The Selfish Gene

The Selfish Gene

The Selfish Gene: 30th Anniversary Edition—with a new Introduction by the AuthorInheriting the mantle of revolutionary biologist from Darwin, Watson, and Crick, Richard Dawkins forced an enormous change in the way we see ourselves and the world with the publication of The Selfish Gene. Suppose, instead of thinking about organisms using genes to reproduce themselves, as we...

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Title:The Selfish Gene
Author:Richard Dawkins
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Edition Language:English

The Selfish Gene Reviews

  • David

    I read the 30th anniversary edition of this book--it is a true "classic". I note that there are over 48,000 ratings and 1,400 reviews of this book on Goodreads! Richard Dawkins put an entirely original slant on Darwin's theory of natural selection. The book has turned people around, to the understanding that the gene plays the single most central role in natural selection, rather than the individual organism. Over the course of generations, evolution plays a role to ensure the survival of the ge

    I read the 30th anniversary edition of this book--it is a true "classic". I note that there are over 48,000 ratings and 1,400 reviews of this book on Goodreads! Richard Dawkins put an entirely original slant on Darwin's theory of natural selection. The book has turned people around, to the understanding that the gene plays the single most central role in natural selection, rather than the individual organism. Over the course of generations, evolution plays a role to ensure the survival of the genes, not the individual or "the species".

    Although the book is 30 years old, it has stood the test of time. There are a few passages--primarily about computers--that are 30 years out of date. But the vast majority of the book seems to have held up quite well.

    Dawkins' prose is very approachable by the layman. There is a bare minimum of technical jargon--quite different from most other books about genetics that I've been reading in recent years. Dawkins takes the time to explain things, often with appropriate metaphors. There are very few diagrams in the book--additional figures could help clarify some points, in my opinion.

    Much of the book is really about the role of game theory, in understanding genetics. Dawkins devotes several chapters to describe how various traits controlled by genes are held in an ESS-- "Evolutionarily Stable Strategy"--a term that Dawkins uses quite often, that I think is a synonym for the game theory term "stable equilibrium". Dawkins shows how an ESS is approached over the course of "iterations" of a game, that is to same, over many generations. These chapters were especially interesting to me, as I recently took an online course on the subject of game theory.

    It is in this book that Dawkins coined the now-famous term "meme". The meme is a cultural analog of the biological gene. A meme seeks to self-perpetuate, and mutates if that aids its self-preservation. Dawkins devotes an entire fascinating chapter to his concept of the meme.

    Throughout the book, Dawkins deals with the dichotomy between the "selfishness" required for survival, and the "altruism" of human behavior. How do we explain altruism? Dawkins explores this dilemma over and over again, showing in virtually every case how the selfishness of genes can help to explain apparent altruistic behavior of the individual.

    This is an absolutely fascinating book. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in genetics, evolution, or sociology.

  • Manny

    - What some people seem to find hard to understand is that there's a part of you, in fact the most important part, that's immaterial and immortal. Your body is really no more than a temporary shell for the immortal part, and houses it for a little while until it dies.

  • Nandakishore Varma

    On 27 December 1831, a young naturalist by the name of Charles Robert Darwin set upon a voyage of discovery on the

    which was to last five years and take him all over the globe. He came back with a lot of specimens, copious scientific notes and an explosive theory which was to rock the world of ideas: the theory of evolution by natural selection. Suddenly, God became an unnecessary and unlikely hypothesis: man was pulled down from his high throne as the master of creation: and existenc

    On 27 December 1831, a young naturalist by the name of Charles Robert Darwin set upon a voyage of discovery on the

    which was to last five years and take him all over the globe. He came back with a lot of specimens, copious scientific notes and an explosive theory which was to rock the world of ideas: the theory of evolution by natural selection. Suddenly, God became an unnecessary and unlikely hypothesis: man was pulled down from his high throne as the master of creation: and existence became a cacophony of chance events rather than a carefully co-ordinated orchestra. Naturally, the religious establishment rebelled. But like all ideas whose time had come, evolution hung on with great tenacity to become the widely accepted idea it is today.

    I have been fascinated with the idea ever since I was introduced to it in high school. As far as I am concerned, the very argument that theists put forward against evolution is its greatest strength; viz. the complexity of the natural world. According to the believer, such a complex and “perfect” (whatever that means!) system has to have an architect behind it. But the fact is that it is not “perfect” – nature is dynamic. What we perceive as stability is homeostasis, a seething mass of life, eating one another and being eaten; and as nature shifts her stance, so does life, whole species dying out (like the dinosaurs) to make way for others.

