Richard Dawkins is probably the best known evolutionary biologist in the world today and certainly the world’s best-known atheist who has debated the existence of God with many people, most notably Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury. He was the first Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, a position that was created by Charles Simonyi, the software billionaire, especially for him. He is famous for his combative attacks on religious belief and, academically, for arguing that natural selection operates on the level of the individual rather than the group.
He has been described as ‘the most influential science writer in the world’ and has the unusual distinction of being a Fellow both of the Royal Society and of the Royal Society of Literature.
2016 is his seventy-fifth birthday, the fortieth anniversary of the publication of his first academic work, The Selfish Gene, and the tenth anniversary of his three-million copy bestseller The God Delusion. Professor Dawkins will be talking about why Darwin’s idea can be called the most significant realization that homo sapiens has ever had about itself and how it has penetrated ever corner of modern thought.