Matt Ridley’s adulatory article ‘Gene genius’ on Richard Dawkins’ latest book overlooks the logical and metaphysical incoherence of the latter’s thinking on evolution.
Firstly, the logical incoherence. As David Berlinski has pointed out, in ‘The Devil’s Delusion’, ‘the idea that we are all simply ‘survival machines’ seems oddly in conflict with the correlative doctrine of the survival of he fittest’.
Secondly, the metaphysical incoherence. The point of the Darwinian evolution hypothesis was to eliminate teleology or final causality fro biology. Richard Dawkins’ ‘selfish gene’ theory, however, is nothing if not teleological. The very word ‘selfish’ betrays – perhaps unconsciously – intentionality and purpose. Indeed, Dawkins is quite correct in ascribing teleology to unconscious genes. As Edward Feser has cogently argued in ‘The Hot Superstition’, ‘Remove the teleological element in the description of DNA and genes and you strip them of everything that makes them explanatorily useful in biology.