Clinton Richard Dawkins was born in March 1941 in Nairobi, Kenya. When
he was eight his family moved to England where he attended Oundle School, and then
Balliol College, Oxford, where he obtained a second class BA degree in zoology in
1962, followed by MA and DPhil degrees in 1966.
He describes his childhood as "a normal Anglican upbringing", but he started to doubt the existence of God when he was about nine years old. He later changed his opinion persuaded by the argument that a designer had been necessary to create the universe; however in his teens when he better understood evolution, he came to the conclusion that evolution could account for the complexity of life and that a designer was unnecessary.
For two years starting in 1967 he was an assistant professor of zoology at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1970 he was appointed a lecturer at Oxford University, and in 1990 he was made a reader (a rank between senior lecturer and professor) in zoology at Oxford. In 1995, he became Oxford's Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science. The position was endowed by philanthropist Charles Simonyi (who was the first to refer to Dawkins as "Darwin's rottweiller") with the express intention that Dawkins be its first holder.
He first came to prominence in 1976 with the publication of The Selfish Gene, which popularized the gene-centric view of evolution. He is an outspoken atheist, humanist and skeptic, and a prominent member of the Brights movement. The term "Brights" was coined by Paul Geisert (an American former biology teacher, professor, writer and entrepreneur) who started the movement in 2003 as a positive-sounding umbrella term to describe people who have a naturalistic worldview (i.e. one without supernatural or mystical beliefs) in order to counter the more negative terms such as atheist, infidel or non-believer.
Dawkins's books include The Ancestor's Tale, The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, Climbing Mount Improbable, Unweaving the Rainbow, A Devil's Chaplain, The God Delusion, and The Greatest Show on Earth. In 2006 he founded The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.
He has been married three times; first to Marian Stamp (1967-1984); then to Eve Barham with whom he has a daughter, Juliet Emma Dawkin. Since 1992 he has been married to actress and artist Lalla Ward, who he met through their mutual friend, Douglas Adams. They live in Oxford, England.
This biography was last updated on 06/19/2011.
A note about the biographies
We try to keep BookBrowse's biographies both up to date and accurate. However, with over 2500 lives to keep track of it's inevitable that some won't be as current or as complete as we would like. So, please help us - if the information about a particular author is out of date, inaccurate or simply very short, and you know of a more complete source, please let us know. Authors and those connected with authors: If you wish to make changes to your bio, please send your complete biography as you would like it displayed so that we can replace the old with the new.
Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!
Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only
What makes a book great...
Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!
Solve this clue:
and be entered to win..
Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.
Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.