"It rapidly became clear to me that the most imaginative way of looking at evolution, and the most inspiring way of teaching it, was to say that it's all about the genes. It's the genes that, for their own good, are manipulating the bodies they ride about in. The individual organism is a survival machine for its genes."
RICHARD DAWKINS, elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in May, 2001, is a gifted writer, who is known for his popularization of Darwinian ideas as well as for original thinking on evolutionary theory. He has invented telling metaphors that illuminate the Darwinian debate: His book The Selfish Gene argues that genes-molecules of DNA-are the fundamental units of natural selection, the "replicators." Organisms, including ourselves, are "vehicles," the packaging for "replicators." The success or failure of replicators is based on their ability to build successful vehicles. There is a complementarity in the relationship: vehicles propagate their replicators, not themselves; replicators make vehicles. In The Extended Phenotype, he goes beyond the body to the family, the social group, the architecture, the environment that animals create, and sees these as part of the phenotype-the embodiment of the genes. He also takes a Darwinian view of culture, exemplified in his invention of the "meme," the unit of cultural inheritance; memes are essentially ideas, and they, too, are operated on by natural selection.
Richard Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist and the former Charles Simonyi Professor For The Understanding Of Science at Oxford University; Fellow of New College; author of The Selfish Gene, The Extended Phenotype, The Blind Watchmaker, River out of Eden(ScienceMasters Series), Climbing Mount Improbable, Unweaving the Rainbow, The Devil's Chaplain, The Ancestor's Tale, The God Delusion, The Greatest Show on Earth and The Magic of Reality.