I concur with Eliran H, so I'll answer mostly the second part of the question.
First, I don't understand the pairing of Dawkins' "selfish gene" and Dennett's "consciousness explained". I am not aware of any collaboration between the two on either of these works. I know they did not coauthor the books, but I'm talking about collaboration for the concepts dealt with by them. I have read The Selfish Gene, but not Consciousness Explained. Because of this, if I am missing some connection between the two, please add an elaboration in the question for the benefit of all who have missed the connection, including myself.
If one takes Alfred N. Whitehead and Conrad Waddington's work in The Nature of Life, for example then the "epigenetic landscape" has to be considered before I can address these more refined aspects of existence.
Epigenetics did not mean back then what it means now. Briefly, Waddington's "epigenetics" is roughly equivalent to the current word "phenotype". Far from ignoring it, Dawkins has written extensively on the topic. What is now called "epigenetic inheritance" is a very new field of study. I could expect a sequel to The Selfish Gene and The Extended Phenotype (by someone else) after the field of epigenetic inheritance and evolution is better established.
I need to provide an account or philosophy of organism in order to deal with a gene, consciousness, or whatever otherwise my claims will be wholly abstract.
To the extent that a philosophy of organism is required for a biology book, Dawkins already does that, with his (or Niko Tinbergen's) concept of "survival machines".
Why should we take seriously thinkers who offer only snapshots or puzzle pieces of Nature that they pass off or present as the completed or ultimate story to the mystery?
- Science is a work in progress. I can't imagine any researcher in any broad scientific field passing off their works as the "ultimate story to the mystery", much less so in biology.
- There is no "we". Each person has to make the choice for themselves. Whether you like it or not, plenty of current science is based on the gene-centered theory of evolution.