A certainly controversial figure coming from evolutionary biology. He is known for his anti-religious public appearances and publications.
What he is less known for inventing the word meme. It comes from his book “The selfish gene” and stands for a unit of human cultural evolution analogous to the gene. From an evolutionary point of view a meme has the same attributes: reproduction, selfishness and natural selection.
In this book he methodically goes through a handful of ideas and puts them in parallel with evolution. I found it a nice mental exercise.
Let me quote his take on explaining ball games for the roboticists around here.
“When a man throws a ball high in the air and catches it again. he behaves as if he had solved a set of differential equations in predicting the trajectory of the ball… at some subconscious level, something functionally equivalent to the mathematical calculations is going on.”
And for the sake of completeness, I’m also presenting some of his anti-religious quotes. Be advised, they may make sense!
“I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world.”
“Religion is about turning untested belief into unshakable truth through the power of institutions and the passage of time.”
“Science flies you to the moon, religion flies you into buildings.”