutionary unit of selection is the
gene and that genes are successful if their vehicles, or the life forms
they encode, are successful. Genes may also code for phenotypes such as
behaviours that are external to the organism. A favourite example is
beaver's dam building ability.
is an explicit argument against the argument from design and
Climbing Mount Improbable are two of the best explanations
available of biological evolution.
More recently Richard has turned his attention to combating the
notion that Religion offers a superior worldview to Science.
Unweaving the Rainbow discusses the shortcomings of many
non-scientific worldviews and mounts a spirited defense for the
intellectual and spiritual joys to be encountered through a scientific
Richard believes and champions a naturalistic worldview and is a
founding member of The Brights