From How Things Are: A Science Toolkit for the Mind, edited by John Brockman and Katinka Matson. Although this was written by Dawkins for his then ten year-old daughter, it serves as an excellent "critical thinking starter kit" for the Beginner.
The evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins says your genes care about themselves, not about you. You're just a vehicle to make more genes. Given his view, some of Dawkins' readers have asked him how he gets up in the morning knowing he is nothing but a collection of selfish genes in an uncaring universe. But Richard Dawkins wonders why people consider science so bleakly, thinking it robs life of warmth and worth. To him, science is filled with wonder, beauty, and awe. Dawkins contends that when Newton explained the prism, he didn't rob the rainbow of its mystery as the poet Keats complained, he opened the door to the greater wonders of relativity and an expanding universe. The interview includes a fascinating exchange between Dawkins and Kenneth Miller during the call-in segment.
"The enlightenment is under threat. So is reason. So is truth. So is science, especially in the schools of America. I am one of those scientists who feels that it is no longer enough just to get on and do science. We have to devote a significant proportion of our time and resources to defending it from deliberate attack from organized ignorance. We even have to go out on the attack ourselves, for the sake of reason and sanity. But it must be a positive attack, for science and reason have so much to give. They are not just useful, they enrich our lives in the same kind of way as the arts do." - Dawkins
Maintained by John Catalano, this is the unofficial web site of Richard Dawkins. This site contains a broad sample of Dawkins' writings, including material that would be off-topic for the Secular Web.
Richard Dawkins won both the Royal Society of Literature Award and the Los Angeles Times Literary Prize in 1987 for The Blind Watchmaker. The television film of the book, shown in the 'Horizon' series, won the Sci-Tech Prize for the Best Science Programme of 1987. He has also won the 1989 Silver Medal of the Zoological Society of London and the 1990 Royal Society Michael Faraday Award for the furtherance of the public understanding of science. In 1994 he won the Nakayama Prize for Human Science and in 1995 was awarded an Honorary D.Litt. by the University of St Andrews. Humanist of the Year Award 1996. Since 1996 he has been Vice President of the British Humanist Association. Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1997. Winner of the 1997 (Fifth) International Cosmos Prize in Commemoration of Expo' 90.
Richard Dawkins's first book, The Selfish Gene (1976; second edition, 1989), became an immediate international bestseller and, like The Blind Watchmaker, was translated into all the major languages. Its sequel, The Extended Phenotype, followed in 1982. His other bestsellers include River Out of Eden (1995), Climbing Mount Improbable (1996), and Unweaving the Rainbow (1998).
Description: Discover magazine recently called Richard Dawkins “Darwin’s Rottweiler” for his fierce and effective defense of evolution. Prospect magazine voted him among the top three public intellectuals in the world (along with Umberto Eco and Noam Chomsky). Now Dawkins turns his considerable intellect on religion, denouncing its faulty logic and the suffering it causes. He […]