Richard Dawkins is probably the best known evolutionary biologist in the world today and certainly the world’s best-known atheist who has debated the existence of God with many people, most notably Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury. He was the first Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, a position that was created by Charles Simonyi, the software billionaire, especially for him.
He is famous for his combative attacks on religious belief and, academically, for arguing that natural selection operates on the level of the individual rather than the group.
He has been described as ‘the most influential science writer in the world’ and has the unusual distinction of being a Fellow both of the Royal Society and of the Royal Society of Literature.
Professor Dawkins will be talking about the evolutionary principles that volcanic island chains illustrate. The evolutionary story in Hawaii is similar to the Galapagos – both young, volcanic archipelagos – except that Hawaii has been more impacted up by human colonisation.