I’m truly excited to welcome today’s guest to the London Real studios, as he’s someone I’ve long admired and I know so many of you will be keen to hear the thoughts of this intellectual heavyweight.
Richard Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist, outspoken atheist and international bestselling author who rose to prominence with the publication of his first book ‘The Selfish Gene’, in 1976.
The book popularised the idea of the gene as the fundamental unit of natural selection, arguing that natural selection takes place at the genetic level rather than the species or individual level as was generally assumed. He stated that genes use the bodies of living organisms to further their own survival.
What followed was a string of bestselling books including ‘The Blind Watchmaker’, ‘The Ancestor’s Tale’ and ‘The God Delusion’, catapulting Richard onto the big stage and underlining his status as one of the pre-eminent thinkers of his generation. With 17 books to his name, Richard has been credited with bringing a greater understanding of science and evolution to a wider, more mainstream audience.
Richard attended the University of Oxford in the early 60s graduating with a degree in Zoology before completing his Masters and Doctorate and heading out to the University of California, Berkeley, to serve as Assistant Professor of Zoology, before returning to Oxford as lecturer and continuing the theme.
He has been, and continues to be, the recipient of a plethora of awards and honours. In 1987, he won a Royal Society of Literature Award and a Los Angeles Times Literary Prize before he was honoured with the Zoological Society of London’s Silver Medal and the Finlay Innovation Award and the Michael Faraday Award.
In 2006, he won the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing About Science and in 2007, the Galaxy British Book Awards’ Author of the Year Award. That same year, he was listed by Time magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People In The World, while being ranked 20th in The Daily Telegraph’s list of 100 Greatest Living Geniuses. In 2010, Richard was named to the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s Honorary Board of distinguished achievers.
Richard remains a fellow of New College, Oxford, and a fellow of both the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Literature. He was also appointed Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford in 1995, as he continued to write prolifically on topics including pseudoscience, genetic determinism, memetics, religion and creationism.
In 2006, he established the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, a non-profit science education organisation with the aim to promote scientific literacy and a secular worldview. And this, of course, is one area of discussion with which Richard has become most well known.
His views on religion were first outlined in the “controversial” yet groundbreaking book ‘The God Delusion’ which asserts that a reasonable degree of logic precludes the existence of an all seeing, all powerful creator and saw Richard become the most famous and outspoken atheist in popular culture and scientific circles alike.
“Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence… Faith is not allowed to justify itself by argument.”
It has seen Richard fight vehemently to see religion removed from science education and public policy, believing that science and reason naturally point towards atheism and critical thinking is the real saviour of humankind.
Richard’s latest book “Flights of Fancy: Defying Gravity by Design & Evolution”, is a fascinating exploration of how nature and humans have learned to overcome the pull of gravity and take to the skies. Beautifully illustrated and appealing to all ages, Richard continues to educate and entertain despite his advancing years.
I’m truly looking forward to this one, and I can’t wait to take a deep dive into all of this and much more with a man who is undoubtedly one of the most determined thought leaders of our time.
A number of clips from this exclusive interview are now available to download, share and repost. Spread the word: grab these clips today!
- Flights of Fancy – Defying Gravity by Design and Evolution
- What I Learned Writing Flights of Fancy
- The Evolution of Flight
- I wonder why it took so long for a Darwin to appear
- Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution
- What would a conversation between Darwin and Dawkins look like
- The church and Darwinism
- No one made me think twice about religion
- The extended phenotype concept
- Life outside Earth will be Darwinian life
- Religion as a collection of memes
- Space exploration and life outside Earth
- Can AI become an extended phenotype
- Are we living in a simulation
- How to be a good writer
- We tend to see things that are not really there
- Don’t believe anything unless there’s evidence for it