Welcome to Doctor Anna’s Book Club!

This is the book club for everyone with an interest in science irrespective of background and previous knowledge.

This is a platform where people from all walks of life gather together and discuss influential popular science books and where all questions and queries are welcome.

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Sci Hard and read even harder!
– Doctor Anna

Upcoming book:

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins

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Previous Book:

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
Read the review here shortly!

Chapter 3: The Immortal Coils
We are reading The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins

What do you think of Dawkins' definition of a gene? Do you think it is an uncareful choice of wording to call this unit of selection "gene"? Can this use of terminology lead to misunderstandings and misconceptions?


On my p. 56, second paragraph:
//This comes perilously close to a circular argument, since the existence of sexuality is a precondition for the whole chain of reasoning that leads to the gene being regarded as the unit of selection. I believe there are ways of escaping from the circularity, but this book is not the place to pursue the question.//

I was personally not happy with this as, exactly like Dawkins himself states, this is the prerequisite for his whole argumentation. I would very much like to have seen him escape the circularity.


I'm very interested to hear your thoughts on this chapter!

Sci Hard!
- Doctor Anna

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Chapter 2: The Replicators

So, what are your opinions on this chapter? Do you agree with Dawkins' reasoning around the first replicating molecules?

I personally like this explanation.
The one thing that I sometimes find myself arguing about is the formation of the first replicators.
The process of natural selection can be observed in the lab. The spontaneous formation of amino acids under certain conditions has been observed.
However, the one thing that we have yet not observed live is the formation of a replicator. This, of course, has the obvious reason: TIME. Nonetheless, this part of the concept is very difficult for many to process and is seen as the "big guess" by many (not me). It is also the stage where many religious scientists see the involvement of a higher deity (based on the conversations I have had).

I'm now intrigued to hear your thoughts on the chapter: do you agree with Dawkins regarding his concept? are you perhaps religious and if so, how do you argue around this hypothesis (is "hypothesis" the right word?)?

Sci Hard!
- Doctor Anna

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I have decided to post the next chapter tomorrow.
These chapters are very long and complex and there are only 13 of them and even fewer if you have an old edition of the book.
Also, I don't want to discourage the discussion of the previous chapter too early as I find it too exciting!

Let me know if you object to taking three days per chapter!
Also, let me know if there are any other things you wish for.

Sci Hard!
- Doctor Anna

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This is Doctor Anna

Doctor Anna is a Ph.D. biologist with degrees from world-renowned institutions such as Cambridge University and Max-Planck Institute. She currently resides in Berlin, Germany. Sci Hard!