I spent a week in Puerto Vallarta. Unbeknownst to my very dear boyfriend, who remained here, working , I spent endless hours under the sun, and in bed with a most wonderful, intelligent, and I must admit, good looking man. His name is Richard Dawkins. And he wasn’t really there. But his books were.
In just one week I went trough “The Selfish Gene” and “The God Delusion” while “The Ancestor’s Tale” was waiting for me back home.
This is my review of my summer with Mr. Dawkins.
A lot has been said about the selfish gene, and though i know I won’t be saying anything new, I will venture this into the internets: The book is f-ing brilliant. It’s fun, fast paced, scholarly, witty and easy to understand. It’s what i wish I could write some day, being that I long to be a science communicator. Being that I was trained as a Biologist way after the book was published I was familiar with its central thesis, that the genes use individual organisms ( uni or multicellular) to reproduce and multiply themselves. What struck me as brilliant was how clearly it was, at least to me, the ramifications of this particular characteristic of the genes from a human perspective. Not to say by this, that I though that the book justified Social Darwinism, as many an infamous character has suggested. Quite the opposite, since the book put into perspective familiar relationships and social relationships in my own life. As cultured and intelligent our species claims to be, we are still heavily influenced by our genes, and i can’t wait to discuss the brilliant book with my SocialPsychologist friend. I could easily see why the book became a science classic.
The other book I read, the God Delusion was even more palatable. Biologists seldom get into religious debates ( with the exception of me). I went to a catholic school, all the way trough high school, and quite frankly, i never quite fit in.. Too much questioning, apparently. Anyhow, I slowly gravitated towards atheism during my late teens, and finally, thanks to this book, came out of the closet as a godless scientist.
Anyways, the book brilliantly and with a lot of british humour, talks about some inconsistencies not only among the gospels and the lessons they try to teach, but also about the “unchristian charity” of some practitioners who can’t stand that other people have different points of view, and gives fair warning to the evils that spring from blinding the eyes of reason. It also talks about morality , a possible evolutionary explanation to religious thought, that seamlessly intertwines with the selfish gene’s theory, and in-group mentality and all those things I enjoy talking about with E, and my friend, SocialPsychologist. Also, I can’t wait to lend this book to my friend Astronomer P. He’ll enjoy it so much!
That, not-so-briefly, is how i spent my summer with Mr. Richard Dawkins.
One more thing. Mr. Dawkins, if ever i meet you, I’ll take out for some mojitos (or coffee, or ice cream) and I will have a long, deep conversation. I hope I did your work justice in this review.