BBC Radio 4 – The Life Scientific, Richard Dawkins


Thanks to Ivan for the link

Richard Dawkins will be speaking on Radio 4’s “The Life Scientific” Tuesday, September 4th. Please check the BBC website for times.

Richard Dawkins’ first book on evolutionary biology “The Selfish Gene” was published to much acclaim and some controversy in 1976. In this interview with Jim Al-Khalili, Professor Dawkins discusses his enthusiasm for the science that inspired the book and how he popularised the idea of the immortal gene. Using the source material from scientists such as Bill Hamilton, Robert Trivers and John Maynard Smith, he presented a gene’s eye view of the world. 

He’s written many other books on evolutionary biology, such as “The Extended Phenotype” “Unweaving the Rainbow” and “The Ancestors Tale”. In 2006 he published a polemic which he describes as “a gentlemanly attack on religion”, “The God Delusion”. Jim asks what he hoped to achieve by writing the book and finds out why he would rather be known for his science than his atheism.

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  1.   In this interview with Jim Al-Khalili,

    It is good to see the media presenting discussions and interviews between scientists, rather than the pseudo-controversies which lower the standard of debate to the level of featured  opinionated idiots.

     Jim Al-Khalili, Brian Cox, Sir David Attenborough,  Iain Stewart and others,  have brought much well presented science and mathematics to the public via the BBC and the “Open University”.

  2. Looking forward to an interview of understanding more of Prof. Dawkins scientific work and background.  The Life Scientific is a very well balanced programme talking of the person but also a relatively in-depth look at their scientific life and work presented by an excellent Jim Al-Khalili.

    Whilst I follow his religious arguments and debates, I would hope for less of that and more of the work behind the man himself.

  3. I’m looking forward to this; Jim Al-Khalili’s shows are usually excellent and The Life Scientific is no exception.

    I do wonder how accommodationist Al Khalili is, and if this affected the interview. I say this because he lends his weight to the accommodationist and Templeton funded Faraday Schools project, which teaches no conflict between faith and science to British school children:… 

  4.  “finds out why he would rather be known for his science than his atheism.”

    because science describes something you do while atheism describes something you don’t do?

  5. Just listened to it – very nice performance.  Easy to understand and quite interesting.

  6. My partner caught this by accident during today’s school run, and came running in to order me to listen. For once I obeyed, and am jolly glad that I did. 

    I much enjoyed Richard’s call for “A little more solidarity” from Jim Al Khalili.  It was deliciously mischievous of him to point out that physics is not currently under attack in the same way that evolutionary biology is. But Prof Al Khalili is a journalist as well as a scientist, so it was precisely his job this morning to stir up trouble by asking irritating questions. All most entertaining. Thank you, gentlemen.

    I wonder if the protagonists were in the same room, or it was via one of the BBC’s remote studio set-ups.

    So Richard is writing his memoirs?  Is there a working title yet? Maybe something like ‘One Life’?  I do hope the excised purple passage from the first draft of The Selfish Gene will be in there, or we’ll forever be wondering what it was …
    (Alternatively, the resident satirists on this site may need to make it up, since as any competent journalist knows, one should never let the truth get in the way of a good story!)

  7.  I also enjoyed the exchange, although the format of ‘your old colleague Joe Bloggs/John Doe remembers you were a bit of an xyz’ …(Jo Bloggs/John Doe is then presented reminiscing about some shared experience)…reminds me of the old tv program “This is Your Life”. Loved the distinction between indoctrination and the teaching of critical thinking – most important.

    I shall be distributing a link to the recording on iPlayer.

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