Richard Dawkins

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Richard Dawkins
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{{For|the archaeologist|Richard MacGillivray Dawkins}}{{pp-pc1}}{{short description|English ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author }}{{good article}}{{Use dmy dates|date=August 2019}}{{Use British English|date=July 2011}}

| image = Richard Dawkins Cooper Union Shankbone.jpg| caption = Dawkins at Cooper Union, New York City in 2010| birth_name = Clinton Richard Dawkins194126|df=y}}Nairobi, Kenya Colony>British Kenya| citizenship = United Kingdom| death_date =| death_place =| education = Oundle School| alma_mater = University of Oxford (MA, DPhil) | doctoral_advisor = Nikolaas Tinbergen| thesis_title = Selective pecking in the domestic chick| thesis_url =weblink| thesis_year = 1967| workplaces = University of California, BerkeleyNew College, OxfordUniversity of OxfordNew College of the Humanities Charles Darwin, W. D. Hamilton, Nikolaas TinbergenAN APPETITE FOR WONDER FIRST=RICHARD YEAR=2013 LOCATION=NEW YORK, NEW YORK PAGES=271–283, 287–294 Grafenpage=67}}Andrew F. Read,{{sfn>Grafenpage=3}} Helena Cronin,{{sfn2006John Krebs, Baron Krebs,{{sfn>Grafenpage=27}} David Haig (biologist),{{sfn>Grafenpage=50}} Alan Grafen,{{sfn2006Daniel Dennett,{{sfn>Grafenpage=101}} David Deutsch,{{sfn2006Steven Pinker,{{sfn>Grafenpage=130}} Martin Daly (professor),{{sfn>Grafenpage=191}} Margo Wilson,{{sfn2006Randolph M. Nesse,{{sfn>Grafenpage=203}} Kim Sterelny,{{sfn2006Michael Shermer,{{sfn>Grafenpage=227}} Richard Harries, Baron Harries of Pentregarth,{{sfn2006A. C. Grayling,{{sfn>Grafenpage=243}} Marek Kohn,{{sfn2006David P. Barash,{{sfn>Grafenpage=255}} Matt Ridley,{{sfn2006Philip Pullman{{sfn>Grafenpage=270}}Marian Dawkins>19 August 1967end=divorced}}Eve Barham({{abbrmarried}} 1984; {{abbrdivorced}} 19??)Lalla Ward({{abbrmarried}} 1992; separated}} 2016)| children = 1 weblink}} embed=yes pos=center filename2 = Richard Dawkins BBC Radio4 Start the Week 17 Oct 2011 b015yr4h.flac title2 = Richard Dawkins on science education. (From the BBC programme "Start the Week", 17 October 2011)}}}}Clinton Richard Dawkins, {{postnominals|country=GBR|FRS|FRSL}} (born 26 March 1941) is an English ethologist, evolutionary biologist, and author. He is an emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford, and was the University of Oxford's Professor for Public Understanding of Science from 1995 until 2008.Dawkins first came to prominence with his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, which popularised the gene-centred view of evolution and introduced the term meme. With his book The Extended Phenotype (1982), he introduced into evolutionary biology the influential concept that the phenotypic effects of a gene are not necessarily limited to an organism's body, but can stretch far into the environment. In 2006, he founded the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.Dawkins is known as an outspoken atheist. He is well known for his criticism of creationism and intelligent design. In The Blind Watchmaker (1986), he argues against the watchmaker analogy, an argument for the existence of a supernatural creator based upon the complexity of living organisms. Instead, he describes evolutionary processes as analogous to a blind watchmaker, in that reproduction, mutation, and selection are unguided by any designer. In The God Delusion (2006), Dawkins contends that a supernatural creator almost certainly does not exist and that religious faith is a delusion.Dawkins has been awarded many prestigious academic and writing awards, and he makes regular television, radio, and Internet appearances, predominantly discussing his books, his atheism, and his ideas and opinions as a public intellectual.BOOK, The New Celebrity Scientists: Out of the Lab and into the Limelight, Fahy, Declan, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2015,


Early life

Dawkins was born in Nairobi, then in British Kenya, on 26 March 1941.WEB,weblink Dawkins, Richard 1941– – Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series,, Cengage Learning, 16 May 2014, He is the son of Jean Mary Vyvyan (née Ladner; born 1916)WEB, Dawkins, Richard, My mother is 100 today. She & my late father gave me an idyllic childhood. Her writings on that time are quoted in An Appetite for Wonder,weblink Twitter, 26 November 2016, and Clinton John Dawkins (1915–2010), an agricultural civil servant in the British Colonial Service in Nyasaland (present-day Malawi), of an Oxfordshire landed gentry family.Burke's Landed Gentry 17th edition, ed. L. G. Pine, 1952, 'Dawkins of Over Norton' pedigree His father was called up into the King's African Rifles during World War IIBOOK, Richard, Dawkins, The Ancestor's Tale,weblink October 2004, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 978-0-618-00583-3, 317, WEB,weblink Brief Scientific Autobiography, 17 July 2010, Richard Dawkins Foundation, Dawkins, Richard, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 21 June 2010, and returned to England in 1949, when Dawkins was eight. His father had inherited a country estate, Over Norton Park in Oxfordshire, which he farmed commercially.NEWS, Dawkins, Richard, Lives Remembered: John Dawkins, The Independent, 11 December 2010,weblink 12 December 2010, London, Dawkins considers himself English and lives in Oxford, England.WEB,weblink Twitter profile where Dawkins mentions in his profile that he is English, 15 March 2013, 20 January 2016, Richard, Dawkins, Twiiter, WEB,weblink Tweet to AndyKindler, where Dawkins mentions that he is English, 5 October 2014, 20 January 2016, Richard, Dawkins, Twitter, WEB,weblink A twitter status update by Dawkins saying that he identifies as English,, 16 May 2014, NEWS, Richard Dawkins: 'I don't think I am strident or aggressive', Andrew, Anthony, 15 September 2013,weblink The Guardian, 21 September 2014, Dawkins has a younger sister, Sarah.Both his parents were interested in natural sciences, and they answered Dawkins's questions in scientific terms.NEWS,weblink Richard Dawkins: The foibles of faith, 13 March 2008, 12 October 2001, BBC News, Dawkins describes his childhood as "a normal Anglican upbringing".JOURNAL, Pollard, Nick, High Profile,weblink 18, April 1995, 15, 0309-3492, 3, Third Way Magazine, Third Way, He embraced Christianity until halfway through his teenage years, at which point he concluded that the theory of evolution was a better explanation for life's complexity, and ceased believing in a god.NEWS,weblink Hattenstone, Simon, Darwin's child, 22 April 2008, 10 February 2003, The Guardian, London, Dawkins states: "The main residual reason why I was religious was from being so impressed with the complexity of life and feeling that it had to have a designer, and I think it was when I realised that Darwinism was a far superior explanation that pulled the rug out from under the argument of design. And that left me with nothing."