    But wait! Humans are different, aren’t we? We compete, true: but we also show altruism. People lay down their life to protect their progeny, their brothers and sisters, their countrymen… if we were selfish survival machines, why would we do this? It means we have the spark of divinity within us, doesn’t it?

    Well… not exactly, according to Richard Dawkins. It only means we have the “Selfish Gene” within us.

    needs no introduction. This is one of those iconic “pop” science books which everyone seems to have read, like The Naked Ape by Desmond Morris. I was a bit late (well, about 37 years!) in getting to it. However, the book has lost none of the charm, and the idea any of its power, due to the ravages of time: if at all, it has become stronger.

    Dawkins confesses that there is no universally agreed definition of ‘gene’. We now know that the blueprint for building of each human being is coded in 23 pairs of chromosomes, one of every pair being inherited from each parent. The code inside the chromosome is written in DNA molecules, the famous ‘Double Helix’ that Dawkins terms the ‘Immortal Coils’.

    The DNA molecules are replicators. They replicate themselves; they also manufacture proteins, the basic building block of life as we know it. These DNA molecules (some version of them) were the original “life” in the “primeval soup”: they reproduced themselves and competed with one another to survive. Natural selection defined which lasted and which died away.

    Dawkins defines a gene (a definition borrowed from G. C. Williams) as “any part of chromosomal material that potentially lasts for enough generations to serve as a unit of natural selection”. In other words, a gene is a copier with high “copying-fidelity”: that is, it ensures that it copies itself without mistakes so that longevity in the form of copies is ensured.

    So in the primeval soup, these genes went on happily competing with each other, evolving newer and newer ways of surviving in an environment which got increasingly complex. As part of survival technology, the genes built a lot of machines, bunching together to form gene complexes in the context. The machines got more and more complex, from the single-cell amoeba to the human being.

    Dawkins starts the book with the question “Why are people?” This is his answer – so that the gene can survive and replicate. We are nothing but vehicles for the genes, who exist to ensure their survival.

    Pretty disillusioning, isn’t it? But Dawkins is far from done. After pulling down humanity from its pedestal as the “pinnacle of creation”, he proceeds to explain all the lofty sentiments such as love, altruism, sacrifice etc. as the result of strategies for gene survival – extremely selfish strategies at that. It is very difficult to stomach for a generation which has been trained to behold human beings as somehow special, and the above sentiments as the proof of their exclusivity which separate them from the “lower” animals. As one disgusted poster said in one of the fora where this book was discussed: “So altruism is like going to the potty? Oh dear!”

    But even though disheartening at first, as Dawkins begins to back up his arguments with solid scientific reasoning, it is difficult to dispute him, and difficult not to get excited when he presents his theory with mathematical precision.

    One of the most common arguments put forward against evolution is that an uncontrolled state of aggression will lead to a free-for-all and the “stable” environment we see cannot exist. Dawkins explains this with the concept of an ESS (Evolutionary Stable Strategy), which leads to a dynamic equilibrium or homeostasis: he posits a theoretical society populated by pure aggressors (“hawks”) and pure pacifists (“doves”), and proves logically that over a period of time, the number of hawks and doves will stabilise in roughly equal proportion. This is because it is not the survival machines which are having the final say on who will win: it is the genes. This concept is further expanded with fine variations on the behavior – ultimately, every time, a dynamically stable configuration results.

    In Chapter 12, ‘Nice Guys Finish First’ (added as part of the second edition), Dawkins takes this theory further and presents a varying set of evolutionary strategies, modelled on Game Theory. It describes in detail various evolutionary stratagems he tried out on his computer (with contributions from a lot of scientists) and the outcomes. This is a fascinating analysis and in my opinion, the most interesting part of the book – but that may just be the engineer in me, who loves anything mathematical!

    Oh yes. The old stumbling block. The favourite saw of the creationists. If we are all selfish, how does altruism come into the picture? Why do parents sacrifice themselves for their children, why do siblings do the same for each other, why do we co-operate at all? Should we not be at each other’s throats, all the time?

    No, according to Dawkins. If we look at it from the gene’s point of view, it all makes perfect sense.

