The events, sponsored by the Secular Coalition for America, covered a range of topics. Not all of them were relevant to Americans United’s work, but some, such as the teaching of evolution in public schools and the threat to science posed by the Religious Right, were dead on.

Dawkins, named the world’s #1 thinker by Prospect magazine in 2013, is the acclaimed author of The Selfish GeneThe Blind WatchmakerThe God Delusion and numerous other books about evolutionary biology and ethology – subjects which he used to teach at Oxford University. He has been an outspoken critic of creationism and has written extensively on the need for a greater emphasis on teaching evolution in schools.

“There is simply no doubt at all that evolution is true,” said Dawkins in response to a question regarding the proof of evolution. “The evidence for evolution is about as strong as anything we know.” He compared the level of scientific certainty about evolution to that of the Earth orbiting the sun.