Clinton Richard Dawkins is an English ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author. He is an emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford, and was the University of Oxford’s Professor for Public Understanding of Science from 1995 until 2008.
Dawkins first came to prominence with his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, which popularised the gene-centred view of evolution and introduced the term meme. With his book The Extended Phenotype, published in 1982, he introduced into evolutionary biology the influential concept that the phenotypic effects of a gene are not necessarily limited to an organism’s body, but can stretch far into the environment. In 2006, he founded the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.
Dawkins is atheist, and is well known for his criticism of creationism and intelligent design. In his most popular book, The God Delusion, published in 2006, Dawkins contends that a supernatural creator almost certainly does not exist and that religious faith is a delusion. In his 1986 book The Blind Watchmaker, he argues against the watchmaker analogy, an argument for the existence of a supernatural creator based upon the complexity of living organisms. Instead, he describes evolutionary processes as analogous to a blind watchmaker in that reproduction, mutation, and selection are unguided by any designer. He is an opponent of creationism being taught in schools. He has been awarded many prestigious academic and writing awards and he makes regular television, radio and Internet appearances, predominantly discussing his books, his atheism and his ideas and opinions as a public intellectual.