Richard Dawkins biography, plus links to book reviews and book excerpts from books by Richard Dawkins.

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Richard Dawkins
Lalla Ward

Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins Biography

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.

Link to Richard's website

This biography was last updated on 06/19/2011.

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Recommended in Detail at BookBrowse

The God Delusion
The God Delusion

by Richard Dawkins

The God Delusion makes a compelling case that belief in God is not just wrong but potentially deadly. It also offers exhilarating insight into the advantages of atheism to the individual and society, not the least of which is a clearer, truer appreciation of the universe's wonders than any faith could ever muster.
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All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Richard Dawkins but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
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  • Karen Armstrong

    Karen Armstrong

    Karen Armstrong, author, scholar, and journalist, is among the world's foremost commentators on religious history and culture. Her books include the bestselling A History of God and The Battle for God, as well as Buddha and ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The God Delusion

    Try:
    The Battle For God
    by Karen Armstrong

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    Eugene d'Aquili

    Eugene d'Aquili, M.D., Ph.D., was the founder of Biogenetic Structuralism, a way of studying the neurophysiology underlying human behaviour. His numerous books include Biogenetic Structuralism; Brain, Symbol and ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The God Delusion

    Try:
    Why God Won't Go Away
    by Eugene d'Aquili

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