    When we are talking of genes, we are talking of gene pools here: a group of genes working together so that the survival of each is maximised. Dawkins makes a brilliant analogy to a rowing team. If a coach is choosing a team, he would over a period end up with a group who can pull in such a way that the winning chance is maximised – an individual rower, however brilliant he is, would find no place in the team if he did not contribute to the group effort. In the case of genes, natural selection plays the role of the coach. Those genes which could not co-operate simply get discarded in the evolutionary race over a period of time.

    Also, one should bear in mind that a gene is not a single physical bit of DNA; it is all replicas of a particular bit of DNA, distributed throughout the world. A gene might be able to assist replicas of itself that are sitting in other bodies. If so, this could be the origin of altruism. Dawkins calls it ‘genesmanship’. He spends four chapters explaining how it applies to siblings, offspring, lovers and apparent strangers. In the last chapter (‘The Long Reach of the Gene’), Dawkins extrapolates the above argument to how the gene in one species can extend its reach to another species, possibly to the detriment of the latter, to explain parasitism.

    One may take it or leave it, but the arguments are well thought-out and presented with great clarity; with cold, scientific logic. There are no opinions here. It makes fascinating reading, even though the mathematical analysis may put some off!

    The concept of the ‘meme’ is possibly the most revolutionary one expressed in this book. Dawkins defines a meme as a unit of cultural transmission, a basic idea which gets replicated in human brains, in the ‘primeval soup’ of human culture; which, according to him, is in the same state as the biological ‘soup’ was at the dawn of life on earth. To quote the author himself:

    Examples of memes are tunes, ideas, catch-phrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches. Just as genes propagate themselves in the gene pool by leaping from body to body via sperms or eggs, so memes propagate themselves in the meme pool by leaping from brain to brain via a process which, in the broad sense, can be called imitation.

    According Dawkins, all prevalent ideas (including the idea of God!) is a meme: the meme survives because it has a survival value in the meme pool. If we subscribe to this idea, the whole intellectual arena is nothing but a group of memes grappling for survival – not a very edifying thought. It seems Dawkins appreciates this, because he ends the chapter on memes with the speculation that man has the capacity for genuine, disinterested, true altruism. He says “We are built as gene machines and cultured as meme machines, but we have the power to turn against our creators. We, alone on earth, can rebel against the tyranny of the selfish replicators.”

    I, as a fan of the Jungian idea of the Collective Unconscious, could not help speculating on whether the meme could be embedded way down in the gene itself? Maybe the Collective Unconscious is nothing but little bits of consciousness, embedded inside the DNA, which guided the process of survival? If so, it could be case for Intelligent Design – or rather, Intelligent Evolution.

    This is one of those ‘pop-science’ books which are enlightening and enjoyable at the same time. A must-read.

    Read the review also on my

    .

  • Alex

    Richard Dawkin's 1976 classic game changer The Selfish Gene contains information I

    didn't know, almost 40 years later. His basic idea is that the essential unit of life is the gene; our bodies are just big fleshy protection robots for the gene. Dawkins says I'm a tool. Right? High five!

    And you might be like "Okay, so who cares?" What difference does that make, right? Well, first of all I'm gonna go have some pie because fuck you, genes, you're not the boss of me. Woohoo! Other than that, n

    Richard Dawkin's 1976 classic game changer The Selfish Gene contains information I

    didn't know, almost 40 years later. His basic idea is that the essential unit of life is the gene; our bodies are just big fleshy protection robots for the gene. Dawkins says I'm a tool. Right? High five!

    And you might be like "Okay, so who cares?" What difference does that make, right? Well, first of all I'm gonna go have some pie because fuck you, genes, you're not the boss of me. Woohoo! Other than that, no, no difference, carry on. It makes a difference to scientists, because when you look at it this way all kinds of behaviors make more sense, or make sense in a different way. Dawkins' particular focus is on behaviors we call "altruistic", like when an antelope warns his herd about an approaching lion. Dawkins would like to go through every altruistic behavior he can think of, which is a lot, and show you why it's actually not at all altruistic.

    (The antelope is an easy one: he warns the herd by jumping up and down, which doubles as a sign to the lion that he is super bouncy and the lion should go chase someone less bouncy.)

    So, no big surprise to those of us who know Dawkins in his latest incarnation as The World's Dickishest Atheist:* Dawkins does a lot of party pooping in this book. Did you think you were a nice guy? You are not. Your genes command you to behave nicely on occasion because in the end it will benefit you. (See: the

    also game theory. Or read this book, which will explain both to you.)

