An understanding of evolutionary science is useful in economics, engineering, medicine and agriculture, said Dawkins.
Richard Dawkins Wants Evolutionary Science To Be ‘The New Classics’
Author: Carole Jahme
Source: The Guardian
Richard Dawkins has been the recipient of numerous honours and prizes, including the Kistler Prize, the Shakespeare Prize, a Galaxy National Book Award, and the Michael Faraday Prize.
Of course he is also admired as an outspoken atheist. His bestseller, The God Delusion, has outsold all of his other books and it is for his secularism that Dawkins has received his most recent award. At the weekend the British Humanist Association presented him with its Award for Distinguished Services to Humanism. Previous recipients have included Julian Huxley, Philip Pullman and Polly Toynbee.
Dawkins opened his acceptance speech by quoting from memory some of Bertrand Russell's essay "Why I am not a Christian".
"I believe that when I die I shall rot, and nothing of my ego will survive. I am not young and I love life. But I should scorn to shiver with terror at the thought of annihilation."
He went on to speak about man's position in the tree of life – "God knows my subject of evolution is no stranger to controversy. We are closer cousins to amoebas than amoebas are to bacteria, we are very close cousins to amoebas and this puts us in our place" – and ended his speech by reciting Julian Huxley's poem The Crystal Cabinet.
But sandwiched in between was his pitch, that "evolution will become the new classics".
Dawkins will lecture on evolutionary biology and science literacy at the New College of the Humanities which he helped to found. He explained that whereas classicists have traditionally been assumed to be the scholars most able to branch into any area of research, today – with advances in evolutionary study – it will be those with scholarship in evolutionary science who will supersede classicists in depth, breadth and usefulness.
He predicted that those who took his new degree course would achieve a "polymathic status". He said the course "places evolution at the centre but brings in lots and lots of other subjects such as economics, social science, philosophy, engineering, medicine, agriculture, linguistics, physics, cosmology and history of science."
Read more at Guardian