This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.


← [Update 1/27] Closing Statements - Richard Dawkins at the Jaipur Literature Festival

Serena's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by Serena

Hi Richard,

I understand that it is quite likely that I am biased. The two factors that I could identify now are time and, information (... as in "the amount of surprise", with apologies to Shannon).

The Selfish Gene felt like a Revelation. I was in my early 20s, and that was about 10-15 years ago. I even gained insights into human culture -- beyond what I read in the book. One example that I remember vividly has to do with the Mosuo of China -- a matriarchal society where the woman is promiscuous, and a man has no responsibilities towards his biological children, but takes care of his sister's children. With the gene-centered view, this made perfect sense. No such explanation was offered in the medium where I learnt about them (it was TV, IIRC). (Apparently, the Akan of Africa have this in common with the Mosuo -- something I discovered just now when looking up the name of the Chinese society.)

Though I have read and enjoyed your other pre-2000 books, I don't have as clear a recollection of the experience of reading them, or of the revelations or mini-revelations I got. I attribute it to their information content. (... the Shannon kind!!)

Of the post-2000 books, I have read just The God Delusion, which I did, the year it was released. By that time, I had nearly 20 years of experience in arguing against faith. (I started rather early, and am a 1st generation atheist.) So... The God Delusion was a low-information book for me.

And so... all this blathering was in the benefit of putting my earlier comment in context: I don't have a clue if your style has changed.

Oh! And... on double-checking now, before I replied to you, I discovered that I have not read beyond the first 2-3 chapters of The Extended Phenotype. :-D I have something to read now, after all! I'm sorry I gave the wrong impression about this earlier. (Er... any thoughts on the videos?)

Thank you!

If/when I have something more concrete to say to you about your writing style, I'll let you know :-).

Thu, 26 Jan 2012 21:15:13 UTC | #911847