    But Dawkins is also just a tremendously engaging writer. He's wildly good at explaining technical concepts clearly to lay idiots like me. And he's funny! This book is fun to read. And it's chock full of the kind of fascinating tidbits that make you turn to your spouse and say "Holy moley, did you know saddleback birds on an island in New Zealand make up new songs that then spread through the population like a Pharrell Williams single until everyone's singing them?" And she's like "Sounds boring! I'm reading Jezebel, did you know Justin Bieber was racist when he was fourteen?" and then the two of you look at each other like who even

    you? And your genes are like who cares, you two should make out.

  • Bradley

    Color me very impressed. I can now see why this is considered to be one of those hugely popular science books I keep hearing about and the reason why Dawkins has become so widely known and/or respected with or without his notoriety.

    Indeed, the pure science bits were pretty much awesome. We, or at least I, have heard of this theory in other contexts before and none of it really comes as much surprise to see that genes, themselves, have evolved strategies that are exactly the same as Game Theory i

    Color me very impressed. I can now see why this is considered to be one of those hugely popular science books I keep hearing about and the reason why Dawkins has become so widely known and/or respected with or without his notoriety.

    Indeed, the pure science bits were pretty much awesome. We, or at least I, have heard of this theory in other contexts before and none of it really comes as much surprise to see that genes, themselves, have evolved strategies that are exactly the same as Game Theory in order to find the best possible outcome for continued replication. Hence: the selfish gene.

    Enormous simple computers running through the prisoner's dilemma with each other, rival genes, and especially within whole organisms which could just be seen as gigantic living spacecraft giving the genes an evolutionary advantage of finding new and more prosperous adaptations.

    Yup! That's us!

    I honestly don't see the problem. I love the idea that we are just galaxies of little robots running complicated Game Theories that eventually turn into a great cooperative machine where everyone (mostly) benefits, with plenty of complicated moves going way beyond hawks and doves and straight into the horribly complicated multi-defectors, forgivers, and other evolutionary styles that depend on the events that have gone before and the pre-knowledge (or lack of) a set end-date for the entire experiment... in other words, our deaths, whether pre-planned or simply the entire mass of genes just coming to realize that it's no longer in their best interest to keep pushing this jalopy around any longer if they're not getting anything out of it... like further replication. :)

    Even when it's not precisely sex, it's still all about sex. :)

    Of course, what I've just mentioned isn't the entire book, because, as a matter of fact, the book walks us through so many stages of thought, previous research, developments, mistakes, and upgraded theories and surprising conclusions based on soooooo much observable data that any of us might be rightfully confounded with the weight of it unless we were in the heart of the research, ourselves.

    It's science, baby.

    Make sure you don't make the data conform to your theory. Build your theory from observable data. Improve upon it as the building blocks are proved or disproved, keep going until it is so damn robust until nothing but a true miracle could topple it, and then keep asking new questions.

    The fact is, this theory has nothing (or everything) to do with our lives. We play Game Theory, too, in exactly the same way every gene everywhere does, but we just happen to be able to make models on top of the situations and we're able to choose whether to see through the lies, the hawk strategies, or when to stop cooperating if the advantages work out much better for us if we did. We, like our genes, can choose long-term cooperative strategies or play everything like a Bear market. :)

    Even this book says that it's very likely that Nice Guys can win, but just like our lives, the gene lives keep discovering ever more complicated strategies and all eventual strategies become more and more situational.

    Isn't that us, to a tea? I wonder if most complaints about this book stem from complaints about Game Theory rather than the perceived conclusion (much better spelled out, not in this book, but in later books)... that atheism rules the day. It really isn't evident here. Instead, we have a macrocosm mimicking the microcosm and no one wants to challenge their comfortable world view.

    Things aren't simple. All choices to betray or cooperate are then met with situation and memory and ever complex meta-contexts, the difference between us and genes being that we're self-aware and the genes are not.

