Richard Dawkins writes really silly things about science and philosophy

Figs in Winter
6 min readMar 8, 2021
[image: Dawkins at the University of Texas at Austin in 2008, Wikimedia]

I’ve known Richard Dawkins for decades. Not in the sense that we are pals. But we have crossed paths a number of times, once because I invited him to give a public talk at the University of Tennessee, another because we both contributed to a stimulating symposium on “Moving naturalism forward” organized by cosmologist Sean Carroll. I have never seen eye-to-eye with Dawkins. I think his famous “selfish genes” view of evolution is too narrow. I maintain that his influential concept of memes is nothing but a misleading metaphor. And I think his criticism of religion is crude and ineffective.

But over the years the most annoying attitude that Dawkins has displayed, as far as I’m concerned, is his relentless criticism of philosophy, coupled with a hopelessly naive view of science. And this past weekend he’s done it again. I woke up Sunday morning to the following tweet:

“Science is not a social construct. Science’s truths were true before there were societies; will still be true after all philosophers are dead; were true before any philosophers were born; were true before there were any minds, even trilobite or dinosaur minds, to notice them.”

Now, I normally don’t bother responding to tweets, even of famous people. And I even more rarely write a whole essay about them, such as…

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Figs in Winter

by Massimo Pigliucci. New Stoicism and Beyond. Entirely AI free.