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The Selfish Gene 30 Years On: full transcript

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  • steve moxon
    THE SELFISH GENE: THIRTY YEARS ON Speakers: Daniel C. Dennett, Matt Ridley, Sir John Krebs, Ian McEwan, Richard Dawkins; Chair: Melvyn Bragg; Organiser: Helena
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 26, 2006
      THE SELFISH GENE: THIRTY YEARS ON
      Speakers: Daniel C. Dennett, Matt Ridley, Sir John Krebs, Ian McEwan, Richard Dawkins; Chair: Melvyn Bragg; Organiser: Helena Cronin for Darwin@LSE

      Introduction

      The toughest ticket in London's West End last week wasn't for a new mega-hit musical from Cameron Mackintosh, or a new play by Tom Stoppard. The people who flocked to The Old Theatre were greeted by famed British radio and television presenter Melvyn Bragg ("Start the Week") with the following opening words:

      "They are in you and me; they created us, body and mind; and their preservation is the ultimate rationale for our existence. They have come a long way, those replicators. Now they go by the name of genes, and we are their survival machines."

      The words are from The Selfish Gene, by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. And the evening was a celebration of the thirty year anniversary of the publication of his classic book. As I was unable to attend, I asked Helena Cronin, the founder and director of Darwin@LSE, (and the author of The Ant and the Peacock), to guest edit this special edition of Edge, and she has kindly provided us with the complete audio of the event as well supervising the editing of the transcribed text. Edge is extremely grateful to her for her efforts.

      Of this event, philosopher Daniel C. Dennett noted:

      "The illumination of Dawkins' incisive thinking on the intellectual world extends far beyond biology. What a treat to see so clearly how matter and meaning fit together, from fiction to philosophy to molecular biology, all in one unified vision!"

      For cognitive scientist Steven Pinker, writing in The Times:

      "The significance of Dawkins' ideas, for me and many others, runs to his characterization of the very nature of life and to a theme that runs throughout his writings: the possibility of deep commonalities between life and mind."

      Continued at the Edge
      http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/selfish06/selfish06_index.html
    • S. Gale
      ... Those of you chagrined at finding the audio files temporarily offline at the Edge can instead find them here: http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/ss/
      Message 2 of 2 , Apr 30, 2006
        On Wed, Apr 26, 2006 at 10:31:57PM +0100, steve moxon wrote:

        > THE SELFISH GENE: THIRTY YEARS ON Speakers: Daniel C. Dennett, Matt
        > Ridley, Sir John Krebs, Ian McEwan, Richard Dawkins; Chair: Melvyn
        > Bragg; Organiser: Helena Cronin for Darwin@LSE
        >
        > Continued at the Edge
        > http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/selfish06/selfish06_index.html

        Those of you chagrined at finding the audio files temporarily offline at
        the Edge can instead find them here:

        http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/ss/
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