File:Oundlegreathall.jpg|thumb|right|The Great Hall, Oundle SchoolOundle SchoolFrom 1954 to 1959 Dawkins attended Oundle School in Northamptonshire, an English public school with a distinct Church of England flavour, where he was in Laundimer house.WEB, CITEREFOundle2012b,weblink The Oundle Lecture Series, Oundle School, 2012b, 12 June 2012, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 30 April 2012, While at Oundle, Dawkins read Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not a Christian for the first time.{{sfn|Dawkins|2015|p=175}} He studied zoology at Balliol College, Oxford, graduating in 1962; while there, he was tutored by Nobel Prize-winning ethologist Nikolaas Tinbergen. He graduated with second-class honours.NEWS,weblink Preaching to the converted, Daily Telegraph, Preston, John, 2006-12-17, 2019-05-09, en-GB, 0307-1235, He continued as a research student under Tinbergen's supervision, receiving his MA and Doctor of PhilosophyTHESIS, DPhil, Richard Clinton, Dawkins, Selective pecking in the domestic chick, University of Oxford, 1966,weblink, {{EThOS|}} degrees by 1966, and remained a research assistant for another year.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink yes, 3 November 2012, Curriculum vitae, Richard, Dawkins, 1 January 2006, 13 March 2008, WEB,weblink Richard Dawkins: CV, 1 January 2006, 1 March 2007, Richard, Dawkins, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 23 April 2008, For direct link to media, see weblink" title="">this link Tinbergen was a pioneer in the study of animal behaviour, particularly in the areas of instinct, learning, and choice;NEWS, Michael, Schrage, Revolutionary Evolutionist, July 1995,weblink Wired, 21 April 2008, Dawkins's research in this period concerned models of animal decision-making.JOURNAL, Richard, Dawkins, A threshold model of choice behaviour, Animal Behaviour, 17, 1969, 10.1016/0003-3472(69)90120-1, 120–133, 1,


From 1967 to 1969, he was an assistant professor of zoology at the University of California, Berkeley. During this period, the students and faculty at UC Berkeley were largely opposed to the ongoing Vietnam War, and Dawkins became involved in the anti-war demonstrations and activities.WEB,weblink "Belief" interview, 8 April 2008, 5 April 2004, BBC, He returned to the University of Oxford in 1970 as a lecturer. In 1990, he became a reader in zoology. In 1995, he was appointed Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford, a position that had been endowed by Charles Simonyi with the express intention that the holder "be expected to make important contributions to the public understanding of some scientific field",WEB,weblink Manifesto for the Simonyi Professorship, 13 March 2008, Simonyi, Charles, Charles Simonyi, 15 May 1995, The University of Oxford, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 5 February 2016, and that its first holder should be Richard Dawkins.WEB,weblink Aims of the Simonyi Professorship, 23 April 2008, 28 June 2011, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 6 February 2016, He held that professorship from 1995 until 2008.WEB,weblink Previous holders of The Simonyi Professorship, 23 September 2010, The University of Oxford, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 31 January 2016, Since 1970, he has been a fellow of New College, Oxford, and he is now an emeritus fellow.WEB,weblink Emeritus, Honorary and Wykeham Fellows, 2 May 2008, 20 January 2016, New College, Oxford, WEB,weblink The Current Simonyi Professor: Richard Dawkins, 13 March 2008, The University of Oxford, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 11 March 2016, He has delivered many lectures, including the Henry Sidgwick Memorial Lecture (1989), the first Erasmus Darwin Memorial Lecture (1990), the Michael Faraday Lecture (1991), the T. H. Huxley Memorial Lecture (1992), the Irvine Memorial Lecture (1997), the Sheldon Doyle Lecture (1999), the Tinbergen Lecture (2004), and the Tanner Lectures (2003). In 1991, he gave the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures for Children on Growing Up in the Universe. He also has edited several journals, and has acted as editorial advisor to the Encarta Encyclopedia and the Encyclopedia of Evolution. He is listed as a senior editor and a columnist of the Council for Secular Humanism's Free Inquiry magazine, and has been a member of the editorial board of Skeptic magazine since its foundation.WEB,weblink Editorial Board, 22 April 2008, The Skeptics' Society, Dawkins has sat on judging panels for awards as diverse as the Royal Society's Faraday Award and the British Academy Television Awards, and has been president of the Biological Sciences section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2004, Balliol College, Oxford, instituted the Dawkins Prize, awarded for "outstanding research into the ecology and behaviour of animals whose welfare and survival may be endangered by human activities".WEB,weblink The Dawkins Prize for Animal Conservation and Welfare, 30 March 2008, 9 November 2007, Balliol College, Oxford,weblink" title="">weblink 12 September 2007, yes, In September 2008, he retired from his professorship, announcing plans to "write a book aimed at youngsters in which he will warn them against believing in 'anti-scientific' fairytales."NEWS, Harry Potter fails to cast spell over Professor Richard Dawkins,weblink The Daily Telegraph, 1 November 2008, Beckford, Martin, Khan, Urmee, yes, London, 24 October 2008, In 2011, Dawkins joined the professoriate of the New College of the Humanities, a new private university in London, established by A. C. Grayling, which opened in September 2012.NEWS,weblink New university to rival Oxbridge will charge £18,000 a year, 5 June 2011, 20 January 2016, Sunday Telegraph,