    Yes, yes, I see where the arguments can start coming out of the closet about self-determination and such, but that's not really the point of this book at all. The point is that it's a successful model that accurately describes reality. It has nothing at all to do with the macro-world except obliquely, and makes no value judgments on our art, our beliefs, or how we think about ourselves except in our uniquely stubborn and self-delusional ways that love to take things out of context and apply misunderstood concepts to our general lives and wonder why everything gets so screwed up. :)

    But then, maybe I'm just applying my own incomplete models to yet another and we lousy humans still lack WAY TOO MUCH data to build a really impressively improved model. :)

    Come on, Deep Thought. Where are you? :)

  • Jono Davis

    One of the most important things I took from

    is an idea that I find a bit difficult to put into words.

    is really good at crafting metaphors to describe scientific principles that on their own may be not be so interesting, or may be stubbornly inaccessible. While his rhetoric may make concepts more accessible and convenient to discuss, he openly warns that no metaphor is completely accurate. Understanding that the metaphors must be viewed skeptically, he offers

    One of the most important things I took from

    is an idea that I find a bit difficult to put into words.

    is really good at crafting metaphors to describe scientific principles that on their own may be not be so interesting, or may be stubbornly inaccessible. While his rhetoric may make concepts more accessible and convenient to discuss, he openly warns that no metaphor is completely accurate. Understanding that the metaphors must be viewed skeptically, he offers this,

    All things being even, genes that are long-lasting or that replicate quickly, and genes that can replicate with high fidelity are going to outnumber those that are slow or erroneous in replication. Dawkins calls this the “selfish” nature of genetic replication. He chooses his words carefully though, and applies metaphors of self-interest only to genes that are, or are not, selected for by indifferent and unthinking mechanisms.

    Where this metaphor breaks down, as Dawkins admits, is when the idea of “selfishness” is brought up from genetics to the level of individuals within a group, or groups within a species. He criticizes such concepts in sociobiology, where claims are made that an individual’s actions are inherently selfish in order to serve their genes in themselves, or in other related individuals.

    While genes may be “selfish” in order to be selected, this doesn’t necessitate that individuals (“survival machines” as he so affectionately calls us) must as well act only in self-interest. In this video introduction to the book, Dawkins suggests that,

  • Brian Hodges

    Although I consider myself a Jesus-loving, god-fearing, creationist, I simply LOVE reading about evolution. I'm not sure what it is, but I find the whole concept, when explained by a lucid and accessible author, fascinating. And Dawkins is nothing if not lucid and accessible. He presents the topic and various questions and scientific controversies in a way that anybody with a willingness to pay attention can follow it. Some of the chapters were a bit more of a slog as Dawkins has to resort to sc

    Although I consider myself a Jesus-loving, god-fearing, creationist, I simply LOVE reading about evolution. I'm not sure what it is, but I find the whole concept, when explained by a lucid and accessible author, fascinating. And Dawkins is nothing if not lucid and accessible. He presents the topic and various questions and scientific controversies in a way that anybody with a willingness to pay attention can follow it. Some of the chapters were a bit more of a slog as Dawkins has to resort to scary scary math and numbers to prove some of his points and set up for even more mindblowing stuff in future chapters. But most of the time, this book is chock full of insanely interesting examples and user-friendly analogies. Dawkins sure knows his way around language too. One of my favorite lines is: "Sex: that bizarre perversion of straightforward replication."

    On the science of it all, as I said, I'm a creationist, but I like to read up on the other side and at least understand, if not appreciate, what their take on the matter is. And to read Dawkins is to realize, yes, this does sound like a very solid theory. My one stumbling block to getting onto the evolution train one hundred percent is time. Perhaps my comprehension of just how long hundred million years is is faulty, but I just can't wrap my mind around how all of these ACCIDENTAL mutations, with no conscious will on the part of the group, individual or gene itself, could possibly result in the complexity of life as we see it now. There is an adage that if you gave an infinite number of monkeys an infinite number of typewriters and an infinite amount of time, they would eventually produce the complete works of Shakespeare. To believe evolution is to believe that you now have a FINITE amount of monkeys and a FINITE amount of time and yet they STILL manage to produce the complete works of Shakespeare... and they do it OVER AND OVER AND OVER again. Just doesn't seem plausible. But perhaps further reading will sway me at a later date.

    EDIT 6/3/15

    I can't believe this review is still getting attention after all this time! And I love the thread that has developed in the comments. I should let you all know though that as of 2008 I have been living on the side of reason and rationality. I became an atheist after a LOT of reading and contemplating of the Bible (the link to my "de-conversion" story is down in the comments as well). I try these days to, as much as possible, follow the evidence wherever it leads. Additionally Dawkins' "The Ancestor's Tale" was one of THE most beautiful books I've ever read. Check out my review if you're interested.

