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Beautiful metaphors, bad science

Richard Dawkins-God's own atheist-has become an academic celebrity thanks to his vigorous defence of classical science. Andrew Brown reviews his recent work and argues that his DNA-determinism merely substitutes one God for another

By Andrew Brown   June 1996

The reaction against Darwin in this century has taken two religious forms. One is to reject his theory. The other is to ransack it for objects of worship. It seems almost impossible to hold clearly in our minds the idea that we may not matter-as if it were logically impossible that anything capable of thinking and feeling unimportant should in fact be unimportant. The clearest illustration of this is to be found in the work of Richard Dawkins.

The Selfish Gene was a book about genes, but almost everyone read it as a book about people. What it said about…

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