The feeling of awed wonder that science can give us is one of the highest experiences of which the human psyche is capable.
Richard Dawkins and universal Darwinism
Richard Dawkins is one of the founders of Universal Darwinism. His Selfish Gene not only established him as one of the century's great evolutionary biologist, it also contained a chapter, Memes: the new replicator, which introduced the concept of the meme and was one of the first explanations of non-biological phenomena in terms Darwinian processes.
Dawkins may have coined the term 'Universal Darwinism' in 1982 when he publish an article of the same name arguing that any life elsewhere in the universe would have evolved via the same Darwinian process as did life on earth.
Most of Richards books concern evolutionary biology and are very accessible to the motivated public. The Extended Phenotype extends many of the concepts of the Selfish Gene in arguing that the evolutionary unit of selection is the gene and that genes are successful if their vehicles, or the life forms they encode, are successful. Genes may also code for phenotypes such as behaviours that are external to the organism. A favourite example is beaver's dam building ability.
The Blind Watchmaker is an explicit argument against the argument from design and together with Climbing Mount Improbable are two of the best explanations available of biological evolution.
More recently Richard has turned his attention to combating the notion that Religion offers a superior worldview to Science. Unweaving the Rainbow discusses the shortcomings of many non-scientific worldviews and mounts a spirited defense for the intellectual and spiritual joys to be encountered through a scientific worldview.
Richard believes and champions a naturalistic worldview and is a founding member of The Brights organization.