Richard Dawkins FRS FRSL (born 26 March 1941) is a British evolutionary biologist and author. He is an emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford, and was Professor for Public Understanding of Science in the University of Oxford from 1995 to 2008. An atheist, he is well known for his criticism of creationism and intelligent design.
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 (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.
In The Blind Watchmaker (1986), Dawkins 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. In The God Delusion (2006), Dawkins contends that a supernatural creator almost certainly does not exist and that religious faith is a delusion. Dawkins's atheist stances have sometimes attracted controversy.
Dawkins has been awarded academic and writing awards, and he makes television, radio, and internet appearances, predominantly discussing his books, atheism, and his ideas and opinions as a public intellectual.