The toughest ticket in London’s West End last week wasn’t for a new mega-hit musical from Cameron Mackintosh, or a new play by Tom Stoppard. The people who flocked to The Old Theatre were greeted by famed British radio and television presenter Melvyn Bragg (“Start the Week”) with the following opening words:
“They are in you and me; they created us, body and mind; and their preservation is the ultimate rationale for our existence. They have come a long way, those replicators. Now they go by the name of genes, and we are their survival machines.”
The words are from The Selfish Gene, by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. And the evening was a celebration of the thirty year anniversary of the publication of his classic book. As I was unable to attend, I asked Helena Cronin, the founder and director of Darwin@LSE, (and the author of The Ant and the Peacock), to guest edit this special edition of Edge, and she has kindly provided us with the complete audio of the event as well supervising the editing of the transcribed text. Edge is extremely grateful to her for her efforts.