  • Nathan

    Didactic, patronizing, condescending and arguably neo-intellectual twaddle. I do not believe in a God, certainly not any God that's been conceived by man, but I also believe Richard Dawkins is a self-satisfied thought-Nazi who is as fundamental in his view of religion as any right-wing minister. Fundamentalists of all faiths scare me, and atheism is just as much a faith as any religion. The existence or non-existence of a God cannot be proven, nor can the existence or non-existence of a soul, an

    Didactic, patronizing, condescending and arguably neo-intellectual twaddle. I do not believe in a God, certainly not any God that's been conceived by man, but I also believe Richard Dawkins is a self-satisfied thought-Nazi who is as fundamental in his view of religion as any right-wing minister. Fundamentalists of all faiths scare me, and atheism is just as much a faith as any religion. The existence or non-existence of a God cannot be proven, nor can the existence or non-existence of a soul, and faith is an abstract experience with implications that are fundamentally unresponsive to study. As such, pursuits like Dawkins' often boil down to one type of faith (in "reason") vs. another type of faith (in a "God"). Many people love Dawkins. He is certainly intelligent, and writes as such, but he lacks wisdom and imagination. To me, that's the flaw in all of his work, from The Selfish Gene to The God Delusion. The idea that one human being can know enough about the nature of the universe to make the sweeping declarations Dawkins' makes is preposterous to me, and no more credible than the sweeping declarations of Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson.

    NC

  • Rebecca McNutt

    There's a good reason I imagine why

    was Jeffrey Skilling's favourite book.

    I'm agnostic myself, so I'm impartial, but Dawkins is so cynical, so against the idea that there is more to us as individual human beings than just intelligent apes meant to give birth, grow old and die, that he seems almost, for lack of a better phrase, sociopathic or antisocial. He leaves very little room for the profound depths of emotion, companionship, imagination, nostalgia or anything that goes aga

    There's a good reason I imagine why

    was Jeffrey Skilling's favourite book.

    I'm agnostic myself, so I'm impartial, but Dawkins is so cynical, so against the idea that there is more to us as individual human beings than just intelligent apes meant to give birth, grow old and die, that he seems almost, for lack of a better phrase, sociopathic or antisocial. He leaves very little room for the profound depths of emotion, companionship, imagination, nostalgia or anything that goes against his view that we are just materialistic monkeys who won't matter to anyone a hundred years from now. I found him as a narrator of this book to be rather obnoxious and appalling, and I don't think he understands just how unique our minds and meanings to one another really are. I don't think we are divine beings, but I don't think we are just animals, either. I think there's more to the human race than that. I'm not talking about religion, I'm talking about humanity. This book tries to prove a point, but portrays humans as consuming, greedy, sex maniac gorillas who only exist to reproduce. Perhaps that is true in some ways, but not all humans are alike and to generalize them in this manner leaves no room for anything beyond Dawkins' view of logic. I think he's very full of himself, convinced he has all the answers, and the truth is nobody knows everything about the world and the only thing selfish about

    is the author himself, who seems to pride himself on putting down anyone who doesn't share his values.

  • Petal X

    If you are bored look up the Community Reviews, sort by 1-star. They are very entertaining. One of them as a uni professor advising a student to burn down the book store where they bought this book. Then we have the creationists, then the person who thinks it is all a capitalist manifesto. There are those who think he is arrogant, depraved, uses philistine language (!) ...

    How can anyone be a creationist and not believe in dinosaurs and such? Do they believe that the earth is flat? Are they the

    If you are bored look up the Community Reviews, sort by 1-star. They are very entertaining. One of them as a uni professor advising a student to burn down the book store where they bought this book. Then we have the creationists, then the person who thinks it is all a capitalist manifesto. There are those who think he is arrogant, depraved, uses philistine language (!) ...

    How can anyone be a creationist and not believe in dinosaurs and such? Do they believe that the earth is flat? Are they the sort of people who pay astrologers money to cast their charts because of course your fate is determined by the stars at the moment of your birth? Jesus wept. Or he would have. I'm reading Josephus at the moment, it seems that the only mention of Jesus at the time he was living was in Josephus but that it might have been added later... That's a whole other story, and one which Dawkins might have liked, but these one-star creationists certainly won't.

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