One of the most important books to influence me becoming a behavioural scientist was “The Selfish Gene” written 25 years ago. Today I finally got to meet the author who changed my worldview. It’s not the first time I have been in the same room as Richard Dawkins. About 10 years ago, I shared a train carriage with him but he was so caught up in working on a manuscript and I was so star-struck that I didn’t have the nerve to introduce myself, and say what exactly?
As many of you know, my work has often been contrasted with Richard Dawkins and simpletons often misunderstand what I am saying as contrary to his meme thesis. However, today it was quite clear that we are singing from the same hymn sheet. We had a great discussion about essentialism before his co-presentation with his wife, Lalla Ward (Yes, that’s right… Hammer Horror film actress and side -kick of Tom Baker’s Dr. Who). Children’s essentialism was raised again by a question from the audience (thank you for that Thalia of course!) where he discussed Ernst Mayr’s proposal that psychological essentialism was a fundamental obstacle in human reasoning when it came to understanding natural selection. Music to my ears of course.
He has a signed copy of SuperSense and promised to start reading it tonight. I even think he might! What a day to remember.