Evolutionary biology

{{further|Gene-centred view of evolution}}File:Dawkins at UT Austin.jpg|thumb|right|upright|At the University of Texas at AustinUniversity of Texas at AustinDawkins is best known for his popularisation of the gene as the principal unit of selection in evolution; this view is most clearly set out in his books:BOOK, Richard Dawkins: How a Scientist Changed the Way We Think : Reflections by Scientists, Writers, and Philosophers,weblink 2007, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-921466-2, 228, Mark, Ridley, BOOK, Lloyd, Elisabeth Anne, The structure and confirmation of evolutionary theory,weblink 1994, Princeton University Press, 978-0-691-00046-6,
  • The Selfish Gene (1976), in which he notes that "all life evolves by the differential survival of replicating entities".
  • The Extended Phenotype (1982), in which he describes natural selection as "the process whereby replicators out-propagate each other". He introduces to a wider audience the influential concept he presented in 1977,JOURNAL, Dawkins, Richard, Replicator Selection and the Extended Phenotype, Zeitschrift für Tierpsychologie, 1978, 47, 1, 61–76, 10.1111/j.1439-0310.1978.tb01823.x, 696023, that the phenotypic effects of a gene are not necessarily limited to an organism's body, but can stretch far into the environment, including the bodies of other organisms. Dawkins regarded the extended phenotype as his single most important contribution to evolutionary biology and he considered niche construction to be a special case of extended phenotype. The concept of extended phenotype helps explain evolution, but it does not help predict specific outcomes.WEB,weblink European Evolutionary Biologists Rally Behind Richard Dawkins's Extended Phenotype,, 20 January 2009, 28 June 2011,
Dawkins has consistently been sceptical about non-adaptive processes in evolution (such as spandrels, described by Gould and Lewontin)JOURNAL, Gould, Stephen Jay, Stephen Jay Gould, Lewontin, Richard C., Richard Lewontin, 1979, The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm: A Critique of the Adaptationist Programme, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, 205, 1161, B, 581–98, 10.1098/rspb.1979.0086, 42062, 1979RSPSB.205..581G, and about selection at levels "above" that of the gene.BOOK, Dawkins, Richard, The extended phenotype: the long reach of the gene, 1999, Oxford University Press, 978-0192880512, Revised with new afterword and further reading, He is particularly sceptical about the practical possibility or importance of group selection as a basis for understanding altruism.{{sfn|Dawkins|2006|p=169–72}}This behaviour appears at first to be an evolutionary paradox, since helping others costs precious resources and decreases one's own fitness. Previously, many had interpreted this as an aspect of group selection: individuals are doing what is best for the survival of the population or species as a whole. British evolutionary biologist W. D. Hamilton used gene-frequency analysis in his inclusive fitness theory to show how hereditary altruistic traits can evolve if there is sufficient genetic similarity between actors and recipients of such altruism (including close relatives).JOURNAL, Hamilton, W.D., W. D. Hamilton, The genetical evolution of social behaviour I and II, Journal of Theoretical Biology, 7, 1, 1–16, 17–52, 1964, 10.1016/0022-5193(64)90038-4, 5875341, {{Ref label|a|a|none}} Hamilton's inclusive fitness has since been successfully applied to a wide range of organisms, including humans. Similarly, Robert Trivers, thinking in terms of the gene-centred model, developed the theory of reciprocal altruism, whereby one organism provides a benefit to another in the expectation of future reciprocation.JOURNAL, Trivers, Robert, The evolution of reciprocal altruism, Quarterly Review of Biology, 46, 1, 35–57, 1971, 10.1086/406755, Dawkins popularised these ideas in The Selfish Gene, and developed them in his own work.JOURNAL, Dawkins, Richard, Twelve Misunderstandings of Kin Selection, Zeitschrift für Tierpsychologie, 51, 184–200, 1979,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 29 May 2008, 10.1111/j.1439-0310.1979.tb00682.x, 2019-08-20, In June 2012, Dawkins was highly critical of fellow biologist E. O. Wilson's 2012 book The Social Conquest of Earth as misunderstanding Hamilton's theory of kin selection.NEWS, Thorpe, Vanessa, Richard Dawkins in furious row with EO Wilson over theory of evolution. Book review sparks war of words between grand old man of biology and Oxford's most high-profile Darwinist,weblink 3 October 2012, The Guardian, 24 June 2012, London, NEWS, Dawkins, Richard, The Descent of Edward Wilson,weblink 24 October 2015, Prospect (magazine), Prospect, 24 May 2012, Dawkins has also been strongly critical of the Gaia hypothesis of the independent scientist James Lovelock.BOOK, The molecular biology of Gaia,weblink 1996, Columbia University Press, 978-0-231-10512-5, 178, George Ronald, Williams, Extract of page 178BOOK, Scientists debate gaia: the next century,weblink 2004, MIT Press, 978-0-262-19498-3, 72, Stephen Henry, Schneider, Extract of p. 72BOOK, Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder, Unweaving the Rainbow : Science,weblink 2000, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 978-0-618-05673-6, 223, Richard, Dawkins,, Extract of p. 223Critics of Dawkins's biological approach suggest that taking the gene as the unit of selection (a single event in which an individual either succeeds or fails to reproduce) is misleading. The gene could be better described, they say, as a unit of evolution (the long-term changes in allele frequencies in a population).BOOK, Dover, Gabriel, Dear Mr Darwin, 2000, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 978-0-7538-1127-6, In The Selfish Gene, Dawkins explains that he is using George C. Williams's definition of the gene as "that which segregates and recombines with appreciable frequency".BOOK, Williams, George C., Adaptation and Natural Selection,weblink 1966, Princeton University Press, United States, 978-0-691-02615-2, Another common objection is that a gene cannot survive alone, but must cooperate with other genes to build an individual, and therefore a gene cannot be an independent "unit".BOOK, Mayr, Ernst, Ernst Mayr, What Evolution Is, 2000, Basic Books, 978-0-465-04426-9, In The Extended Phenotype, Dawkins suggests that from an individual gene's viewpoint, all other genes are part of the environment to which it is adapted.Advocates for higher levels of selection (such as Richard Lewontin, David Sloan Wilson, and Elliott Sober) suggest that there are many phenomena (including altruism) that gene-based selection cannot satisfactorily explain. The philosopher Mary Midgley, with whom Dawkins clashed in print concerning The Selfish Gene,NEWS, Midgley, Mary, 1979, Gene-Juggling, Philosophy, 54, 210, 439–58,weblink 10.1017/S0031819100063488, 18 March 2008, NEWS, Dawkins, Richard, 1981, In Defence of Selfish Genes, Philosophy, 56, 556–73,weblink 10.1017/S0031819100050580, 17 March 2008, has criticised gene selection, memetics, and sociobiology as being excessively reductionist;BOOK, Midgley, Mary, Science and Poetry, 2000, Routledge, 978-0-415-27632-0, she has suggested that the popularity of Dawkins's work is due to factors in the Zeitgeist such as the increased individualism of the Thatcher/Reagan decades.BOOK, Mary, Midgley, The solitary self: Darwin and the selfish gene, 2010, McGill-Queen's University Press, 978-1-84465-253-2, In a set of controversies over the mechanisms and interpretation of evolution (what has been called 'The Darwin Wars'),BOOK, Brown, Andrew, Andrew Brown (writer), The Darwin Wars: How stupid genes became selfish genes, 1999, London: Simon and Schuster, 978-0-684-85144-0, BOOK, Brown, Andrew, Andrew Brown (writer), The Darwin Wars: The Scientific Battle for the Soul of Man, 2000, Touchstone, 978-0-684-85145-7, one faction is often named after Dawkins, while the other faction is named after the American palaeontologist Stephen Jay Gould, reflecting the pre-eminence of each as a populariser of the pertinent ideas.BOOK, Brockman, J., The Third Culture: Beyond the Scientific Revolution, 1995, Simon & Schuster, New York, 978-0-684-80359-3,weblink BOOK, Sterelny, K., Kim Sterelny, Dawkins vs. Gould: Survival of the Fittest, 2007, Icon Books, Cambridge, UK, 978-1-84046-780-2, Dawkins vs. Gould, Also {{ISBN|978-1-84046-780-2}} In particular, Dawkins and Gould have been prominent commentators in the controversy over sociobiology and evolutionary psychology, with Dawkins generally approving and Gould generally being critical.BOOK, Morris, Richard, The Evolutionists, 2001, W. H. Freeman, 978-0-7167-4094-0, A typical example of Dawkins's position is his scathing review of Not in Our Genes by Steven Rose, Leon J. Kamin, and Richard C. Lewontin.NEWS, Dawkins, Richard, 24 January 1985, Sociobiology: the debate continues, New Scientist,weblink 3 April 2008,weblink" title="">weblink 1 May 2008, yes, Two other thinkers who are often considered to be allied with Dawkins on the subject are Steven Pinker and Daniel Dennett; Dennett has promoted a gene-centred view of evolution and defended reductionism in biology.BOOK, Dennett, Daniel, Daniel Dennett, Darwin's Dangerous Idea, Complexity, 2, 1, 32–36, 1995, Simon & Schuster, United States, 978-0-684-80290-9, 1996Cmplx...2a..32M, 10.1002/(SICI)1099-0526(199609/10)2:13.0.CO;2-H, Despite their academic disagreements, Dawkins and Gould did not have a hostile personal relationship, and Dawkins dedicated a large portion of his 2003 book A Devil's Chaplain posthumously to Gould, who had died the previous year.When asked if Darwinism informs his everyday apprehension of life, Dawkins says, "In one way it does. My eyes are constantly wide open to the extraordinary fact of existence. Not just human existence but the existence of life and how this breathtakingly powerful process, which is natural selection, has managed to take the very simple facts of physics and chemistry and build them up to redwood trees and humans. That's never far from my thoughts, that sense of amazement. On the other hand I certainly don't allow Darwinism to influence my feelings about human social life," implying that he feels that individual human beings can opt out of the survival machine of Darwinism since they are freed by the consciousness of self.

Fathering the meme

In his book The Selfish Gene, Dawkins coined the word meme (the behavioural equivalent of a gene) as a way to encourage readers to think about how Darwinian principles might be extended beyond the realm of genes.{{sfn|Dawkins|1989|p=11}} It was intended as an extension of his "replicators" argument, but it took on a life of its own in the hands of other authors, such as Daniel Dennett and Susan Blackmore. These popularisations then led to the emergence of memetics, a field from which Dawkins has distanced himself.JOURNAL, Burman, J. T., 2012, The misunderstanding of memes: Biography of an unscientific object, 1976–1999, Perspectives on Science, 20, 1, 75–104, 10.1162/POSC_a_00057, {{open access}}Dawkins's meme refers to any cultural entity that an observer might consider a replicator of a certain idea or set of ideas. He hypothesised that people could view many cultural entities as capable of such replication, generally through communication and contact with humans, who have evolved as efficient (although not perfect) copiers of information and behaviour. Because memes are not always copied perfectly, they might become refined, combined, or otherwise modified with other ideas; this results in new memes, which may themselves prove more or less efficient replicators than their predecessors, thus providing a framework for a hypothesis of cultural evolution based on memes, a notion that is analogous to the theory of biological evolution based on genes.BOOK, Kelly, Kevin, Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World, 1994, Addison-Wesley, United States, 978-0-201-48340-6, 360, Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World, Although Dawkins invented the term meme, he has not claimed that the idea was entirely novel,WEB,weblink Memes, Center for the Study of Complex Systems, University of Michigan, 14 August 2009, Shalizi, Cosma Rohilla,
and there have been other expressions for similar ideas in the past. For instance, John Laurent has suggested that the term may have derived from the work of the little-known German biologist Richard Semon.BOOK, Laurent, John, 1999, A Note on the Origin of 'Memes'/'Mnemes', Journal of Memetics, 3, 1, 14–19,weblink 17 March 2008, Semon regarded "mneme" as the collective set of neural memory traces (conscious or subconscious) that were inherited, although such view would be considered as Lamarckian by modern biologists.WEB, van Driem, George, 2007, Symbiosism, Symbiomism and the Leiden definition of the meme,weblink 6 November 2018, Laurent also found the use of the term mneme in Maurice Maeterlinck's The Life of the White Ant (1926), and Maeterlinck himself stated that he obtained the phrase from Semon's work. In his own work, Maeterlinck tried to explain memory in termites and ants by claiming that neural memory traces were added "upon the individual mneme". Nonetheless, James Gleick describes Dawkins's concept of the meme as "his most famous memorable invention, far more influential than his selfish genes or his later proselytising against religiosity".BOOK, James, Gleick, The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood, 15 February 2011, Pantheon, 978-0-375-42372-7, 269,


