Richard Dawkin's Essay on Darwin's Wasp

Richard Dawkin's Essay on Darwin's Wasp

Length: 844 words (2.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In Richard Dawkins’s essay about Darwin’s wasp, he makes an argument that nature’s role is to ensure DNA survival. The inductive argument begins by observing the behavior of the wasp. As Dawkins observes, the wasp inserts its stinger into the central nervous system of the caterpillar and paralyzes it. Then the wasp implants larva. The larvae eat the caterpillar alive. This may seem cruel to the human mind if we apply the concept of suffering to this process, but ultimately, this is nature at work. He cites several primary sources of data including the behavior of the wasp to the cheetah and the gazelle. This inductive thought process illustrates and supports Darwin’s theory of natural selection.
Dawkins further argues that purposeful design is an illusion. In doing so, Dawkins cites the work of William Paley as a secondary source to argue his own point there is not a divine maker. Paley points out that if a watch has a watchmaker, then it follows that living bodies have a divine designer. But Dawkins asserts this cannot be true, because Darwin has proved that living bodies exist because DNA makes it possible. It is this specific inductive argument of DNA survival which Dawkins uses to refute the idea of purposeful design.
We can infer here that Dawkins is interested in proving that what humans think they know about God is at best an illusion. At the end of the day, it is nature that rules. Conversely, we can look at St. Thomas Aquinas’s deductive argument in “King of the Bees” to understand his views on God. He sets forth a premise that the best way to govern is by kingship. Aquinas uses God as a primary source to support his argument. Specifically, Samuel 13:14, “The Lord hath sought Him a man after His own heart” is cited to...

... middle of paper ...

...a certain purpose, but if we tried to reverse engineer an organism, we would fail. It cannot be understood in the same way, because we don’t know what it wants. To support the inference, Dawkins cites the example of a cheetah and a gazelle. On the one hand, the cheetah is made for killing the gazelle. Conversely, the gazelle is made for survival, which defeats the cheetah’s purpose. The logical induction is this cannot be God’s utility. Dawkins concludes this is the utility function of DNA and actually “explains the "purpose" of both the cheetah and the gazelle” (Dawkins, 1995). By inference, we conclude that nature is neutral and organisms just exist because they do. It sounds almost Zen.

Works Cited

Dawkins, R. (1995, November). God's Utility Function. Retrieved July 13, 2011, from

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Critique Of Religion, The God Delusion, By Richard Dawkins Essay

- In his critique of religion, The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins makes several fundamental flaws in his reasoning for disputing the arguments in Thomas Aquinas’s Five Ways, particularly the Third Way: The Argument From Contingency. Dawkins writes of this argument, and the others, in a condescending, blatantly contemptuous manner. It is clear that he did not make an attempt to thoroughly understand the points that Aquinas makes, and in his rush to refute them, he overlooks a few errors of his own....   [tags: God, Atheism, Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion]

Better Essays
1443 words (4.1 pages)

Essay on Charles Darwin 's Theory Of Evolution

- More and more today we are finding evidence that evolution indeed can and does spur entirely new species. The first person to theorize this concept was Charles Darwin back in 1859 in his book, On the Origin of Species. His claims on universal common descent and natural selection are the very early understandings of evolution and its capabilities. There have also been two recent findings through a groundbreaking experiment of E. coli bacteria and the discovery of a new hominin species named Homo floresiensis that help support the claims made by Darwin....   [tags: Evolution, Charles Darwin, Natural selection]

Better Essays
939 words (2.7 pages)

Charles Darwin 's Greatest Leader Essay

- Charles Darwin did not always want to be a scientist, but he had always been interested in the living things that were around him. When he attended school his favorite subject was chemistry. He also made collections of beetles, bird eggs, shells, stones and fossils. Which lead him to dig deeper into science. Now he is one of the greatest scientists of all time with all of his incredible discoveries, like the Theory of Evolution, Natural Selection, and Origin of species that have helped shaped the world to what it is today....   [tags: Charles Darwin, Evolution, Natural selection]

