Richard Dawkins

The Selfish Gene

19:03 min
Philosophy, Biology, Science
360 pages, 1976

Richard Dawkins' enduring work The Selfish Gene tackles a conundrum at the heart of evolutionary theory: how to reconcile selfishness and cooperation. This short ushers readers into seeing genes as the foundational replicators driving all life. Dawkins poses a compelling paradigm shift — what if organisms are just transient vehicles preserving selfish genes? By applying scientific concepts to everyday life, Dawkins examines how this contentious premise radically reframes concepts from altruism to aggression. Skillfully weaving evidence from across biology, Dawkins builds a convincing case. But he also probes deeper questions — how do genes shape behaviors in complex creatures like ourselves? What promise or perils might genetic truths hold for humanity's future? For readers seeking intellectual adventure, Dawkins delivers profound insight into possible biological boundaries underlying morality.

Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist and ethologist known for his popular science books explaining the gene-centric view of evolution. He received his MA, DPhil, and DSc degrees from Oxford University and served as the University of Oxford's Professor for Public Understanding of Science from 1995 to 2008. Dawkins is most famous for proposing the concept of the "selfish gene" in his influential 1976 book, The Selfish Gene, and advocating an evolutionary worldview in later books such as The Blind Watchmaker, The God Delusion, and The Greatest Show on Earth. His accessible scientific writing style has helped bring modern evolutionary theory and atheism to widespread public attention.


Darwin's theory of evolution replaced supernatural myths with science to explain life. Integrating this factual view across fields has been gradual, and we must be careful not to conflate evolutionary tendencies with moral judgments.
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Cover of The Selfish Gene