In 2006, Dawkins founded the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (RDFRS), a non-profit organisation. RDFRS financed research on the psychology of belief and religion, financed scientific education programs and materials, and publicised and supported charitable organisations that are secular in nature.WEB,weblink Our Mission, Richard, Dawkins, 17 November 2006, Richard Dawkins Foundation,weblink" title="">weblink 17 November 2006, yes, In January 2016, it was announced that the foundation was merging with the Center for Inquiry, with Dawkins becoming a member of the new organization's board of directors.WEB,weblink Richard Dawkins' Atheist Organization Merges with Center for Inquiry, 26 January 2016, 26 January 2016,, Lesley, Alison,

Criticism of religion

File:Richard dawkins lecture.jpg|thumb|upright|Lecturing on his book The God DelusionThe God DelusionDawkins was confirmed into the Church of England at the age of 13, but began to grow sceptical of the beliefs. He said that his understanding of science and evolutionary processes led him to question how adults in positions of leadership in a civilized world could still be so uneducated in biology,WEB,weblink The Problem with God: Interview with Richard Dawkins (2), 11 April 2008, Sheahen, Laura, October 2005,, and is puzzled by how belief in God could remain among individuals who are sophisticated in science. Dawkins notes that some physicists use 'God' as a metaphor for the general awe-inspiring mysteries of the universe, which causes confusion and misunderstanding among people who incorrectly think they are talking about a mystical being who forgives sins, transubstantiates wine, or makes people live after they die.WEB,weblink Interview with Richard Dawkins, 12 April 2008, PBS, He disagrees with Stephen Jay Gould's principle of nonoverlapping magisteria (NOMA)NEWS,weblink God vs. Science (3), 3 April 2008, 5 November 2006, Van Biema, David, Time (magazine), Time, and suggests that the existence of God should be treated as a scientific hypothesis like any other.{{sfn|Dawkins|2006|p=50}} Dawkins became a prominent critic of religion and has stated his opposition to religion as twofold: religion is both a source of conflict and a justification for belief without evidence.{{sfn|Dawkins|2006|pp=282–86}} He considers faith—belief that is not based on evidence—as "one of the world's great evils".WEB,weblink Is Science A Religion?, The Humanist, Richard, Dawkins, 1 January 1997, 31 December 2012, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 30 October 2012, On his spectrum of theistic probability, which has seven levels between 1 (100% certainty that a God or gods exist) and 7 (100% certainty that a God or gods do not exist), Dawkins has said he is a 6.9, which represents a "de facto atheist" who thinks "I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there." When asked about his slight uncertainty, Dawkins quips, "I am agnostic to the extent that I am agnostic about fairies at the bottom of the garden."NEWS,weblink Richard Dawkins: I can't be sure God does not exist, 24 February 2012, 5 March 2016, John, Bingham, London, The Telegraph, NEWS,weblink Why Does Richard Dawkins Take Issue With Agnosticism?, 2 February 2012, 5 April 2016, Psychology Today, Christopher, Lane, In May 2014, at the Hay Festival in Wales, Dawkins explained that while he does not believe in the supernatural elements of the Christian faith, he still has nostalgia for the ceremonial side of religion.NEWS, Sarah, Knapton,weblink Richard Dawkins: 'I am a secular Christian', Telegraph, 9 June 2014, In addition to beliefs in deities, Dawkins has criticized other irrational religious beliefs such as Jesus turned water into wine, that an embryo starts as a blob, that magic underwear will protect you, that Jesus was resurrected, that semen comes from the spine, that Jesus walked on water, that the sun sets in a marsh, that the Garden of Eden existed in Missouri, that Jesus' mother was a virgin, that Muhammad split the moon, and that Lazarus was raised from the dead.{{refn|WEB,weblink Richard Dawkins hits back at allegations he is Islamophobic after Berkeley event is cancelled, WEB,weblink Dawkins Twitter This is almost as impressive as the prescient knowledge that embryo starts as a blob, semen comes from the spine & the sun sets in a marsh., WEB,weblink "Did Jesus exist?" Who cares? "Did Jesus lack a father? Raise Lazarus? Walk on water? Resurrect?" I care, and the answer is no in all cases., WEB,weblink There are people who believe Jesus turned water into wine. How do they hold down a job in the 21st century?, WEB,weblink Ridicule is the proper response to beliefs such as Jesus' mother was a virgin, Joshua slowed Earth's rotation or Muhammad split the moon., WEB,weblink Over and above believing surreal nonsense about planets and magic stones, hats and underwear, Romney is also a liar, WEB,weblink Could you really vote for a man who thinks the Garden of Eden was in Missouri?, }}Dawkins has risen to prominence in public debates concerning science and religion since the publication of his most popular book, The God Delusion, in 2006, which became an international best seller.NEWS,weblink A Knack for Bashing Orthodoxy, The New York Times, Michael, Powell, 31 December 2012, 19 September 2011, As of 2015, more than three million copies have been sold and the book has been translated into over 30 languages.{{sfn|Dawkins|2015|p=173}} Its success has been seen by many as indicative of a change in the contemporary cultural zeitgeist and has also been identified with the rise of New Atheism.NEWS,weblink The rise of the New Atheists, CNN, Simon, Hooper, 9 November 2006, 16 March 2010, In the book, Dawkins contends that a supernatural creator almost certainly does not exist and that religious faith is a delusion—"a fixed false belief".{{sfn|Dawkins|2006|p=5}} In his February 2002 TED talk entitled "Militant atheism", Dawkins urged all atheists to openly state their position and to fight the incursion of the church into politics and science. On 30 September 2007, Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett met at Hitchens's residence for a private, unmoderated discussion that lasted two hours. The event was videotaped and entitled "The Four Horsemen".WEB,weblink The Four Horsemen DVD, Richard, Dawkins, 1 October 2013, Richard Dawkins Foundation, en-US, 13 April 2016, See also {{YouTube | n7IHU28aR2E }}Dawkins sees education and consciousness-raising as the primary tools in opposing what he considers to be religious dogma and indoctrination.NEWS, Smith, Alexandra,weblink Dawkins campaigns to keep God out of classroom, 15 January 2007, 27 November 2006, The Guardian, London, NEWS,weblink The future looks bright, 13 March 2008, Dawkins, Richard, 21 June 2003, The Guardian, London, These tools include the fight against certain stereotypes, and he has adopted the term bright as a way of associating positive public connotations with those who possess a naturalistic worldview. He has given support to the idea of a free-thinking school,NEWS, Powell, Michael, A Knack for Bashing Orthodoxy,weblink 19 September 2011, The New York Times, 4, 20 September 2011, which would not "indoctrinate children" but would instead teach children to ask for evidence, be skeptical, critical, and open-minded. Such a school, says Dawkins, should "teach comparative religion, and teach it properly without any bias towards particular religions, and including historically important but dead religions, such as those of ancient Greece and the Norse gods, if only because these, like the Abrahamic scriptures, are important for understanding English literature and European history.NEWS, Beckford, Martin,weblink Richard Dawkins interested in setting up 'atheist free school', Telegraph, 24 June 2010, 29 July 2010, London, NEWS,weblink Gove welcomes atheist schools – Education News, Education, The Independent, 29 July 2010, 29 July 2010, London, Richard, Garner, Inspired by the consciousness-raising successes of feminists in arousing widespread embarrassment at the routine use of "he" instead of "she", Dawkins similarly suggests that phrases such as "Catholic child" and "Muslim child" should be considered as socially absurd as, for instance, "Marxist child", as he believes that children should not be classified based on the ideological or religious beliefs of their parents.While some critics, such as writer Christopher Hitchens, psychologist Steven Pinker and Nobel laureates Sir Harold Kroto, James D. Watson, and Steven Weinberg have defended Dawkins's stance on religion and praised his work,WEB,weblink The God Delusion â€“ Reviews, 8 April 2008, Richard Dawkins Foundation,weblink" title="">weblink 2 July 2008, yes, others, including Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist Peter Higgs, astrophysicist Martin Rees, philosopher of science Michael Ruse, literary critic Terry Eagleton, philosopher Roger Scruton, psychologist Camille Paglia, atheist philosopher Daniel Came and theologian Alister McGrath,{{refn|BOOK, McGrath, Alister, Alister McGrath, Dawkins' God: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life, 2004, Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, England, 978-1-4051-2538-3, 81, NEWS,weblink London, The Guardian, Michael, Ruse, Michael Ruse, Dawkins et al bring us into disrepute, 2 November 2009, 23 April 2016, NEWS,weblink London, The Guardian, Michael, Ruse, Michael Ruse, Why Richard Dawkins' humanists remind me of a religion, 2 October 2012, WEB,weblink Camille Paglia takes on Jon Stewart, Trump, Sanders: "Liberals think of themselves as very open-minded, but that's simply not true!", 29 July 2015, Salon, WEB,weblink Dawkins is wrong about God, 14 January 2006, The Spectator, WEB,weblink Richard Dawkins's refusal to debate is cynical and anti-intellectualist, Daniel, Came, 22 October 2011,, }} have criticised Dawkins on various grounds, including the assertion that his work simply serves as an atheist counterpart to religious fundamentalism rather than a productive critique of it, and that he has fundamentally misapprehended the foundations of the theological positions he claims to refute. Rees and Higgs, in particular, have both rejected Dawkins's confrontational stance toward religion as narrow and "embarrassing", with Higgs going as far as to equate Dawkins with the religious fundamentalists he criticises.MAGAZINE,weblink Lunging, Flailing, Mispunching, Terry, Eagleton·, 19 October 2006, London Review of Books, 16 May 2014, 28, 20, 32–34, WEB,weblink Do you have to read up on leprechology before disbelieving in them?, 14 November 2007, Dawkins, Richard, 17 September 2007, Richard Dawkins Foundation,weblink" title="">weblink 14 December 2007, NEWS,weblink Scientists divided over alliance with religion, 17 March 2008, Jha, Alok, 29 May 2007, The Guardian, London, NEWS, Jha, Alok,weblink Peter Higgs criticises Richard Dawkins over anti-religious 'fundamentalism', 26 December 2012, 20 January 2016, The Guardian, Atheist philosopher John Gray has denounced Dawkins as an "anti-religious missionary", whose assertions are "in no sense novel or original," suggesting that "transfixed in wonderment at the workings of his own mind, Dawkins misses much that is of importance in human beings." Gray has also criticised Dawkins's perceived allegiance to Darwin, stating that if "science, for Darwin, was a method of inquiry that enabled him to edge tentatively and humbly toward the truth, for Dawkins, science is an unquestioned view of the world."NEWS,weblink The Closed Mind of Richard Dawkins, 2 October 2014, 20 January 2016, John, Gray, New Republic, In response to his critics, Dawkins maintains that theologians are no better than scientists in addressing deep cosmological questions and that he is not a fundamentalist, as he is willing to change his mind in the face of new evidence.{{sfn|Dawkins|2006}}WEB,weblink When Religion Steps on Science's Turf, 3 April 2008, Dawkins, Richard, 2006, Free Inquiry, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 19 April 2008, WEB, Dawkins, Richard, How dare you call me a fundamentalist,weblink Richard Dawkins Foundation, 28 December 2012, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 31 December 2012, Roger Scruton has said that Dawkins cherry-picks his data, and ignores the benefits of religion, saying "Richard Dawkins believes that faith is an infectious disease which spreads intolerance and conflict. In fact it is our principal source of love and peace."

