I have also tried to make the book as near as possible to being enjoyable to read.The resulting tone may possibly irritate some serious professionals.From 1987 to 1969 he was an Assistant Professor at the University of California at Berkeley, then he returned to Oxford as University Lecturer (later Reader) and a Fellow of New College, before taking up his present position in 1995.Richard Dawkins's bestselling books have played a significant role in the renaissance of science book publishing for a general audience. In 1991 he gave the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures.He has won many literary and scientific awards, including the 1987 Royal Society of Literature Award, the 1990 Michael Faraday Award of the Royal Society, the 1994 Nakayama Prize for Human Science, and the 1997 International Cosmos Prize. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the, prior permission in writing of Oxford University Press.Within the UK, exceptions are allowed in respect of any fair dealing for the purpose of research or private study, or criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, or in the case of reprographic reproduction in accordance with the terms of the licences issued by the Copyright licensing Agency.Since it is not a factual position I am advocating, but a way of seeing facts, I wanted to warn the reader not to expect “evidence” in the normal sense of the word.I announced that the book was a work of advocacy, because I was anxious not to disappoint the reader, not to lead her on under false pretences and waste her time.
The opening sentence of Chapter 1 describes the book as a work of unabashed advocacy but, well, perhaps I am just a little bit abashed! 28–29) has rightly castigated the “advocacy method” in any search for scientific truth, and I have therefore devoted some of my first chapter to a plea of mitigation.
Some laypeople who read this book in draft have been kind enough, or polite enough, to claim to have liked it.
It would give me great satisfaction to believe them, and I have added a glossary of technical terms which I hope may help.
It is a personal look at the evolution of life, and in particular at the logic of natural selection and the level in the hierarchy of life at which natural selection can be said to act.
I happen to be an ethologist, but I hope preoccupations with animal behaviour will not be too noticeable. The readers for whom I am mainly writing are my professional colleagues, evolutionary biologists, ethologists and sociobiologists, ecologists, and philosophers and humanists interested in evolutionary science, including, of course, graduate and undergraduate students in all these disciplines.