The evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins addressed some political topics during a recent event at Kennesaw State University, including the importance of feminism to science and the role of evolutionary theory in politics.
During the event on November 21, Kennesaw’s Michael L. Sanseviro asked the outspoken atheist about the contributions of feminism to science. He also asked Dawkin’s opinion of the men’s rights movement.
“Of course feminism has an enormously important role,” he replied. “Feminism, as I understand it, is the political drive towards the equality of women — so that women should not be discriminated against, nobody should be discriminated against on grounds that don’t merit discrimination. So, yes, feminism is enormously important and is a political movement which deserves to be thoroughly well-supported.”
Much to the amusement of the audience, Dawkins expressed confusion about the existence of a “men’s rights movement.”
“I didn’t, I hardly knew — is there a men’s right movement?” he remarked.
“If there is discrimination against men, then that’s bad too. I don’t know whether there is. I haven’t heard of it.”
He added that discrimination against any group should be deplored.
Sanseviro then asked Dawkins about same-sex marriage, and whether it violated “the evolution principle.”
“I don’t care what’s against the evolution principle. I’m all for going against the evolution principle,” Dawkins replied.
He warned against turning the survival of the fittest into public policy.
“Evolution by natural selection is the explanation for why we exist. It is not something to guide our lives in our own society. If we were to be guided by the evolution principle, then we would be living in a kind of ultra-Thatcherite, Reaganite society.”
“Study your Darwinism for two reasons,” he implored, “because it explains why you’re here, and the second reason is, study your Darwinism in order to learn what to avoid in setting up society. What we need is a truly anti-Darwinian society. Anti-Darwinian in the sense that we don’t wish to live in a society where the weakest go to the wall, where the strongest suppress the weak, and even kill the weak. We — I, at least — do not wish to live in that kind of society. I want to live in the sort of society where we take care of the sick, where we take care of the weak, take care of the oppressed, which is a very anti-Darwinian society.”