Criticism of creationism

Dawkins is a prominent critic of creationism, a religious belief that humanity, life, and the universe were created by a deityWEB,weblink Creationism, Ruse, Michael, Michael Ruse, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Metaphysics Research Laboratory, Stanford University, a Creationist is someone who believes in a god who is absolute creator of heaven and earth., 9 September 2009, without recourse to evolution.BOOK, Scott, Eugenie C, Eugenie Scott, Evolution vs. creationism: an introduction, 3 August 2009, University of California Press, Berkeley, 978-0-520-26187-7, 51, Creationism, The term 'creationism' to many people connotes the theological doctrine of special creationism: that God created the universe essentially as we see it today, and that this universe has not changed appreciably since that creation event. Special creationism includes the idea that God created living things in their present forms..., He has described the Young Earth creationist view that the Earth is only a few thousand years old as "a preposterous, mind-shrinking falsehood".NEWS,weblink A scientist's view, Dawkins, Richard, 9 March 2002, The Guardian, 7 November 2009, London, His 1986 book, The Blind Watchmaker, contains a sustained critique of the argument from design, an important creationist argument. In the book, Dawkins argues against the watchmaker analogy made famous by the eighteenth-century English theologian William Paley via his book Natural Theology, in which Paley argues that just as a watch is too complicated and too functional to have sprung into existence merely by accident, so too must all living things—with their far greater complexity—be purposefully designed. Dawkins shares the view generally held by scientists that natural selection is sufficient to explain the apparent functionality and non-random complexity of the biological world, and can be said to play the role of watchmaker in nature, albeit as an automatic, unguided by any designer, nonintelligent, blind watchmaker.WEB,weblink Book: The Blind Watchmaker, 28 February 2008, Catalano, John, The University of Oxford,weblink" title="">weblink 1 August 1996, 15 April 2008, yes, File:Dawkins aaconf.jpg|thumb|Wearing a scarlet 'A' lapel pin, at the 34th annual conference of American AtheistsAmerican AtheistsIn 1986, Dawkins and biologist John Maynard Smith participated in an Oxford Union debate against A. E. Wilder-Smith (a Young Earth creationist) and Edgar Andrews (president of the Biblical Creation Society).{{Ref label|b|b|none}} In general, however, Dawkins has followed the advice of his late colleague Stephen Jay Gould and refused to participate in formal debates with creationists because "what they seek is the oxygen of respectability", and doing so would "give them this oxygen by the mere act of engaging with them at all". He suggests that creationists "don't mind being beaten in an argument. What matters is that we give them recognition by bothering to argue with them in public."{{sfn|Dawkins|2003|p=218}} In a December 2004 interview with American journalist Bill Moyers, Dawkins said that "among the things that science does know, evolution is about as certain as anything we know." When Moyers questioned him on the use of the word theory, Dawkins stated that "evolution has been observed. It's just that it hasn't been observed while it's happening." He added that "it is rather like a detective coming on a murder after the scene... the detective hasn't actually seen the murder take place, of course. But what you do see is a massive clue... Huge quantities of circumstantial evidence. It might as well be spelled out in words of English."WEB,weblink Now with Bill Moyers, 29 January 2006, Moyers, Bill, 3 December 2004, Public Broadcasting Service, Dawkins has opposed the inclusion of intelligent design in science education, describing it as "not a scientific argument at all, but a religious one".NEWS,weblink One side can be wrong, 21 December 2006, 1 September 2005, Dawkins, Richard, Coyne, Jerry, yes, The Guardian, London, He has been referred to in the media as "Darwin's Rottweiler",WEB,weblink Darwin's Rottweiler, 22 March 2008, Hall, Stephen S., 9 August 2005, Discover (magazine), Discover magazine, BOOK, McGrath, Alister, Dawkins' God : genes, memes, and the meaning of life, 2007, Blackwell, Malden, MA, 978-1405125383, i, Reprinted, a reference to English biologist T. H. Huxley, who was known as "Darwin's Bulldog" for his advocacy of Charles Darwin's evolutionary ideas. He has been a strong critic of the British organisation Truth in Science, which promotes the teaching of creationism in state schools, and whose work Dawkins has described as an "educational scandal". He plans to subsidise schools through the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science with the delivery of books, DVDs, and pamphlets that counteract their work.NEWS,weblink Godless Dawkins challenges schools, 3 April 2008, 19 November 2006, Swinford, Steven, The Times, London,

