Richard Dawkins is a well known English ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author of several books who came to prominence with one of his books titled: “The Selfish Gene.”
Dawkins who introduced the term meme is among the patrons of the Oxford University Scientific Society where he was a professor for Public Understanding of Science (1995-2008). He is also the founder of Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (RDFRS). Among his personal beliefs is that the existence of God should be treated as a scientific hypothesis like any other.
Born on March 26, 1941, in Nairobi, Kenya into a Christian family, Clinton Richard Dawkins is the son of Jean Mary Vyvyan and Clinton John Dawkins. His father was an agricultural civil servant in the British Colonial Service in Nyasaland (present-day Malawi) before moving back to England in 1949 when Dawkins was eight years old.
Growing up in Oxford, England with his younger sister, Dawkin withdrew from his belief in God through his teenage years and concluded that the theory of evolution was a better explanation for life’s complexity. He is of the opinion that Darwinism was a far superior explanation to the argument of design.
Richard Dawkin attended the English public school, Oundle School in Northamptonshire and graduated from Balliol College, Oxford where he studied zoology in 1962. He became a research student under the supervision of Nobel Prize-winning ethologist Nikolaas Tinbergen and after receiving his MA and Doctor of Philosophy, he remained a research assistant for another year.
Besides learning about his birthplace and educational background there remains the big question.
Who is Richard Dawkins?
Richard Dawkins is widely known as an outspoken atheist who is unflinchingly agnostic about matters of religious faith. Also known for his criticism of creationism and intelligent design, Dawkins is an educator, from a research assistant at his alumni to assistant professor of zoology at the University of California, Berkeley (1967-1969).
The original thinker, as he has been described by NY Times, has delivered numerous lectures since 1989 including the Micheal Faraday Lecture and the Irvine Memorial Lecture, as well as edited several journals. With his diverse reputation and experiences in the field of science Dawkins occupy positions such as the president of the Biological Sciences section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science; a panel judge for awards such as the Faraday Award and the British Academy Television Awards; and the Dawkins Prize instituted in 2004, by Balliol College, Oxford.
He is a recipient of several awards and recognition for works and books starting from the early 90s, outlined as follows: an honorary doctorate in science from twelve universities; was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1997 and a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2001; the Kistler Prize and Medal of the Presidency of the Italian Republic in 2001; the 2001 and 2012 Emperor Has No Clothes Award; received a Los Angeles Times Literary Prize and Royal Society of Literature award for his book The Blind Watchmaker; the Finlay Innovation Award (1990); the Nakayama Prize (1994); the American Humanist Association’s Humanist of the Year Award (1996); and the fifth International Cosmos Prize (1997).
Dawkin was voted the world’s top thinker in a poll held by Prospect in 2013, out of 65 names chosen by mostly the US and UK-based expert panel. He is also a recipient of other awards such as the Shakespeare Prize; the Lewis Thomas Prize (2006) for Writing about Science; and the Galaxy British Book Awards’ Author of the Year Award (2007).
The author of God Delusion was listed as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2007 by Times Magazine and was ranked 20th in the list of 100 greatest living geniuses by The Daily Telegraph in 2007.
In 2012, ichthyologists in Sri Lanka described Dawkins work as one which has helped them understand the beauty of the universe in its awe-inspiring form than any religion has imagined. They honored him with a new genus Dawkinsia as a reminder of the simplicity of evolution.
Richard Dawkins is the author of several scientific books including “Viruses of the Mind” (1991), “The View from Mount Improbable” (2005), “The Evolution of Life” (1996), “The Extended Phenotype” (1982), “Unweaving the Rainbow” (1998), “The Greatest Show on Earth” (2009), “The Blind Watch Maker” (1986), “The Magic of Reality” (2011), “The Ancestor’s Tale” (2004), “An Appetite for Wonder” (2013), “Brief Candle in the Dark” (2015), “Science in the Soul” (2017) and many others.
Dawkins is a supporter of various atheist, humanistic and secular organizations, as well as a supporter of the Great Ape Project. He’s critical of Roman Catholic rejection of artificial family planning and the use of contraception to control the world’s population.
Despite being confirmed into the Church of England at the age of 13, he is a prominent critic of religion and creationism which believes that the universe with its humanity and life were created by a deity. He puzzles over how sophisticated scientists could still believe in God and leaders in a civilized world could still be uneducated in biology. He is also a critic of alternative medicine and pseudoscience.
As far as we know, Dawkins’ net worth is $10 million which is not surprising. His work over the years as a researcher, college professor, speaker, media personality as well as an author are proof of his lifetime successes and wealth.
His Wife and Family Facts
Richard Dawkins has been married three times and is a father of one daughter, Juliet Emma Dawkins, whom he had with his second wife, late Eve Barham (August 19, 1951 – February 28, 1999) – they were divorced before her demise.
He first got married to fellow ethologist Marian Stamp (1967–1984). He and actress Lalla Ward were married in 1992 after being introduced by their mutual friend. The couple separated in 2016 following amicable agreement.