On the net expanses a meme is used by "British scientists". On their behalf, statistics are published on the number of Chinese who can get their tongue to the nose, or the results of studies of the influence of Saturn on the visual acuity of the Australian cockatoos.
Childhood and youth
He was born on March 26, 1941 in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, and grew up in Nyasaland - British possession in South Africa. He recalls that at first he was interested in zoology and botany no more than with other sciences. An amateur biologist was his father, Colonel Clinton John Dawkins. Richard and his younger sister were more interested in astronomy and the general structure of the human environment. The inquisitive boy was struck by the complexity of the universe, and until then his explanation for the Creator's plan suited him, because the Dawkins family was considered typically Anglican.
Education Dawkins had to get in England, where they moved in 1949. On the recommendation of his father, he entered the biological class of primary school, and the goal was Oxford. It was in him that he really got carried away by the science of living nature. His teacher was an outstanding biologist, Nobel laureate Nikolaas Tinbergen (1907-1988). Under his guidance, graduate student Richard Dawkins began to study the science of animal behavior - ethology, where he achieved remarkable success. Including he was one of the first began to use the computer in his work, even having mastered the programming skills for this.
Break with religion
A detailed acquaintance with the evolutionary theory became an important frontier in the life of the scientist. In it he found the answer to the question of the causes of the diversity of the surrounding nature, the origin of the world of animals and man, and its inseparable connection. As Richard Dawkins later wrote, the books of the great Darwin seemed more significant to him in completeness and consistency than those offered by the proponents of divine craft.
Until now, he considers the greatest value of his first edition, The Origin of Species by Natural Selection, Charles Darwin with author's inscriptions. He considers the great reformer in natural science to be one of his vital and scientific idols, and his struggle with opponents of the theory of evolution made the most important goal of his enlightenment work. Richard Dawkins, whose books provoke violent reaction from the creationists, from his youth became a convinced atheist and fighter with superstitions in modern society.
The first book, which immediately brought to the scientist fame among specialists and the general public, was published in 1976 "The Selfish Gene". Richard Dawkins proclaimed in this work the vitality of the Darwinian ideas of evolution. He complements and develops their achievements from the most progressive fields of biology - genetics and ethology. The title, which is a little provocative in nature, the author also stressed the role of the gene as the main object of evolution, and not an individual or the entire population. The radicality of the new vision was that organisms appeared to be only vehicles for genes seeking to preserve themselves in new generations.
He brings evolutionary theory further, beyond the framework of genetics. Here is introduced the concept of the behavioral equivalent of a gene called a meme. The book "The Selfish Gene" Richard Dawkins drew scientists' attention to the problems of cultural evolution in different areas of wildlife. The object of a new science - memetics - he proposed to consider categories that are not related to pure zoology or botany. It can be ideas, technologies, new trends in fashion and culture. The example given in the book concerned song motives transmitted from generation to generation by certain types of songbirds.
The development of ideas in a new book
Time has confirmed the great importance of the first book of Dawkins. The ideas presented by the beautiful prose looked clear and significant, although they provoked fierce controversy, sometimes of a political nature. Dawkins was turned into an apologist of selfishness, denying the importance of any social organizations. He tried to explain his position in more detail in the work "Extended phenotype" (1982), which was more scientific in nature.
The basic idea was: signs inherent in a particular species and subject to evolutionary changes do not have clear boundaries that coincide with the outer shell of organisms. They apply to everything connected with life activity. So, in the beavers, it can be their dams, affecting the area of several hectares, and the spacecraft created by man, can cross the boundaries of our Galaxy.
The struggle for the freedom of science
Back in the sixties Dawkins was active in the public, participating in anti-war actions. In the eighties he felt a threat to his freedom as an evolutionary scientist and limited access of the new generation to progressive scientific knowledge. Creationists received state support, and the teaching of Darwinian theory encountered serious obstacles in the most "enlightened" countries. "Rottweiler Darwin" - this nickname received for his activity, Richard Dawkins. "Blind Clockmaker" - the so-called book and her television version, released in 1987. In them, the scientist expressed his attitude towards the supporters of the Intelligent Design.