Political views

{{see also|Political views of Richard Dawkins}}File:Ariane Sherine and Richard Dawkins at the Atheist Bus Campaign launch.jpg|thumb|right|With Ariane Sherine at the Atheist Bus CampaignAtheist Bus CampaignFile:Richard Dawkin Kepler Talk.jpg|thumb|upright|Speaking at Kepler's Books, Menlo Park, CaliforniaCalifornia(File:Richard Dawkins on free speech and Islam(ism).webm|thumb|Dawkins discusses free speech and Islam(ism) at the 2017 Conference on Free Expression and Conscience)Dawkins is an outspoken atheistBOOK, Bass, Thomas A., Reinventing the future: Conversations with the World's Leading Scientists,weblink 1994, Addison Wesley, 978-0-201-62642-1, 118, Extract of page 118 and a supporter of various atheist, secular, and humanistic organisations,WEB, National Secular Society,weblink Our Honorary Associates, 2005, 21 April 2007, WEB, The Humanist Society of Scotland,weblink The HSS Today, 2007, 3 April 2008,weblink" title="">weblink 18 April 2008, WEB,weblink Secular Coalition for America Advisory Board Biography,, 29 July 2010, WEB,weblink The International Academy Of Humanism â€“ Humanist Laureates, 7 April 2008, Council for Secular Humanism, WEB,weblink The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry â€“ Fellows, 7 April 2008, The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry,weblink" title="">weblink 15 June 2008, yes, WEB,weblink Humanism and Its Aspirations  – Notable Signers, 9 February 2010, American Humanist Association, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 19 June 2010, including Humanists UK and the Brights movement.WEB,weblink Richard Dawkins on militant atheism, February 2002, 14 December 2011, TED Conferences, LLC, Dawkins suggests that atheists should be proud, not apologetic, stressing that atheism is evidence of a healthy, independent mind.{{sfn|Dawkins|2006|p=3}} He hopes that the more atheists identify themselves, the more the public will become aware of just how many people are nonbelievers, thereby reducing the negative opinion of atheism among the religious majority.NEWS, Chittenden, Maurice, Waite, Roger,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink yes, 17 May 2008, Dawkins to preach atheism to US, 1 April 2008, 23 December 2007, The Sunday Times, London, Inspired by the gay rights movement, he endorsed the Out Campaign to encourage atheists worldwide to declare their stance publicly.WEB,weblink The Out Campaign, 1 April 2008, 30 July 2007, Richard, Dawkins, Richard Dawkins Foundation,weblink" title="">weblink 30 April 2008, yes, He supported a UK atheist advertising initiative, the Atheist Bus Campaign in 2008, which aimed to raise funds to place atheist advertisements on buses in the London area.WEB,weblink The Bus Campaign, British Humanist Association,weblink" title="">weblink 20 February 2012, yes, 2009-01-19, Dawkins has expressed concern about the growth of human population and about the matter of overpopulation.WEB, BBC: The Selfish Green,weblink Richard Dawkins Foundation, 2 April 2007, 22 April 2008,weblink" title="">weblink 1 May 2008, yes, For video in one segment, see {{YouTube | g5WUIDzxUeo }} In The Selfish Gene, he briefly mentions population growth, giving the example of Latin America, whose population, at the time the book was written, was doubling every 40 years. He is critical of Roman Catholic attitudes to family planning and population control, stating that leaders who forbid contraception and "express a preference for 'natural' methods of population limitation" will get just such a method in the form of starvation.{{sfn|Dawkins|1989|p=213}}As a supporter of the Great Ape Project—a movement to extend certain moral and legal rights to all great apes—Dawkins contributed the article 'Gaps in the Mind' to the Great Ape Project book edited by Paola Cavalieri and Peter Singer. In this essay, he criticises contemporary society's moral attitudes as being based on a "discontinuous, speciesist imperative".BOOK, Paola, Cavalieri, Peter, Singer, The Great Ape Project, 1993, Fourth Estate, United Kingdom, 978-0-312-11818-1,weblink Dawkins also regularly comments in newspapers and blogs on contemporary political questions and is a frequent contributor to the online science and culture digest 3 Quarks Daily.WEB,weblink 3 Quarks Daily 2010 Prize in Science: Richard Dawkins has picked the three winners, 1 June 2010, 20 January 2016, His opinions include opposition to the 2003 invasion of Iraq,NEWS, Richard, Dawkins, Bin Laden's victory,weblink The Guardian, London, 22 March 2003, 15 March 2008, the British nuclear deterrent, the actions of then-US President George W. Bush,NEWS, Richard, Dawkins, While we have your attention, Mr President...,weblink The Guardian, London, 18 November 2003, 16 March 2008, and the ethics of designer babies.WEB,weblink From the Afterword, Richard, Dawkins, Herald Scotland, 19 November 2006, 9 June 2014, Several such articles were included in A Devil's Chaplain, an anthology of writings about science, religion, and politics. He is also a supporter of Republic's campaign to replace the British monarchy with a democratically elected president.WEB,weblink Our supporters, Republic, 24 April 2010, 29 April 2010,weblink" title="">weblink 26 March 2012, yes, Dawkins has described himself as a Labour voter in the 1970sBOOK, Dawkins, Richard, The Selfish Gene (1st extra chapter), 2nd, 1989, Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 978-0-19-286092-7, Endnotes. Chapter 1. Why are people?,weblinkweblink and voter for the Liberal Democrats since the party's creation. In 2009, he spoke at the party's conference in opposition to blasphemy laws, alternative medicine, and faith schools. In the UK general election of 2010, Dawkins officially endorsed the Liberal Democrats, in support of their campaign for electoral reform and for their "refusal to pander to 'faith{{' "}}.WEB,weblink Show your support – vote for the Liberal Democrats on May 6th, 3 May 2010,, 29 July 2010, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 14 April 2010, In the run up to the 2017 general election, Dawkins once again endorsed the Liberal Democrats and urged voters to join the party.In 1998, Dawkins expressed his appreciation for two books connected with the Sokal affair, (Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and Its Quarrels with Science) by Paul R. Gross and Norman Levitt and Intellectual Impostures by Sokal and Jean Bricmont. These books are famous for their criticism of postmodernism in US universities (namely in the departments of literary studies, anthropology, and other cultural studies).JOURNAL, Dawkins, Richard, Postmodernism Disrobed, 9 July 1998, Nature (journal), Nature, 394, 6689, 141–43, 10.1038/28089, 1998Natur.394..141D, For article with math symbols see this link.Dawkins has voiced his support for the Campaign for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, an organisation that campaigns for democratic reform in the United Nations, and the creation of a more accountable international political system.NEWS,weblink Overview, Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly, 9 October 2017, en-US, Dawkins identifies as a feminist.WEB,weblink Richard Dawkins, 16 December 2012, 3 May 2015, Twitter, Dawkins, Richard, Dawkins has said that feminism is "enormously important" and "a political movement that deserves to be supported".WEB,weblink Richard Dawkins: "Is There a Men's Rights Movement?", Salon (website), Salon, Kutner, Jenny, 8 December 2014, 1 February 2015,

