Arlyn Clement

Arlyn Clement

Modified & Updated: 30 Jan 2024


Richard Dawkins, a renowned evolutionary biologist, author, and outspoken atheist, has long been a figure of controversy and intrigue. Best known for his influential book “The Selfish Gene” and his advocacy for atheism, Dawkins has made significant contributions to the field of biology and has sparked countless debates on the existence of God and the role of science in society.

In this article, we delve deeper into the life and work of Richard Dawkins, uncovering some surprising facts that you may not be aware of. From his early years as a student to his accomplishments as a scientist and his active role in promoting secularism, Dawkins has had a profound impact on both the scientific community and the wider world. Prepare to be amazed as we explore nine fascinating and lesser-known aspects of Richard Dawkins’ journey.

Table of Contents

Richard Dawkins coined the term “meme”.

One of the most surprising facts about Richard Dawkins is that he is credited with popularizing the term “meme”. In his book, “The Selfish Gene”, published in 1976, Dawkins introduced the concept of a meme as an idea or behavior that spreads from person to person within a culture. This term has since become widely used in internet culture.

Dawkins is a former professor of Public Understanding of Science.

For over a decade, Dawkins held the prestigious position of the Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford. He used this platform to promote scientific literacy and rational thinking.

He has authored several influential books.

Dawkins is a prolific writer and has written numerous popular science books, including “The Blind Watchmaker”, “The God Delusion”, and “The Extended Phenotype”. His works have gained both acclaim and controversy, and he is often regarded as one of the most influential science communicators of our time.

Dawkins is an advocate for atheism.

One of the most well-known aspects of Dawkins’ career is his outspoken atheism. He has been a vocal critic of organized religion and a proponent of the idea that religious beliefs are not supported by empirical evidence.

He received numerous awards and honors.

Throughout his career, Dawkins has received numerous awards and honors for his contributions to science and literature. These include the Royal Society of Literature Award, the Michael Faraday Prize, and being named a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Dawkins holds a degree in zoology.

Before delving into evolutionary biology, Dawkins earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in zoology from Balliol College, Oxford. His fascination with the natural world drove his passion for understanding the mechanisms of evolution.

He is a passionate advocate for the theory of evolution.

Dawkins has been a staunch defender of the theory of evolution and has played a key role in popularizing the understanding of natural selection and its importance in shaping the diversity of life on Earth.

Dawkins is an active social media user.

Despite being in his eighties, Dawkins maintains an active presence on social media platforms like Twitter, where he engages in debates, shares interesting scientific articles, and interacts with his followers.

He has been involved in promoting science education.

Throughout his career, Dawkins has emphasized the need for science education and critical thinking. He has been involved in various initiatives and organizations aimed at promoting science education and combating pseudoscience.


In conclusion, Richard Dawkins is undoubtedly a fascinating figure in the field of science and atheism. Through his extensive research and writings, he has left an indelible mark on our understanding of evolution and the importance of critical thinking. Dawkins has also faced controversies and criticisms over the years, but his dedication to promoting scientific literacy and rationality remains unwavering.While many are familiar with Dawkins’ popular books such as “The Selfish Gene” and “The God Delusion,” there are several surprising facts about him that may not be as widely known. From his musical talents to his affinity for poetry, Dawkins proves that he is a multifaceted individual with a passion for both knowledge and artistic expression.Overall, Richard Dawkins’ contributions to the fields of evolutionary biology and atheism have undeniably left a lasting impact. His willingness to challenge conventional beliefs and his dedication to evidence-based thinking continue to inspire and provoke thought among scientists and non-believers alike.


1. Is Richard Dawkins strictly an atheist?

No, while Richard Dawkins is famously known for his outspoken atheism, he describes himself as an agnostic rather than a strict atheist.

2. What are some of Richard Dawkins’ other notable works?

Aside from “The Selfish Gene” and “The God Delusion,” Dawkins has written several other books, including “The Blind Watchmaker” and “Unweaving the Rainbow.”

3. Has Richard Dawkins always been involved in the field of science?

Yes, Dawkins has had a lifelong fascination with science and has been involved in the field since his early years. He studied zoology at the University of Oxford and eventually became a renowned evolutionary biologist.

4. What controversies has Richard Dawkins faced?

Dawkins has faced backlash for his controversial statements regarding religion and atheism. Some critics argue that he is too dismissive of religious beliefs and fails to consider the nuanced perspectives of believers.

5. Is Richard Dawkins involved in any other areas besides science?

Yes, Dawkins has expressed his love for the arts and has even dabbled in writing poetry. He has also been known to play the clarinet and has a strong interest in music.