An Analysis of Richard Dawkins's The Selfish Gene
Richard Dawkins provides excellent examples of his reasoning and interpretation skills in The Selfish Gene. His 1976 book is not a work of original research, but instead a careful explanation of evolution, combined with an argument for a particular interpretation of several aspects of evolution. Since Dawkins is building on other researchers' work and writing for a general audience, the central elements of good reasoning are vital to his book: producing a clear argument and presenting a persuasive case; organising an argument and supporting its conclusions. In doing this, Dawkins also employs the crucial skill of interpretation: understanding what evidence means; clarifying terms; questioning definitions; giving clear definitions on which to build arguments. The strength of his reasoning and interpretative skills played a key part in the widespread acceptance of his argument for a gene-centred interpretation of natural selection and evolution - and in its history as a bestselling classic of science writing.
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