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January 27, 2018

Richard Dawkins Climbs Mount Impossible

As is clear from his website Dawkins has succeeded, as this quote from The Guardian shows, in turning his career in Biology into a formidable generator of revenue:
Dawkins regularly goes on fundraising lecture tours, where his fame comes in useful. Tickets for a tour of the US in June —“an evening with Richard Dawkins”, in theatres in Portland, Oregon, Rochester, Minnesota and Boston— are on sale on [Dawkins'] website for $35. Access to a VIP reception beforehand is $250. Membership of the “Dawkins circle” costs from $1,000 to $9,999 a year, winning you discounts to the foundation’s online store ... and, at its most expensive, two tickets for an “invitation-only” event with Dawkins himself.
Although annual membership in his "circle" costs up $10,000, Dawkins could be making "serious" money—millions, not thousands, per year—if he used his persuasive skills more fruitfully.

This is what he could do: arrange to meet with the top managers at Boeing and Airbus and explain to them that Nature has produced, for hundreds of millions of years, end-products which are far more complex and more precisely constructed than any modern aircraft and—according to his writings on evolution—Nature accomplished that spectacular feat without any quality-assuring feedback loops between the populations of the smallest components—the individual somatic cells in developing animals—and the entities that control development, the gene pools.

Boeing, Airbus and their suppliers surely expend millions per year assuring that aircraft components are manufactured precisely and their top people would pay close attention were someone to explain, exactly, how Nature's construction of all complex animals' somatic cells was accomplished without an observable mechanism. 

Of course there will be no such encounter. The people in charge of aircraft manufacturing would not spend any time listening to a foolish proposal and if Richard Dawkins had given the matter sufficient thought he would have understood—years ago—that the standard explanation of complex animal evolution cannot explain the existence of a single earthworm, let alone every Bilaterian that ever existed.

Dawkins' 1996 book Climbing Mount Improbable contains lots of pictures and his more serious 1977 book The Selfish Gene contains none. I haven't read all of his writings but I would be surprised if he addresses anywhere, in words or with pictures, exactly how the animals' gene pools acquired their ability to construct, throughout transformational evolution, bodies comprised of uncountably large numbers of precisely-constructed individual cells without my mechanism, cancer selection. 

Related: Two Influential 19th Century Thinkers: Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne

At this site you will find links to additional material including my original Letters to the Journal of Theoretical Biology and the 1992 Nature review of my book.

Copyright © 2018 by James Graham

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