Talk:Richard Dawkins

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Good article Richard Dawkins has been listed as one of the Natural sciences good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.


This discussion is copied over from User talk:Intelligentsium.-- (talk) 23:11, 28 April 2016 (UTC)

I have started Talk:CelebrityNetWorth#Reliable source to discuss the topic you raise in your edit of Richard Dawkins. I would guess that CNW works hard to ensure that the numbers they publish are backed up by some documentation, just in case the celeb takes issue with the number and considers legal action or something like that. I was very surprised by how large the number was for RD. Where did it all come from? His book sales? The would seem relevant. And User:Mcfar54 accepted that pending edit. E. O. Wilson even said that Dawkins is "not a secientist". See . And I support Dawkins. Well, think about it.-- (talk) 03:01, 27 April 2016 (UTC)

I've responded on Talk:CelebrityNetWorth#Reliable source. Let's move the RS discussion there. However, with regards to Dawkins, two things: to include his net worth, it has to be demonstrated that (1) Richard Dawkins' net worth is a notable fact about him, and (2) CNW is a reliable source. One person saying that Dawkins is not a scientist does not make it so (though at his age it's quite uncommon for scientists to still be doing active research; I do agree he's probably more of a writer and educator), but whether he's a scientist or not doesn't make that much of a difference - in either case, why is his net worth important to his article? Intelligentsium 03:28, 27 April 2016 (UTC)
I think it is notable that he has that much money. Where did it come from? Did he inherit it? He certainly did not make it from his professorship or his research. It is a lot more net worth than, say, Mark Hurd. And Hurd simply worked to make a lot of money. To me, Dawkins's money is notable in and of itself.-- (talk) 03:45, 27 April 2016 (UTC)
"Where did it come from? Did he inherit it? He certainly did not make it from his professorship or his research." Exactly - it's precisely because CNW claims he has that much money that I am suspicious. I don't believe simply being rich makes a person notable (or at least, not at that level. Indeed there are 2,400,000 millionaires in the United Kingdom and over 20 million in the world). Net worth might be a valuable fact for an article about a business executive like Mark Hurd, but for someone whose primary reason for notability is not making money, it may be trivia at best and undue coverage at worst to mention it. Intelligentsium 03:57, 27 April 2016 (UTC)


So criteri #2 is now being dealt with over at WP:RSN. Back to criteria #1. Well, it seems now that RD is a notable author. Authors writer and copyright their works, publisher them an sell those books for money. Just like Alan Moore or Tony Kushner or Kenneth Copeland or Angela Rippon. Those articles now have net worths stated and the edits have not (yet) been reverted. So the question is: is an estimate of RD's net worth OK to state in the article if CNW turns out to be a reliable source? Comment?-- (talk) 03:32, 29 April 2016 (UTC)

Note;User:Nymf has already reverted all those articles and more.--16:30, 29 April 2016 (UTC)
It is quite likely that his wealth comes from his books and television work. I am not sure however whether it should be mentioned. --Bduke (Discussion) 09:13, 29 April 2016 (UTC)
It seems that the discussion here is moot because all of the web site that are returned for the search are deemed not WP:RS. For now.-- (talk) 17:34, 30 April 2016 (UTC)

Dawkins is most notably an author[edit]

I think that the first sentence should read:

Clinton Richard Dawkins FRS FRSL (born 26 March 1941) is an English author, ethologist and evolutionary biologist.

That lists his "author" role first. That is what he is most notable for. Just read our lead section. It only talks about his books after the first short paragraph. Or should we modify the lead section. I hope we do not go about wildly expanding the lead section. RD is hard to summarize.-- (talk) 18:23, 30 April 2016 (UTC)

I like the way it flows now, scientists usually make a name in field and then become authors. For example - "Stephen William Hawking is an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology". It is fairly common for scientists to have author towards or at the end of the list. Not a huge deal to me either way. Lipsquid (talk) 18:37, 30 April 2016 (UTC)
I also agree that he is most notable, first, as a scientist. With the exception of fiction writers, authors tend to write about that in which they are most versed and famous; this holds true with Dawkins. It doesn't make sense to say: He's an author on evolutionary biology, and he's also an evolutionary biologist. The field should be first, followed by the fact that he also lectures, writes and teaches in that field (or closely related fields (i.e.; science vs creationism, etc). Xenophrenic (talk) 19:33, 30 April 2016 (UTC)
Ethologist, evolutionary biologist, and author is the correct order. Early in his career he was primarily and ethologist who subsequently began to focus on theoretical and conceptual issues in evolutionary biology, and finally finally an author who wrote more popular books and articles on these topics. --I am One of Many (talk) 20:01, 30 April 2016 (UTC)
I have not bothered in the article to note that The Selfish Gene was his second most popular book. He made millions on that one too. That came early in his career. And what notable science had he done before that? See? It is hard to say because you do not remember or never knew. His first book made him notable and early in his career.-- (talk) 20:18, 30 April 2016 (UTC)
The book is on evolutionary biology. I first met Dawkins shortly after he wrote The Selfish Gene, so I do think I know. --I am One of Many (talk) 20:38, 30 April 2016 (UTC)
Yes, but we list no notable scientists that RD influenced.-- (talk) 20:43, 30 April 2016 (UTC)
There are several notable scientists that Dawkins influenced, detailed in this book. Would you care to add that information? Regards, Xenophrenic (talk) 20:46, 30 April 2016 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Added Steven Pinker to influenced parameter in infoxbox. But he is not a biologist. But anyway...he is a scientist.-- (talk) 22:13, 30 April 2016 (UTC)