Critics of evolution said that the complexity of nature is due only to the activities of the Creator, and the origin of man through gradual transformations of primitive organisms is just as impossible as the emergence of a complex mechanism without a thoughtful project. Dawkins also relentlessly argued that only natural selection could lead to the emergence of complex organisms with unique properties.
Richard Dawkins, whose "Blind Watchmaker" was awarded numerous awards and prizes, became the recognized leader of militant atheism. The next book, devoted to the issues of interaction between religion and society, became the most purchased and evoked frank hatred towards it by adherents of different faiths and faiths.
On the screen and on the pages of books
Very quickly, Dawkins became a recognizable media character in England, Europe and the United States. His erudition, mastery of the narrator and polemicist made him a welcome guest of educational and educational TV channels. A series of TV lectures for children and teenagers on the BBB-4 channel, on the basis of which the book "Rising to the Peak of the Incredible" (1996) was written, remain relevant today. In them he talks about the origin of life, about the evolutionary theory, about Darwin's role in the formation of modern science, about the inconsistency of the "hypothesis of God."
The great importance of his books is not disputed. Biologists of different countries agree that in many fields of science adjacent to natural science, one of the most influential scientists of our time is Richard Dawkins. "The Story of an Ancestor" (2004), "The Greatest Show on Earth" (2009), "The Magic of Reality" (2011) - only the last works on time. In them, the evolution of living nature appears to be a fascinating and majestic process, the admiration of which Dawkins conveys with amazing skill.
"I am a scientist, not a philosopher"
To treat everything critically and look for evidence without relying on faith-this is what Richard Dawkins calls for. "God as an illusion" (2006) is a book expressing this appeal especially clearly. It contained many other arguments against creationists, against negative manifestations of religious fundamentalism:
- The consoling role of religion, its educational significance was recognized even by some atheists, and underestimation of this was blamed on Dawkins. And he argued that you can be a happy, emotionally and morally valuable person without subordinating to higher power.
- The evolutionary theory and teachings on its basis more fully and more accurately describe this world. They allow us to admire especially its beauty and diversity, which appeared not by a single will, but by a gradual and interesting process.
- You can not subordinate the image of man's thought and behavior to dogmas, based only on the place of his birth and the environment where he is brought up. The concept of a Muslim child or a Protestant child can not help but be absurd, just like a Marxist child or a Nietzschean child.
- Religious teachings are a source of intransigence and aggression, especially dangerous now. Instead of opposing them, concessions and indulgences are being imposed on fundamentalists and fanatics.
Caring for the future of the planet
Books and programs for children are an important part of educational work. Which leads Richard Dawkins. "God as an illusion" is a book and a television film, especially illustrative in the sense of a scientist's concern for the future of science and the planet as a whole. The state in the 21st century openly supports the opening of Christian and Muslim schools and universities, and everything that is related to the Darwinian theory of the origin of life is withdrawn from the curriculum.
The absence of the habit of thinking freely, without outside influence, a blind belief in the truths invented by someone and once-that is what a scientist sees as a danger to an emerging personality. Independence and freedom, independence in the discovery of new peaks, the ability to appreciate the appearance of the Earth as a rare luck, the desire for a joyful perception of being is the main thing that a child should take with him into adulthood.
His name is a small asteroid planet at number 8331 in distant space and a genus of freshwater fish from the carp breed that inhabit South India and Sri Lanka. He is the winner of hundreds of prestigious awards and awards. Influential publications - Prospect, Time, The Daily Telegraph put his name on the lists of the most outstanding thinkers of our time.
The man whose e-mail is filled with letters with obscene insults and threats of terrible carnies in the current and afterlife is also Richard Dawkins. "Religion is ruining everything", "Enemies of Reason" - believers in the higher mind are not ready to forgive him even the names of publications.
He writes books, shoots films, he acts in films and cartoons, participates in shows and rock concerts. He lives in full accordance with the phrase from the posters that were lined with London buses in the campaign conducted with the participation of Dawkins: "In all likelihood, there is no god. Stop worrying, enjoy life. "