Richard Dawkins: From Selfish Gene to Flights of Fancy
A conversation spanning 46 years of thinking and writing about science.
Richard Dawkins needs no introduction. He is one of the world’s most well known scientists and science writers. He is also a good friend and colleague. As many of you may know, Richard and I have toured much of the world together on stage, often in dialogues about our disciplines, our views of the world, and of course the conflict between science and religion.
When we decided to create The Origins Podcast, it was natural to consider early on having a dialogue between Richard and me. One fateful day, our crew headed to Oxford. As we began our journey, our car was broken into and much equipment stolen. Then we had a small car accident later. We finally got to Richard’s late in the day, in time to begin a dialogue, but not long enough to complete it.
I wanted to hold on to that snippet for the right time, so that Richard and I could continue our conversation by touching something new, something we had not talked about before onstage. The release of two new books over the past year provided just such an opportunity. Richard and I were able to discuss Flights of Fancy, his latest book, about flight in the animal kingdom and beyond. It is a beautiful book to read and look at, with delightful illustrations by Jana Lenzova.
I had assumed I knew everything that was in it, as Richard and I had talked about the physics of flying early on when he was writing it. But I was wrong. It is a wonderful compendium of fascinating stories about how nature, and evolution, conspired to harness physics to escape, at least temporarily, they tyranny of gravity.
We used the book as a launching point to discuss science more generally. It was an enjoyable tour from The Selfish Gene to his, and my, most recent thinking about nature. I hope you enjoy it.
As always, an ad-free video version of this podcast is also available to paid Critical Mass subscribers . Your subscriptions support the non-profit Origins Project Foundation, which produces the podcast. The audio version is available free on the Critical Mass site and on all podcast sites, and the video version will also be available on the Origins Project Youtube channel as well.