By Clayton Stone
Recently, I had the privilege of sitting down with Professor Richard Dawkins at his home in Oxford. Professor Dawkins is an Emeritus Fellow of New College, Oxford and served as the University of Oxford’s inaugural Professor for the Public Understanding of Science from 1995 to 2008. He is a Fellow of both the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Literature and has published numerous international best-selling books including The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion.
Dawkins is best known as a vehement atheist. I am intrigued as to his views on the rights of atheists and whether or not atheists as a group are becoming less ostracised within society. “In Britain”, he said, “it’s not so much of a problem. In the United States, it is still widely believed, and it is probably still true that atheists can’t get elected to public office. I think that is changing, slowly.
“There is statistical evidence that the number of people who, if they are not atheists, at least profess no religion, is increasing in the US. My foundation, the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, along with its associate organisation the Center for Inquiry, are part of Openly Secular, which is a campaign to raise people’s consciousness to the fact that being a non-believer is not a particularly terrible thing, and that ordinary people, nice people, people you know, are atheists.”
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