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Old 02-14-2008, 12:16 PM   #1
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Richard Dawkins to retire, Process to choose successor under way.

From http://richarddawkins.net/article,2246,n,n

I will be watching with great anticipation to see who will be chosen to fill the very big shoes that Professor Dawkins will be leaving behind. Also, if you have the time, read over the original manifesto written by Charles Simonyi. It's marvelous.

By the way, in case anyone is jumping to conclusions or curious, Professor Dawkins is retiring because he has reached mandatory retirement age. He will still be very active, and is currently writing yet another book, but as of right now I don't know if it will be another book touching on religiosity or if he will return to his roots of writing about molecular biology.
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Old 02-14-2008, 12:20 PM   #2
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Old 02-14-2008, 12:39 PM   #3
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He seems pretty content in his little frozen corner of the world. Somehow, I don't see it.

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Old 02-14-2008, 12:41 PM   #4
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Old 02-14-2008, 12:42 PM   #5
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Old 02-14-2008, 12:42 PM   #6
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Choo-Bus! Choo-Bus! Choo-Bus! Choo-Bus!
Now that would be a sight to behold!

And the theists thought that Dawkins was confrontational?

"The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one."
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Old 02-14-2008, 12:44 PM   #7
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Actually, I was perusing the job vacancies at Oxford recently and noticed that the Simonyi professorship was listed. Even if I wasn't grossly underqualified for such a position I still wouldn't take it; why trade doing real science for making fun of clueless wankers? I can do that here

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Old 02-14-2008, 12:55 PM   #8
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At first, I thought it was farfetched, but then I read this comment by PZ himself over on Pharyngula (referring to a comment posted by Dawkins on his own site):
Quote:
PZ Myers wrote
As he mentions in the thread over there, RIchard has invited me to apply...but he also invited Lawrence Krauss and Carolyn Porco. The competition is a bit intimidating.
He's not dismissing the idea, so it sounds like he is somewhat interested.

"The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one."
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Old 02-14-2008, 02:37 PM   #9
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I think he would be crazy not to be interested. It's a very prestigious position. However, and I say this as a fan of PZ, I don't think his publication record is up to the task of taking over for Dawkins. I know he's been scratching at a book for a while, but research and teaching keep him pretty busy, not to mention his blog. He's too busy feeding us Pharyngulites. He is very good at communicating with the public, especially about the complexities of neurology.
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Old 02-15-2008, 06:03 AM   #10
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I'm just looking forward to his next book. I hope he goes back to biology, because The Selfish Gene and The Ancestor's Tale were amazing.
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Old 02-17-2008, 07:04 AM   #11
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Old 02-20-2008, 09:07 AM   #12
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I'm just looking forward to his next book. I hope he goes back to biology, because The Selfish Gene and The Ancestor's Tale were amazing.
http://www.observer.com/2008/richard...ss-3-5-million

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Old 02-21-2008, 01:19 PM   #13
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I am very, very glad he is going.
I don't especially want to diss the guy (as he's going!) just celebrate the fact!
A Professor for the Public Understanding of Science is a fantastic idea, it will be most excellent if we have a real good one this time!
Thanks for putting a smile on my face today!!!

It was great that Richard Dawkins has spoken out, made programs, and written books countering the god-nonsense and pseudoscience, but he was never a good choice for the job of a Professor for the Public Understanding of Science, nor was especially good at it. What he gave with one hand, he took with the other. He was a hack, a maverick, a freewill-psychotic fantasist, and a cack-handed rhetoric-obsessed misteacher of science, who's trump card was a very simple theory first published by other scientists in the 1850's, which he made a cack-handed job of representing and a good job of creating mistaken ideas about. And contrary to the manifesto of selection criteria for the post, he was not at the hard-end of science, he was at the softest end of biology - an ethologist. Now famously associated with "evolutionary biology", the hard facts of the matter are that the people who have contributed most to understanding in the field of evolutionary biology in recent decades are all those who have unleashed the molecular biology revolution, from the discovery of the structure of DNA, through to the discovery of the genetic code and, the gene-protein-phenotype revelations, and on and up. Did he help the public understand all this critical stuff? Not a lot!

And he had great, great points too, no doubt, and I have no malice towards the guy whatever. I am very grateful for his anti-pseudo science endeavours. He spoke up about, importantly, about all that nonsense. This post is not intended to be balanced. I am sure others will provide that, just as I am sure others will overlook his critical failings. (And I admit, that after his first three books, I simply haven't been able to stomach reading any more! I was very excited by the look of The Ancestor's Tail when it came out, beautiful the hardback certainly is, but I found the prose his usual mountain-out-of molehill way of describing evolution stuff. Perhaps he made up for his bad-points in there. I do hope so!) Thankfully, the theory of evolution is simple at heart, and many people have thus benefited from his output despite his mishandled communication of it. However his insistence on nonsensical rhetoric has *harmed*,and *impeded* the public understanding of real science IMH guess.

Well a new dawn is coming ...

If the selection committe follow the selection criteria, and select an excellent candidate the public will be well-served. (This didn't happen with Dawkins. His selection, was effectively bought by the benefactor).

I doubt very much the committee will select another biologist, although a biochemist/physiologist teacher, one who can explain the nuts-and-bolts of life, would be a great boon.

I shall be glad if we get a real teacher, someone who is rigourously honest, fully sane, and passionate and effective in giving people the most important benefits of unflinchingly honest thinking and the delight and enlightenment of scientific discoveries, and in instigating excitement in people to be scientific and to enjoy the adventure of science themselves.

[Is there anyone like Feynman out there?]

Healthy genes act as team-players. They are teamish!
Their winning plays are
salvations of an aliveness of which they are a part.
Only a fraction of genes are selfish/parasitic (and they
parasitize teams).
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