Other fields

In his role as professor for public understanding of science, Dawkins has been a critic of pseudoscience and alternative medicine. His 1998 book Unweaving the Rainbow considers John Keats's accusation that by explaining the rainbow, Isaac Newton diminished its beauty; Dawkins argues for the opposite conclusion. He suggests that deep space, the billions of years of life's evolution, and the microscopic workings of biology and heredity contain more beauty and wonder than do "myths" and "pseudoscience".BOOK, Dawkins, Richard, Unweaving The Rainbow, 1998, Penguin, United Kingdom, 978-0-618-05673-6, 4–7, For John Diamond's posthumously published Snake Oil, a book devoted to debunking alternative medicine, Dawkins wrote a foreword in which he asserts that alternative medicine is harmful, if only because it distracts patients from more successful conventional treatments and gives people false hopes.BOOK, Diamond, John, Snake Oil and Other Preoccupations, 2001, Vintage, United Kingdom, 978-0-09-942833-6, Dawkins states that "There is no alternative medicine. There is only medicine that works and medicine that doesn't work."{{sfn|Dawkins|2003|p=58}} In his 2007 Channel 4 TV film The Enemies of Reason, Dawkins concluded that Britain is gripped by "an epidemic of superstitious thinking".WEB,weblink New age therapies cause 'retreat from reason', 5 August 2007, David, Harrison, The Telegraph, London, 25 March 2016, Continuing a long-standing partnership with Channel 4, Dawkins participated in a five-part television series, Genius of Britain, along with fellow scientists Stephen Hawking, James Dyson, Paul Nurse, and Jim Al-Khalili. The series was first broadcast in June 2010, and focuses on major, British, scientific achievements throughout history.WEB,weblink C4 lines up Genius science series, 27 January 2009, Robin, Parker, 31 January 2009, Broadcast (magazine), Broadcast, {{Subscription}}In 2014 he joined the global awareness movement Asteroid Day as a "100x Signatory".NEWS,weblink Asteroids could wipe out humanity, warn Richard Dawkins and Brian Cox, The Telegraph, Sarah, Knapton, 4 December 2014, 4 December 2014, (File:Jayce Lewis & Prof Richard Dawkins 2018.jpg|right|thumb|Jayce Lewis alongside Richard Dawkins at the Home of Dawkins working together on Jayce's album Million (Part 2))Dawkins worked alongside Welsh Musician Jayce Lewis contributing a recorded spoken word for the track 'Exhale' from his 1998 book Unweaving the Rainbow to the Welshman's 3rd full-length album 'Million'.

Awards and recognition

File:Deschner Dawkins.jpg|thumb|right|upright|Receiving the Deschner Prize in Frankfurt, 12 October 2007, from Karlheinz DeschnerKarlheinz DeschnerDawkins was awarded a Doctor of Science degree by the University of Oxford in 1989. He holds honorary doctorates in science from the University of Huddersfield, University of Westminster, Durham University,NEWS, Durham salutes science, Shakespeare and social inclusion,weblink Durham University News, 26 August 2005, 11 April 2006, the University of Hull, the University of Antwerp, the University of Oslo, the University of Aberdeen,WEB,weblink Best-selling biologist and outspoken atheist among those honoured by University, 1 September 2011, 1 January 2012, University of Aberdeen, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 1 September 2011, Open University, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and the University of Valencia.NEWS, Richard Dawkins, doctor 'honoris causa' per la Universitat de València,weblink 31 March 2009, 2 April 2009, University of Valencia,weblink" title="">weblink 11 October 2011, yes, Note: web page is in Spanish. He also holds honorary doctorates of letters from the University of St Andrews and the Australian National University (HonLittD, 1996), and was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1997 and a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2001. He is one of the patrons of the Oxford University Scientific Society.In 1987, Dawkins received a Royal Society of Literature award and a Los Angeles Times Literary Prize for his book The Blind Watchmaker. In the same year, he received a Sci. Tech Prize for Best Television Documentary Science Programme of the Year for his work on the BBC's Horizon episode The Blind Watchmaker.Other awards include the Zoological Society of London's Silver Medal (1989), the Finlay Innovation Award (1990), the Michael Faraday Award (1990), the Nakayama Prize (1994), the American Humanist Association's Humanist of the Year Award (1996), the fifth International Cosmos Prize (1997), the Kistler Prize (2001), the Medal of the Presidency of the Italian Republic (2001), the 2001 and 2012 Emperor Has No Clothes Award from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the Bicentennial Kelvin Medal of The Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow (2002), and the Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest (2009).WEB,weblink Scripps Institution of Oceanography Honors Evolutionary Biologist, Richard Dawkins, in Public Ceremony and Lecture, 7 April 2009, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 7 April 2009, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, He was awarded the Deschner Award, named after German anti-clerical author Karlheinz Deschner.WEB,weblink Deschner-Preis an Richard Dawkins, 4 April 2008, Giordano Bruno, Stiftung, 28 May 2007, Humanistischer Pressedienst, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 19 July 2011, Note: Web page in German. The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSICOP) has awarded Dawkins their highest award In Praise of Reason (1992).JOURNAL, CSICOP's 1992 Awards, Skeptical Inquirer, 1993, 17, 3, 236, (File:Richard Dawkins speaking at the British Humanist Association Annual Conference.jpg|thumb|left|Dawkins accepting the Services to Humanism award at the British Humanist Association Annual Conference in 2012)Dawkins topped Prospect magazine's 2004 list of the top 100 public British intellectuals, as decided by the readers, receiving twice as many votes as the runner-up.NEWS, Q&A: Richard Dawkins,weblink BBC News, 29 July 2004, 9 March 2008, WEB,weblink Public Intellectuals Poll, 9 March 2008, Herman, David, 2004, Prospect, He was shortlisted as a candidate in their 2008 follow-up poll.WEB,weblink The Top 100 Public Intellectuals, 22 April 2008, Prospect, In a poll held by Prospect in 2013, Dawkins was voted the world's top thinker based on 65 names chosen by a largely US and UK-based expert panel.WEB, John, Dugdale,weblink Richard Dawkins named world's top thinker in poll, 25 April 2013, 26 April 2013, The Guardian, In 2005, the Hamburg-based Alfred Toepfer Foundation awarded him its Shakespeare Prize in recognition of his "concise and accessible presentation of scientific knowledge". He won the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science for 2006, as well as the Galaxy British Book Awards's Author of the Year Award for 2007.WEB, Publishing News,weblink Galaxy British Book Awards â€” Winners & Shortlists 2007, 2007, 21 April 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 27 September 2007, yes, dmy-all, In the same year, he was listed by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2007,NEWS,weblink Time Top 100, 2 March 2008, Behe, Michael, Michael Behe, Time (magazine), TIME, 3 May 2007, and was ranked 20th in The Daily Telegraph{{'s}} 2007 list of 100 greatest living geniuses.NEWS, Top 100 living geniuses, The Daily Telegraph, 28 October 2007,weblink 4 October 2010, London, Since 2003, the Atheist Alliance International has awarded a prize during its annual conference, honouring an outstanding atheist whose work has done the most to raise public awareness of atheism during that year; it is known as the Richard Dawkins Award, in honour of Dawkins's own efforts.WEB,weblink The atheist, Salon, 30 April 2005, Gordy, Slack, 3 August 2007, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 4 July 2007, In February 2010, Dawkins was named to the Freedom From Religion Foundation's Honorary Board of distinguished achievers.WEB,weblink Honorary FFRF Board Announced, 20 August 2008, Freedom From Religion Foundation,weblink" title="">weblink 17 December 2010, In 2012, ichthyologists in Sri Lanka honored Dawkins by creating Dawkinsia as a new genus name (members of this genus were formerly members of the genus Puntius). Explaining the reasoning behind the genus name, lead researcher Rohan Pethiyagoda was quoted as stating, "Richard Dawkins has, through his writings, helped us understand that the universe is far more beautiful and awe-inspiring than any religion has imagined [...]. We hope that Dawkinsia will serve as a reminder of the elegance and simplicity of evolution, the only rational explanation there is for the unimaginable diversity of life on Earth.NEWS,weblink Sri Lankans name new fish genus after atheist Dawkins, 16 July 2012, Google News, Agence France-Presse, 15 July 2012, yes,weblink 21 May 2013,