Popular science author[edit]

I had RD as a popular science autor, just like the first line in the Steven Pinker article, but the addition of "popular science" for RD got reverted. Feedback, please?-- (talk) 20:43, 1 May 2016 (UTC)

He above all a science author and secondarily a popular science author, so why not just leave it as author? --I am One of Many (talk) 21:17, 1 May 2016 (UTC)
So what about Steven Pinker. Is his science easier or less notable and so just "popular science"? Should we remove "popular science" out of his first sentence as well?-- (talk) 23:43, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
Pinker is a more engaging and entertaining speaker. In his post scientific life, Dawkins is noted more for his activism than his entertainment value.Poodleboy (talk) 06:24, 18 July 2016 (UTC)

Nationality in lede[edit]

I've resubmitted my edit, which changed the subject's ethnicity to his nationality as per the norm in Wikipedia.

The norm, it seems to me, is exemplified by the following articles:

Hjálmar Hjálmarson Mike Myers Franz Arzdorf Keith Allen etc

NB: I forgot to save this page, so my resubmission may have already been rejected or reverted again. If it has, I'll resubmit once more, with apologies. -- (talk) 19:16, 7 June 2016 (UTC)

  • I support the change to say that he is British. Various reverts have said "We are not talking about passports". What else are we talking about? England has not been a country for hundreds of years. It has no separate parliament. Describing him as English is nonsense. --Bduke (Discussion) 21:35, 7 June 2016 (UTC)
  • "Resubmit with apologies" simply means edit warring. "Overlinking"--you can look that up, at WP:OVERLINK. Passports: well, it's not that simple, and MOS:BLPLEAD has some guidance. Also, I have it on good authority that WereSpielChequers is not a total idiot, and may have something to add. Drmies (talk) 22:11, 7 June 2016 (UTC)
    • Comment saying that "Resubmit with apologies" equates to "edit warring" does not support WP:AGF. Please don't WP:BITE. Thanks for clarifying 'overlinking'. I guess you were referring to my wikilink for 'British'. My comments on the actual issue are below. -- (talk) 15:19, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Thanks Drmies. Personally I have some sympathy with the idea that British v English can sometimes seem nonsense. But nationalism in the UK is a complex and tricky subject and the norm in Wikipedia is best explained at Wikipedia:Nationality of people from the United Kingdom. ϢereSpielChequers 23:55, 7 June 2016 (UTC)
  • OK. It is complex, but it is still nonsense. I have both a British and an Australian passport. I consider myself to be both British and Australian. In the UK I lived in several places in England, but never in Scotland or Wales. I do not consider myself to be English. So what is the evidence about how Dawkins is described by others or by himself. If there is no evidence that he is described as English, we should use his passport and call him British. --Bduke (Discussion) 08:53, 8 June 2016 (UTC)
  • England is an ethnicity, in terms of international law and as compared to the difference between the nationality of a sovereign state and the description (or demonym) of a region or nation. By dint of calling England a 'nation', it must therefore have a 'nationality'. That is common sense of course. However, I think for consistency and style, the people of the UK should be mentioned by their sovereign nationality first, in the lede. Subsequently, I think it is important to mention also if they are English, Northern Irish, Scottish or Welsh (or none of those, or other). As I mentioned in my edit(-war) comment previously, generally people in a comparable country, the USA, are called 'American' in the lede, and not 'Texan', 'North Carolinian', 'Californian', 'North Dakotan' etc.

WP:MOSBLPLEAD suggests we do not use the ethnicity in the lede. If there are no more objections, I'll go ahead and re-edit (without the wikilink). -- (talk) 15:19, 14 June 2016 (UTC)

Unclear on this portion towards the beginning[edit]

"With his book The Extended Phenotype, published in 1982, he introduced into evolutionary biology the influential concept that the phenotypic effects of a gene are not necessarily limited to an organism's body, but can stretch far into the environment."

Uhm, what does this mean? Should this have a reference to put it into context? Is he talking about patterns on the seashell of a snail or crab being affected by the animal's gene's or what? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:15, 30 September 2016 (UTC)

Beavers create dams for their own benefit, but cause a wider environmental change. Wallowing pools become watering holes of last resort during drought, etc. Lipsquid (talk) 18:25, 7 November 2016 (UTC)
Also I see there is an article on the topic The Extended Phenotype - Lipsquid (talk) 18:31, 7 November 2016 (UTC)
Funny, I added a reference to the Beaver Dam image and a few other clarifications aimed at making evolutionary biology more understandeable to lay people reading, but they were reverted wholesale by someone. It is that kind of edit warring that turns people off contributing to Wikipedia. Billyshiverstick (talk) 20:09, 9 November 2016 (UTC) Well, fuck you asshole. I quit. Happy now? Billyshiverstick (talk) 20:09, 9 November 2016 (UTC)