Once upon a time genes were no more selfish than molecules or atoms. Then they gained little personalities, selfish ones. And the punters paid.
But it was not enough. So 'memes' were invented. And the punters paid more.
And still it was not enough. And the appeal of a good rant triggered fundamentalist tendencies and atheism was preached from the rooftops, with little regard for rigour or reason. And the cash rolled in again.
Now millions have rolled in, but people laugh and say there is no reason. And followers are leaving for new novelties. Sadness descends. What can be done?
Discuss this hypothetical situation with reference to selling intellectual rigour for 30 pieces of silver...
I'm really not sure what the original poster was meaning, but there are people who think that meme study is not scientific, it is trying to use evolutionary physical principles to describe something non physical, and the actual evidence for memes is not offered by Richard Dawkins.
What I think the original poster was meaning was that the notion of a 'sefish gene' makes no more sense than talking about a selfish atom or a selfish glass of water. Genes are not selves. Only human individuals are selves and therefore only human idividuals can be selfish or altruistic. The title of Dawkins' book the 'Selfish Gene' implies not only that it makes sense for a gene to be selfish but that they are so. Even if this is just a metaphor, as many of his defenders claim that it is then: 1) It is a telling metaphor and used to make it seem as though genes had human characteristics (from which it is not a big step to the idea that humans have the characteristics of genes, i.e. that they are 'naturally' selfish and that the way in which 'ideas and cultural phenomena' are spread is in the manner of 'genes' which are then designated 'memes'). It is not merely Dawkins' title that implies this, but much of the rhetoric of the book makes it impossible to dissociate it from such attitudes. This is not explanation but anthropmorphism, it is also false. 2) It is not a very good metaphor even were it used in an attempt to 'enliven' our understanding of the functioning of genes. And this is so because in order to be able to correctly apply the predicate 'selfish' to some entity (beyond the necessity of it being a self) it has to make sense that the predicate unselfish or altruistic be able to be applied to it also.
If we ask why anyone who is a respectable and capable scientist, and therefore knows how blatently unscientific this is, would do such a thing, one possible, cynical, answer is that he is doing it for money. Which I believe is what the original poster is implying. Another possibility is that he is suffering from a 'delusion'. Whichever it is, because of the enormous prestige of science he has managed to convince a whole swathe of philosophically naive people that this is not only a reasonable way of going on, but that it represents something called the Truth. It is also an extremely exciting idea for many and saves them the job of serious thinking.
Then of course because of the enormous success of this venture the author went on to write a book called 'The God Delusion.' Again this seems to imply that the millions upon millions of people who do or have believed in God are suffering from a 'delusion.' To pathologize religious belief is a brilliant devise for condemning it without engaging in rigorous rational debate. This has already been prepared for by the notion of the 'meme.' If it makes sense to say that cultural phenomenon like religion, ethics, philosophy, art and, well just about anything but Dawkins version of science, is possibly transmitted or spread by virtue of 'blind' memes then each is already on the verge of pathology, and should be examined in these terms and not in terms of rational content. Therefore Dawkins does not SERIOUSLY engage with those thinkers who have dealt with these issues philosophically and rationally (St Augustine, Descartes, Spinoza, Pascal, Kierkegaard, Liebniz, Kant, Feuerbach, Marx, Buber, Levinas, Heidegger, Freud and many more) but then of course he doesn't need to. They fall out of the bright light of rationality, which he has carefully circumscribed around himself, and into the hell-fire of delusion. How he manages to remain immune from the onslaught of memic irrationality is, of course, a troubling question. Perhaps it is by magic. Now there's an idea for another lucrative book!
Do I take your meaning Mr Book and technology user?