virus: Why "why" Dawkins?

Tony Hindle (
Thu, 10 Apr 1997 11:25:56 +0100

I've just watched Richard Dawkin's "Seven wonders of the world"
(he was absolutely brilliant, inspirational as ever.) However I noticed
a definate change of tactic from Dawkins. Talking about natural history
programs teaching people about natural selection he said:
"It is immensely enriching to people's lives, it's not just
entertainment its something people deserve to have, to be shown the
richness, the diversity of the form of life of which they are a part. It
helps people to understand WHY they exist in the first place..."

I am familiar with Dawkins pioneering attempts to wake people up
to the splendour of natural selection and I feel certain that his use of
the word "why" was very carefully chosen (he used it in the same context
at least one other time during the program).
Previously he has always been carefull to say that natural
selection explains HOW we came to exist. I recall him saying that the
question "why do we exist" is a meaningless one, rather like "what is
the temperature of jealousy?" (Dawkin's own example). I also recall him
writing a long article in the guardian a few years ago (which I can fish
out if anyone wants) in which he said that he was considering changing
his aproach to proselytising evolution and science. He said that his
critics always claim that evolution was "just another religion". He
believed this was not so, but perhaps he should concede this point and
fight for evolution to be taught in religious studies along with the
traditional teachings. He said if it was then it would easily out
compete those rather unimaginative creation myths and would inspire
people far more to discover more about how they came to exist.
Martz, Dave, Drakir anyone else in uk, did you see the show? do
you agree Dawkins has definately changed his tactics? or is all this
just me, over-analysing his every word?
Tony Hindle.
He has used the word "why", this is a sign.

He has given us a sign, he has given us a shoe.
The shoe is the sign, let us follow his example
let us like him, hold up one shoe and let the other be upon our foot,
for this is the sign that all that follow him shall do likewise.