Richard Dawkins I Am Offended!


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    Views: (22623)   Date: (19-01-09)   Time: (00:04:33)
  • Description: On March 8th, 2008, Richard Dawkins gave a lecture on "The God Delusion" during his US Tour. The event took place on the UC Berkeley campus in Wheeler Auditorium.

    Richard Dawkins, FRS, FRSL (born 26 March 1941) is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and popular science author. He is a professorial fellow of New College, Oxford.

    Dawkins came to prominence with his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, which popularised the gene-centred view of evolution and introduced the term meme. In 1982, he made a widely cited contribution to evolutionary biology with the theory, presented in his book The Extended Phenotype, that the phenotypic effects of a gene are not necessarily limited to an organism's body, but can stretch far into the environment, including the bodies of other organisms.

    Dawkins is a prominent critic of creationism and intelligent design. In his 1986 book The Blind Watchmaker, he argued against the watchmaker analogy, an argument for the existence of a supernatural creator based upon the observed complexity of living organisms, and instead described evolutionary processes as being analogous to a blind watchmaker. He has since written several popular science books, and has made regular appearances on television and radio programmes, predominantly discussing the aforementioned topics.

    Dawkins is an atheist, secular humanist, sceptic, scientific rationalist, and supporter of the Brights movement. He has widely been referred to in the media as "Darwin's Rottweiler", by analogy with English biologist T. H. Huxley, who was known as "Darwin's Bulldog" for his advocacy of natural selection. In his 2006 book The God Delusion, Dawkins contends that a supernatural creator almost certainly does not exist and that faith qualifies as a delusion − as a fixed false belief. As of November 2007, the English language version had sold more than 1.5 million copies and had been translated into 31 other languages, making it his most popular book to date.

    Clinton Richard Dawkins was born on 26 March 1941, in Nairobi, Colony of Kenya, British Empire. His father, Clinton John Dawkins, was a soldier who moved to Kenya from England during World War II to join the Allied Forces, returning to England in 1949 when Richard was eight. Both of his parents were interested in natural sciences, and they answered Dawkins' questions in scientific terms.

    Dawkins describes his childhood as "a normal Anglican upbringing", but reveals that he began doubting the existence of God when he was about nine years old. He later reconverted because he was persuaded by the argument from design, an argument for the existence of God or a creator based on perceived evidence of order, purpose, design or direction − or some combination of these − in nature. However, he began to feel that the customs of the Church of England were absurd, and had more to do with dictating morals than with God. Later, when he better understood the process of evolution, his religious position again changed, because he felt that natural selection could account for the complexity of life in purely material terms, rendering a supernatural designer unnecessary.

    Dawkins attended Oundle School from 1954 to 1959. He studied zoology at Balliol College, Oxford, where he was tutored by Nobel Prize-winning ethologist Nikolaas Tinbergen, graduating in 1962. He continued as a research student under Tinbergen's supervision at the University of Oxford, receiving his M.A. and D.Phil. degrees in 1966, while staying as a research assistant for another year. Tinbergen was a pioneer in the study of animal behaviour, particularly the questions of instinct, learning and choice. Dawkins' research in this period concerned models of animal decision making.

    From 1967 to 1969, Dawkins was an assistant professor of zoology at the University of California, Berkeley. During this period, the students and faculty at UC Berkeley were largely opposed to the ongoing Vietnam War, and Dawkins became heavily involved in the anti-war demonstrations and activities. He returned to the University of Oxford in 1970 taking a position as a lecturer, and − in 1990 − a reader, in zoology. In 1995, he was appointed Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science in the University of Oxford, a position that had been endowed by Charles Simonyi with the express intention that the holder "be expected to make important contributions to the public understanding of some scientific field". Since 1970, he has been a fellow of New College, Oxford.

    In the 1970s Dawkins turned to explaining the life sciences to a popular audience, beginning with his 1976 book, The Selfish Gene.

    Dawkins has delivered a number of inaugural and other lectures, including the Henry Sidgwick Memorial Lecture (1989), first Erasmus Darwin Memorial Lecture (1990), Michael Faraday Lecture (1991), T.H. Huxley Memorial Lecture (1992), Irvine Memorial Lecture (1997), Sheldon Doyle Lecture (1999), Tinbergen Lecture (2004) and Tanner Lectures (2003).[13] In 1991, he gave the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures for Children. He has also served as editor of a number of journals, and has acted as editorial advisor to Encarta Encyclopedia and the Encyclopedia of Evolution. He is a senior editor of the Council for Secular Humanism's Free Inquiry magazine, for which he also writes a column. He has been a member of the editorial board of Skeptic magazine since its foundation.

    He has sat on judging panels for awards as diverse as the Royal Society's Faraday Award and the British Academy Television Awards, and has been president of the Biological Sciences section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2004, Balliol College, Oxford instituted the Dawkins Prize, awarded for "outstanding research into the ecology and behaviour of animals whose welfare and survival may be endangered by human activities".

    In September 2008, Dawkins retired from his post as Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science, announcing plans to "write a book aimed at youngsters in which he will warn them against believing in "anti-scientific" fairytales."

    On 19 August 1967, Dawkins married fellow ethologist Marian Stamp; they divorced in 1984. Later that same year, on 1 June, Dawkins married Eve Barham − with whom he had a daughter, Juliet Emma Dawkins − but they too divorced, and Barham died of cancer on 28 February 1999. In 1992, he married actress Lalla Ward. Dawkins had met her through their mutual friend Douglas Adams, who had previously worked with Ward on the BBC science-fiction television programme Doctor Who. Ward has illustrated over half of Dawkins' books and co-narrated the audio versions of two of his books, The Ancestor's Tale and The God Delusion. In 2008 Dawkins made a cameo appearance as himself in the Doctor Who episode "The Stolen Earth".

    SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Dawkins)

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