Morals, memes, and gerin oilBMJ 2006; 332 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.332.7553.1294-e (Published 01 June 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:1294
- Balaji Ravichandran
Richard Dawkins is a zoologist—an ethologist, to be precise—who tries to understand animal behaviour. He is also the first professor of public understanding of science at Oxford University, a position he has held since 1995. He wants to inspire people to see the poetry in science, the way Carl Sagan did, and sees his opposition to religion as an integral part of his job.
I visited him at his home in Oxford to learn more about his work in promoting public understanding of science, to understand his views on biomedical issues, and to discover why he is so opposed to the influence of religion on society.
“Doctors, in my opinion, are a bit undereducated in Darwinism,” he lamented, when I told him that I was a medical student working for the BMJ.
He doesn't suggest that doctors should study comparative anatomy or evolution. But he thinks they should take some time to reflect on the problems posed by diseases in an evolutionary perspective.
“For example, lower back pain can be viewed as a fundamentally four legged musculoskeletal system trying to cope with having recently become bipedal.” Similarly, developing some of the …