Richard Dawkins to come to Wellington again

Evolutionary biologist and provocative atheist Richard Dawkins will be appearing during Writers’ Week during the 2016 New Zealand festival.

Dawkins, who is now 74, previously appeared at the New Zealand Festival in 2010.

In an article in the New Zealand Listener, Diana Wichtel described him as “a scientist, a writer, a performer, a public intellectual, an atheist and, to some, a pain in the butt.”

In reply he said, “Well, I like to think of myself as most of the list that you just reeled off.”

“I don’t deliberately try to be a pain. I realise I’m a pain to some people, but I’m not deliberately trying to provoke.”

In an interview on it was suggested  sometimes he almost seems angry when arguing his corner.

“There probably is a little bit of anger, but I like to think I keep it under control better than many people. Mostly when people meet me they don’t find me angry.”

He will be in conversation with  New Zealand writer Bernard Beckett, author of Falling for Science: Asking the Big Questions.

The event will be an open-ended conversation, so it’s hard to say where it may go, but he expects he’ll be led through some of the tales in his new book Brief Candle in the Dark: My Life in Science.

It’s the sequel to his 2013 memoir An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist, which covered the 35 years up to the publication of his first bestseller The Selfish Gene.

Dawkins says main goal has been to promote science and reason, “but if you are trying to promote science and reason, the main obstacle that keeps popping up is religion”.

In 2006, partly inspired by America’s lurch towards “theocracy” under born-again Christian George W Bush, Dawkins finally made his targeting of religion explicit, launching a blistering attack with his book The God Delusion.

The book, which has since sold three milllion copies, transformed him from the evolution guy to the atheism guy.


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News category: New Zealand.

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