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Critique of Intelligent Design

Evolution vs. Creationism

The Art of ID Stuntmen

Faith vs Reason

Anthropic Principle

Autopsy of the Bible code

Science and Religion

Historical Notes


Serious Notions with a Smile


Letter Serial Correlation

Mark Perakh's Web Site


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Title Author Date
Dawkins Korthof, Gert Oct 23, 2006
Thank you for your compliments of my otherwise good essay.
You are right that The Selfish Gene (TSG) is about selfishness and altruism (TSG,page 1).
However, I did not try to hit Dawkins with his 'pitiless universe'.
The fact is that Richard Dawkins himself claims at the same time that the universe is pitiless (I will demonstrate that in a minute) and that altruism exists in that universe. This seems confusing, even contradictory.
In Dawkins' view however, observed altruism is not always true altruism:
"It often turns out on closer inspection that acts of apparent altruism are really selfishness in disguise" (page 5, Ch 1, TSG) and:
"we are born selfish" (page 3, Ch 1, TSG);
"I shall argue that a predominant quality to be expected in a successful gene is ruthless selfishness" (p.2. Hh 1, TSG);
"I think 'nature red in tooth and claw' sums up our modern understanding of natural selection admirably" (p.2. Hh 1, TSG);

The pitiless universe is a famous claim of Dawkins. I did not invent it myself.
Google found about 876 hits for "nothing but blind pitiless indifference" (0.20 seconds).
The full quote is:
"The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference." [Dawkins (1995) "River Out Of Eden", close of chapter 4.]
And Dawkins is serious about it!
The famous pitiless universe statement is nearly 20 years AFTER he published
"The Selfish Gene" (1976). So he IS serious about it.
Please have a look at the close of the last chapter of TSG:
"We can even discuss ways of deliberately cultivating and nurturing pure, disinterested altruism - something that has no place in nature, something that has never existed before in the whole history of the world."
Related Articles: Theistic Evolution: more evolution and less supernatural than ID and creationism