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Re: Richard Dawkins

At 11:29 20/12/95 -0500, you wrote:
>>Check out works by "soft tissue evolutionary biologists" such as
>>Jared Diamond, whatever the "selfish gene" guy is named (Dawkins?)
>>Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
>Quite right, Tom; the gentleman's name is Richard Dawkins. However, I'm not 
>sure of the wisdom of recommending his work to anyone. Several eminent 
>scientists, such as Richard Lewontin, have demonstrated that the ideas and 
>theories in "The Selfish Gene" and Dawkins' subsequent works in the same 
>vein comprise nothing more than a palpable fantasy.
>Des Maxwell
>New York College of Osteopathic Medicine

Utter blasphemy!  And absolutely wrong also.  Richard Dawkins is one of the
clearest thinkers in evolutionary biology today, to the extent that I don't
think anybody has managed to find any flaws in his logic in the 19 years
since The Selfish Gene was published.  And there are a large number of
'eminent scientists' (John Maynard Smith, George Williams, Bill
Hamilton,....) in this field of biology who would defend his ideas with
vigour.  The few who don't are usually antipodean structuralists or East
Coast United States marxists (Stuart Kauffman is in his own category).  I
could go on at length about some of Lewontin's 'palpable fantasies';
admittedly a very intelligent man, but Dawkins' work is far more
illuminating.  Besides, he's from Oxford, old chap....

Colin McHenry