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4.3 out of 5 stars
The Selfish Gene
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 August 2013
One of the most educational eye opening books I have ever read, a must for understanding why we are what we are, and indeed why we are here.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 October 2012
This is w well produced book and well worth the money. All you wanted to know about the evolution of homo sapiens.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 14 February 2010
Wow, I got this book with some sceptism after starting to read the Origin of Species, due to the content being fairly traditional and me being a kipper undergraduate in Biology, which I confess does not bode well for the future. However I quickly realised the true genius of Richard Dawkins and the simple logic that his work conveys. The fact that this book itself is a generation old but still very applicable in the fastest changing science is a testament to the quality of his research and logic thinking. However, what I find most effective in this book is his use of similes and everyday comparisons as a method to describe genes and survival machines and I certainly feel that the content, while easily read, is of high quality and certainly at University level. I have found it useful as a reference tool or as a way of getting clearer information than my lecture notes.

Highly recommend it, it is, quite seriously a high opener, I have learned a new way of thinking. In a way, I may not read the God Delusion, in the simple fact that he is such a convincing writer, I would be quite worried he would convince there is no god. which I don't really want to have , since I feel that everybody needs something to hang on to in the unknown.

Fantastic book, should be introduced in school.

Stay classy,

JL
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 20 April 2013
Good read but need a bit of work to get throughit. bbb bbbb bbb bbb bbb bbb bb bbb bb
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9 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 20 November 2013
Dawkins suggests that the affairs of living things are organised so as to increase the frequency of certain genes, those that with hindsight may be described as the ones most fitted to survive. Organisms, on this view, are the unknowing possessors of these genetic assets and are driven by them. But if the term "selfish gene" is nothing more than a metaphor, then it is a metaphor likely to mislead. Genes have no interest in their prevalence, any more than bags of sugar or bottles of milk. Animals and humans have drives and/ or purposes, genes do not. Even plants have tropisms. To picture genes driving organisms is, to use Gilbert Ryle's phrase, a category confusion.
In total contrast to the reductionist scheme of Dawkins, I would offer this remark of the painter Mark Rothko. " I would sooner confer anthropomorphic attributes upon a stone than dehumanise the slightest possibility of consciousness." Two world views collide. Ironically we are free to choose between them.
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15 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on 13 August 2007
Richard Dawkins writes beautiful English and he explains scientific concepts with great clarity and a wealth of examples. Unfortunately he uses his gifts to convey a false message. He applies the everyday word "selfish" in a technical sense to describe genes (which do not have selves or intentions at all), and this invites readers to confuse the two meanings. Indeed he may have confused himself, for he tell us in the very first chapter that "we are born selfish". This is bad biology, for "selfish" genes can produce the unselfish behaviour of the worker bee or the mother octopus. All social animals have a degree of altruism in their genes, humans more than most. Dawkins also dogmatically rejects group selection, whereby cooperative groups expand at the expense of uncooperative ones, although it is dominant in cultural evolution and has even been shown to occur in genetic selection, as described by Sober and Wilson in Unto Others. Perhaps the popularity of Dawkins' book stems from the fact that it was published just when the world was turning away from over-centralized models of socialist government and was about to plunge into the age of economic selfishness.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 29 October 2014
Brilliant. Simple to understand, and well worth the read.
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6 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 29 May 2008
Darwin's theory of evolution is no doubt a successful scientific hypothesis, and Prof. Dawkins brings across this very clearly. However, I do have some doubts regarding his philosophical assertions.

Essentially Prof. Dawkins believes that:

1) Selfishness and competition is at the root of all biological phenomena - nature as "red in tooth and claw"
2) There is no basic "dis-continuity" between humanity and other animals - humans are not qualitatively different from other animals
3) There is however no ethical dilemma between this basic fact and the human desire for goodness - since descriptive and normative realities are intrinsically separate (what is and what should be are independent of each other)

Yet the basis for point 3) - the inherent seperation of "what is" and "what ought to be" is just a philosophical assertion. Prof. Dawkins is very correct in stating that the belief in God and all other religious assertions should be treated and critically analysed as scientific hypotheses. However, strictly speaking this should go beyond the subject of religion to include every other field of human intellectual activity, including of course philosophy itself. If we treat the assertion "'what is' is fundamentally separate from 'what ought to be'" as a strict scientific hypothesis in the same sense that "God exists" is treated as such a hypothesis, then it has to be said that it is no more than just a blank assertion without any kind of empirical justification.

In other words, Prof. Dawkins is mistaken in assuming that his particular view of evolution and Darwinism does not leave us with an ethical dilemma, because it evidently does. The only argument Prof. Dawkins has offered against this is the mere assertion that "what ought to be" must be seperate from "what is", yet this assertion, just like religious assertions regarding God, cannot be scientifically or empirically proven.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 27 March 2012
There are no two ways about it - this book is obviously very well researched and has had a lot of time and effort put in to it. It simply picks apart religion with reason, evidence and scientific study - it's second to non for factual information.

Why three stars? Because it's so bloody hard to read! It really is a slog and you have to concentrate 100% - easy reading it's not.

If you overcome that however, you will be richer for it. Good book overall and well worth buying.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 4 May 2012
This book has reached me long after its publication date, and I am only sorry that it has taken so long to do so. Beautifully written, by a man thoroughly convinced of his subject, who does not seem to have much time for alternative theories; but by now his work is in common usage whether we like it or not. An absorbing read, presented with humour and great clarity. Even this non- scientist could appreciate it.
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