Better Essays
1494 words (4.3 pages)

Essay on The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins

- Humans have been studied over a period of long time in order to understand our process to do things and what thoughts go into that process. Human nature varies and is unpredictable, it has been studied for so long over the past few centuries that one thing is for certain; the building blocks of it is essentially the same to every human being. One of the fundamentals of human nature is the selfish gene and The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins “show how both individual selfishness and individual altruism are explained by the fundamental law that I am calling gene selfishness” (Dawkins 6)....   [tags: reasoning, book review and analysis]

Better Essays
643 words (1.8 pages)

The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins Essay

- In The Blind Watchmaker, evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins provides arguments to support the validity of Darwin’s theories of mutation, cumulative evolution, and natural selection as the only plausible explanations for the evolution of living organisms. In Chapter 7, Dawkins discusses the main concepts of the “arms race” and the “Red Queen Hypothesis”, the concept that organisms must continuously adapt and evolve in conjunction in response to the different selection pressures organisms and the environment place on each other....   [tags: Arms Race, Mutualistic Relationship]

Better Essays
1292 words (3.7 pages)

Darwin and Design Essay

- For the majority of the article "Sympathetic Science: Charles Darwin, Joseph Hooker, and the Passions of Victorian Naturalists" Endersby discusses the relationship of Darwin with other naturalist such as Huxley, Hooker and Wallace. and then goes on to comment on the separate spheres of the era and how that effected their relationships. Until the sub section labelled "Dear Old Darwin" not much is pertinent. The article concludes most enlightening by stating "nineteenth-century science flourished in the world of men- only clubs and societies, a world from which women and children were excluded....   [tags: Charles Darwin's Ideas, Comparisons]

Better Essays
1042 words (3 pages)

Biography of Charles Darwin Essay

- "The Catholic church has absolutely no view on 'Darwin's Theory of Evolution' or 'Darwinism' what is commonly believed by the magistarium is that one should not necessarily take the Bible in a literal sense" -An excerpt from Robert Richard's The Meaning of Evolution. Charles Darwin, a British naturalist has revolutionized biological and genetic studies with his new idea of "Natural Selection." His theory on evolution, which held that a species had emerged from preexisting or "basic" forms....   [tags: Charles Darwin Biography]

Free Essays
946 words (2.7 pages)

Essay on Biography of Charles Darwin

- Feb.12, 1809-April 19,1882 Charles Darwin was born in the city of Shrewsbbury, England and was raised as a fifth child by a wealthy family. (His father was a physician and son of Erasmus Darwin, a poet, philosopher and naturalist. His mother Susannah Wedgewood, died when Charles was eight.) In 1825, Darwin graduated from the elite school at shrewdsbury. He then attended the University of Edinburgh to study medicine. In 1927 he dropped out and entered the University of Cambridge in order to become a clergyman for the Church of England....   [tags: Charles Darwin Biography]

Free Essays
628 words (1.8 pages)

Essay on Biography of Charles Darwin

- Charles Darwin brought many interesting ideas to the world of science. He was credited for developing the evolutionary theory by natural selection and also for discovering a species of frog while in South America. Darwin has many followers of his theory of evolution but there are many people who are trying to disprove his theory. These people have showed that their different theories prove Darwin could not have been correct in every aspect of his theory, but there is no absolute right or wrong to the theory of evolution....   [tags: Charles Darwin Biography]

Free Essays
989 words (2.8 pages)

Charles Darwin Essay

- Charles Darwin began his scientific breakthroughs and upcoming theories when he began an expedition trip to the Galapagos Islands of South America. While studying there, he discovered that each island had its own type of plant and animal species. Although these plants and animals were similar in appearance, they had other characteristics that made them differ from one another and seem to not appear as similar. Darwin questioned why these plants and animals were on these islands and why they are different in ways....   [tags: Essay on Charles Darwin 2014]

Better Essays
468 words (1.3 pages)