Personal life

Dawkins has been married three times, and has one daughter. On 19 August 1967, Dawkins married fellow ethologist Marian Stamp in the Protestant church in Annestown, County Waterford, Ireland;Richard Dawkins, An Appetite for Wonder – The Making of a Scientist, p. 201. they divorced in 1984. On 1 June 1984, he married Eve Barham (1951–1999) in Oxford. They had a daughter, Juliet Emma Dawkins (born 1984, Oxford). Dawkins and Barham divorced. In 1992, he married actress Lalla WardNEWS, Robin, McKie, Doctor Zoo,weblink The Guardian, London, 25 July 2004, 17 March 2008, in Kensington and Chelsea, London. Dawkins met her through their mutual friend Douglas Adams,BOOK, Hitchhiker: A Biography of Douglas Adams,weblink 2005, Justin, Charles & Co., 978-1-932112-35-1, 129, M.J., Simpson, Chapter 15, p. 129 who had worked with her on the BBC's Doctor Who. Dawkins and Ward separated in 2016 and they later described the separation as "entirely amicable".NEWS, Richard Dawkins and Viscount of Bangor's sister Lalla Ward separate after 24 years,weblink 17 July 2016, Belfast Telegraph, 17 July 2016, On 6 February 2016, Dawkins suffered a minor hemorrhagic stroke while at home.NEWS, Adam, Dudding, Richard Dawkins suffers stroke, cancels New Zealand appearance, 12 February 2016,weblink Fairfax New Zealand, 12 February 2016, NEWS,weblink Richard Dawkins stroke forces delay of Australia and New Zealand tour, Calla, Wahlquist, The Guardian, 11 February 2016, 11 February 2016, London, Dawkins reported later that same year that he had almost completely recovered.NEWS,weblink Professor Dawkins on recovering from a mild stroke, Radio 4 Today, 24 May 2016, 10 October 2016, WEB,weblink An April 4th Update from Richard, 4 April 2016, 5 April 2016, Richard, Dawkins, Richard Dawkins Foundation, Audio file


Selected publications

  • BOOK, The Selfish Gene, 1976, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 978-0-19-286092-7, The Selfish Gene,
  • BOOK, The Extended Phenotype, 1982, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 978-0-19-288051-2, The Extended Phenotype,
  • BOOK, The Blind Watchmaker, 1986, W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 978-0-393-31570-7, The Blind Watchmaker,
  • BOOK, River Out of Eden, 1995, Basic Books, New York, 978-0-465-06990-3, River Out of Eden, Book text
  • BOOK, Climbing Mount Improbable, 1996, W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 978-0-393-31682-7, Climbing Mount Improbable,
  • BOOK, Unweaving the Rainbow, 1998, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 978-0-618-05673-6, Unweaving the Rainbow,
  • BOOK, A Devil's Chaplain, 2003, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (United Kingdom and Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth), Houghton Mifflin (United States), 978-0753817506, A Devil's Chaplain,
  • BOOK, The Ancestor's Tale, 2004, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 978-0-618-00583-3, The Ancestor's Tale,
  • BOOK, The God Delusion, 2006, Bantam Press (United Kingdom), Houghton Mifflin (United States), 978-0-618-68000-9, The God Delusion,
  • BOOK, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution, 2009, Transworld (company), Transworld (United Kingdom and Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth), Free Press (publisher), Free Press (United States), 978-0-593-06173-2, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution,
  • BOOK, The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True, 2011, Bantam Press (United Kingdom), Free Press (United States), 978-1-4391-9281-8, 709673132, The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True,
  • BOOK, An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist, 2013, Bantam Press (United Kingdom and United States), 978-0-06-228715-1, An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist,
  • BOOK, Brief Candle in the Dark: My Life in Science, 2015, Bantam Press (United Kingdom and United States), 978-0062288431, Brief Candle in the Dark: My Life in Science,
  • BOOK, Science in the Soul: Selected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist, Random House, 2017, 978-1-4735-4166-5, Science in the Soul: Selected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist,

Documentary films

Other appearances

Dawkins has made many television appearances on news shows providing his political opinions and especially his views as an atheist. He has been interviewed on the radio, often as part of his book tours. He has debated many religious figures. He has made many university speaking appearances, again often in coordination with his book tours. As of 2016, he has over 60 credits in the Internet Movie Database where he appeared as himself.
  • (Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed) (2008) – as himself, presented as a leading scientific opponent of intelligent design in a film that contends that the mainstream science establishment suppresses academics who believe they see evidence of intelligent design in nature and who criticise evidence supporting Darwinian evolution
  • Doctor Who: "The Stolen Earth" (2008) – as himself
  • The Simpsons: "Black Eyed, Please" (2013) – appears in Ned Flanders' dream of Hell; provided voice as a demon version of himselfWEB,weblink Richard Dawkins Appears in Ned Flanders' Nightmare on The Simpsons, 10 March 2013, 20 January 2016, Hemant, Mehta, Patheos,
  • Endless Forms Most Beautiful (2015) – by Nightwish: Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish had Dawkins as a guest star on the album.NEWS,weblink Nightwish's Next Album To Feature Guest Appearance By British Professor Richard Dawkins,, 16 October 2014, 19 January 2015, WEB,weblink Nightwish's Tuomas Holopainen Gives 'Endless Forms Most Beautiful' Track-By-Track Breakdown (Video), 17 March 2015, 20 January 2016, NEWS, Shutt, Dan, Nightwish, Wembley Arena, gig review: Closing with The Greatest Show on Earth too much for sell-out audience to handle,weblink The Independent, Independent Print Limited, 3 January 2016, 21 December 2015, He provides narration on two tracks: "Shudder Before the Beautiful", in which he opens the album with one of his own quotes, and "The Greatest Show on Earth", inspired by and named after his book (The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution), and in which he quotes On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin.WEB, Nightwish: track by track di "Endless Forms Most Beautiful"!,weblink SpazioRock, 10 April 2015, 17 March 2015, Italian, WEB, Schleutermann, Marcus, Nightwish - Food for Thought,weblink EMP Rockinvasion, 10 March 2015, Köln, English, German, 27 February 2015, He subsequently performed his parts live with Nightwish on 19 December 2015 at the Wembley Arena in London; the concert was later released as a part of a live album/DVD titled Vehicle of Spirit.


a. {{Note label|a|a|none}} W. D. Hamilton influenced Dawkins and the influence can be seen throughout Dawkins's book The Selfish Gene. They became friends at Oxford and following Hamilton's death in 2000, Dawkins wrote his obituary and organised a secular memorial service.NEWS, Richard, Dawkins, Obituary by Richard Dawkins,weblink The Independent, 3 October 2000, 22 March 2008,weblink" title="">weblink 18 March 2008, yes, b. {{Note label|b|b|none}} The debate ended with the motion "That the doctrine of creation is more valid than the theory of evolution" being defeated by 198 votes to 115.Critical-Historical Perspective on the Argument about Evolution and Creation, John Durant, in "From Evolution to Creation: A European Perspective (Eds. Sven Anderson, Arthus Peacocke), Aarhus Univ. Press, Aarhus, DenmarkWEB, Richard, Dawkins, 12 March 2007, 1986 Oxford Union Debate: Richard Dawkins, John Maynard Smith, Richard Dawkins Foundation,weblink 10 May 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 29 July 2012, yes, Debate no longer available at that website. For the debate audio in video format in two segments, see part 1 at {{YouTube |D4I7znTq0gs}} and part 2 at {{YouTube |uKtT2hDPCIU}}



Cited texts

  • BOOK, Dawkins, Richard, The Selfish Gene, 2nd, 1989, Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 978-0-19-286092-7, {{sfnRef, Dawkins, 1989, |title-link=The Selfish Gene }}
  • BOOK, Dawkins, Richard, The God Delusion, 2006, Transworld Publishers, 978-0-593-05548-9, {{sfnRef, Dawkins, 2006, | title-link = The God Delusion}}
  • BOOK, Dawkins, Richard, A Devil's Chaplain, 2003, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (United Kingdom and Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth), Houghton Mifflin (United States), 978-0753817506, {{sfnRef, Dawkins, 2003, |title-link=A Devil's Chaplain }}
  • BOOK, Dawkins, Richard, Brief Candle in the Dark: My Life in Science, 2015, Bantam Press, 978-0-59307-256-1, {{sfnRef, Dawkins, 2015, | title-link = Brief Candle in the Dark: My Life in Science}}
  • BOOK, Richard Dawkins: How A Scientist Changed the Way We Think, Grafen, Alan, Alan Grafen, Ridley, Mark, Mark Ridley (zoologist), 2006, Oxford University Press, New York, 978-0-19-929116-8, {{sfnRef, Grafen, 2006, |url=weblink}}

External links

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