Yair. Discovered some time ago that Dawkins is apparently a competent evolutionary biologist, but not a top one. Pretty sure his claim of ‘a selfish gene’ has been challenged within his discipline
Nor is he much of a philosopher imo.
Although I’ve never actually heard him claim to be an atheist spokesperson, he allows others to make that claim.
Happy to listen to him about evolutionary biology. On anything else, not so much.
“Controversial British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins is well-known for his criticism of religion, but a new Rice University study of British scientists reveals that a majority who mentioned Dawkins’ work during research interviews reject his approach to public engagement and said his work misrepresents science and scientists because he conveys the wrong impression about what science can do and the norms that scientists observe in their work.”
The full article linked below is worth a glance. I am not claiming the articles I have cited are definitive. I only claim that Richard Dawkins should not be taken on face value. Nor should any public intellectual.
“To begin with, I never bought his argument in The Selfish Gene (TSG), the book that (rightly) launched him as a top rate science popularizer, back in 1976. I read and appreciated the book for the first time a few years later (I was in middle school when it came out), but I always thought that his arch-rival, paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, while himself an interesting, shall we say, character, was much closer to the mark. In a nutshell, TSG presents an exceedingly reductionist view of biology that is simply incapable, in my mind, of taking in the bewildering variety of biological phenomena that we have documented ever since Darwin. Dawkins’ focus on the gene level and only the gene level, his refusal to take seriously the idea of multi-level selection, his (later) casual dismissal of epigenetics, his ridicule of advances coming out of paleontology, his utter ignorance (judging from the fact that he hardly wrote about it at all) of important concepts like phenotypic plasticity, phenotypic accommodation, niche selection, robustness, and evolvability — to mention but a few — meant to me that his view of biology was hopelessly limited.”