Richard Dawkins on Why our Genes Are in Charge

Imagine you’re a robot and someone–or something–else is running your life behind the scenes. Richard Dawkins’ groundbreaking 1973 bestseller The Selfish Gene argues just that. According to the “gene’s eye view” of evolution, we only exist as vessels to protect and pass on our genes, which are the things that really matter. This controversial claim was a game changer in the science of evolution–it revolutionized the field.

Incidentally, Dawkins also invented the word “meme” in this book, inadvertently revolutionizing the face of popular culture as well.

Study Guide for LitCharts

On December 27th, 1831, young British geologist Charles Darwin embarked on a five-year sea voyage around the world aboard the HMS Beagle to collect samples for geological research. The ship sailed from Plymouth, England, before traveling down the west African coastline to Cape Town, across the Atlantic Ocean, around South America, and on to Australia via Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands. After witnessing the immense biodiversity… read on