Richard Dawkins was born in Nairobi, Kenya while that country was a British colony.
Dawkins is shockingly outspoken about his religious and political views. He is an atheist but admits to believing in God as a child. He said:
As a child I [believed in God]. I had a normal Anglican upbringing and, yes, I believed what I was told.1
Dawkins cites his 16th year as the year he woke up and began questioning conventional religious belief systems. Now, as one of the world’s foremost scientists–both as an advocate of science and a contributor, mostly to the field of genetics–Dawkins only sees the world as natural, explainable phenomena. His many books outline his critiques of religion and faith. He has said:
Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.2
Unlike many outspoken atheist intellectuals, Dawkins tries not to participate in formal debates with creationists or theists because it’s largely pointless. He said:
[Creationists and theists] don’t mind being beaten in an argument. What matters is that we give them recognition by bothering to argue with them in public.3
In Dawkins’ home country of England, Dawkins is a supporter of the liberal Democrat Party because, as he says:
[I like their] refusal to pander to ‘faith.’4
Dawkins was highly critical of America under George W. Bush and particularly the War on Terror policies. Dawkins argued that, essentially, the terrorists had accomplished their goal by plunging the western world into chaos and panic after the 9/11 attacks. He said:
Osama bin Laden, in his wildest dreams, could hardly have hoped for this. A mere 18 months after he boosted the US to a peak of worldwide sympathy unprecedented since Pearl Harbor, that international goodwill has been squandered to near zero. Bin Laden must be beside himself with glee. And the infidels are now walking right into the Iraq trap.5
Somewhat scandalously, Dawkins has advocated for the eradication of the British Monarchy in favor of a democratically elected British president.6
All in all, Dawkins is a highly controversial figure, totally unashamed with his views no matter how unpopular they might be. This would all be for nothing if he wasn’t such a highly-respected scientist. Given that, he now contributes to the already large population of intelligent, educated, well-spoken, reasoned, and logical people who advocate secularism and warn against the dangers of blind faith. What could that mean?