Richard Dawkins, in particular, comes in for some hard knocks. This is surprisingly rare, perhaps, as Markowitz suggests, because there's been a closing of the ranks among many scientists in today's fundamentalist-friendly climate. But rank-closing is always a bad idea. Better to tell the truth and be damned. Science will be better for it.
In fact, you don't need to be much of a scientist to see some of the flaws in Dawkins' ideas. Take the famous "selfish gene." This isn't like the normal "good mutation," where, for example, a finch born with a beak especially well suited for cracking seeds will outperform and out-reproduce other finchs. The selfish gene does nothing for the organism. All it does is increase its own chances of being present in the next generation.
But a selfish gene which doesn't code for any other advantage is self-defeating. Dawkins' theory comes up against the fallacy of composition, which is the fallacy behind standing up at a concert; if you're the only one who stands you get a great view, but if everyone follows your example you all might just as well have stayed in your seats.
The selfish gene is supposed to generate strategies that get more of my genes (assuming I'm a carrier) in the next generation than any of my friends' and neighbors' do. But if it's the strategy coded by the selfish gene that accounts for my success, each generation of my descendants will find themselves in an more competitive world. A “winning” selfish gene will end up in more people with every go-round. That means that a bigger percentage of the population will use the genes' strategies, and sooner or later there will be so many people using the same strategies that their advantages will cancel each other out. A better beak will eventually be found on every finch, but the merely selfish gene confers a smaller and smaller advantage with every new generation until it loses effectiveness.
Finches with the better beak will produce more young than those with the less efficient model simply because they use less work to get the same nutrition and live longer, healthier lives. They get more out of the environment than their ancestors and thus live in a more abundant world. This will be true no matter how many seeds there are to crack and eat. It's only when there aren't enough seeds to go around that the battle of the beaks becomes a competition among finches—and it may not even then. (There are too many complex factors here to consider this in detail.)
The selfish gene scenario, by contrast, sees evolution as a zero-sum game. My victory is your loss. But it's such a poor strategy in the long run that it will always get trumped by actual improvements in the way the species makes use of resources. Selfish genes not only have to contend with their own success and with competing genes; they're all too likely to be left in the dust by a more efficient use of the environment
There are other problems with Dawkins' gene-centered view of life. But this one, at least, should have been obvious from the beginning.