Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins, one of nonfiction's bad boys, is the author of The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True and other books. From the transcript of his interview with Fareed Zakaria:

ZAKARIA: In your wonderful book, "The Magic of Reality", you talk about some of this. So, how would you explain to somebody who says I don't believe in evolution? What to you use is the most powerful evidence for evolution?

DAWKINS: I think the most powerful evidence is probably not fossils. Although fossils are the main evidence for the actual history of life. The most powerful evidence that evolution has happened is probably molecular genetics. Because whereas in Darwin's time, the comparative data, you look to human hand and you compare it with a bat's wing, a whale's flipper, a lion's paw. You see the same bones. You can identify them bone for bone, the human - the radius, the alnae, the falangies and so on. That was in Darwin's time. Now we can do that same kind of thing, but with molecules, with actual coded letters of DNA and equivalent in protein. You can actually look at long reams of code. And you can actually compare the letter by letter exactly as you might compare two versions of the Book of Jeremiah or something. I mean it's letter for letter comparison. And you can actually count the number of differences in millions between humans and chimpanzees, humans plus chimpanzees and monkeys. Trus, hippopotamuses, you can take any two animals you like and look at their molecules and literally count the number of letters that are different. And that is just so overwhelmingly strong evidence. Darwin would have...[read on]
Richard Dawkins is Lee Child's hero (outside of literature).

Learn about Richard Dawkins's five favorite books.

--Marshal Zeringue