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George C Williams (1926-2010) Obituary link added.

George C Williams (1926-2010) emeritus professor of biology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, died on September 8th, aged 84. He was one of the great evolutionary thinkers of my lifetime. His most famous book, Adaptation and Natural Selection (1966) had a seminal influence on generations of research biologists, destroying once and for all the myth of 'group selection', and putting the study of adaptation on a sound, critical footing. Along with W D Hamilton, John Maynard Smith and Robert Trivers, George Williams was one of the four dominant influences on The Selfish Gene. He made major contributions to the evolutionary theory of sex (Sex and Evolution, 1975), and of ageing. His 1992 book, Natural Selection: Domains, Levels and Challenges was in some respects an updating of his 1966 classic. In it, he introduced the idea of Clade Selection. Later in life, he teamed up with Randolph Nesse to found the important science of Darwinian Medicine. Their 1994 book, called Why we get Sick in America and Evolution and Healing in Britain (both terrible titles, as Nesse and Williams agreed) moved me to write on the dust jacket, "Buy two copies and give one to your doctor." Universally respected, George was a tall, shy, diffident scholar, rather like W D Hamilton in character, his legendary wisdom seeming somehow enhanced by a physical resemblance to Abraham Lincoln. A wonderful scientist and a great gentleman, sadly missed.

Note Added: Michael Ruse has written a lovely obituary here.

Richard Dawkins



NSS Conference: Challenging Religious...

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NSS Conference: Challenging Religious Privilege in Public Life Saturday 22 September 2012, 10am to 5pm, London - Keynote speaker Richard Dawkins

Press Release - New Executive Director...

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Press Release - New Executive Director Appointed

Portland Humanist Film Festival

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Join us for the third annual Portland Humanist Film Festival, which will present feature, documentary, narrative and animated films that give expression to the humanist approach to life, based on reason, science, and ethics. A precise film and speaker schedule will be announced in the coming months.

UPdate - listen to the interview -...

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Richard is on BBC Radio World Service this evening 16th July, around 21.20 British Summer Time (= 20.20 GMT

Dawkinsia, new genus

Rohan Pethiyagoda, Madhava... Comments

Dawkinsia, new genus

Teresa MacBain to be Public Relations...

Press Release - The Clergy Project Comments



Rats Manipulated to be Attracted to Cats

Richard Dawkins - Comments

Rats Manipulated to be Attracted to Cats

No Precedent? Then Set One!

Richard Dawkins - Comments

No Precedent? Then Set One?

Why I won't take part in debate with...

Richard Dawkins - for the Press and... Comments

I was invited several months ago to speak at the Faclan Book Festival in Stornoway and I was delighted to accept, as I have a great affection for the Highlands and Islands but have never visited Lewis and have heard such good things about its beauty and about the friendliness of the islanders.

It's What Moral Philosophers Do

Richard Dawkins - Comments

It's What Moral Philosophers Do

You don’t need God to be good . . . or...

Richard Dawkins - - Comments

Freethinkers, atheists, agnostics, secular humanists – whatever name non-believers go under, they are not America’s most popular minority.

The Descent of Edward Wilson (with...

Richard Dawkins - Prospect 188 Comments

Richard Dawkins's review of The Social Conquest of Earth, by Edward O Wilson (WW Norton, £18.99, May) - (with Polish translation)



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