Richard Dawkins makes Time 100
Good Idea: include Richard Dawkins in the Time 100, the list of the 100 men and women whose power, talent or moral example is transforming the world.
Bad Idea: get Michael Behe to write the profile.
Of Richard Dawkins’ nine books, none caused as much controversy or sold as well as last year’s The God Delusion. The central idea—popular among readers and deeply unsettling among proponents of intelligent design like myself—is that religion is a so-called virus of the mind, a simple artifact of cultural evolution, no more or less meaningful than eye color or height.
It is a measure of the artful way Dawkins, 66, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Oxford, tells a tale and the rigor he brings to his thinking that even those of us who profoundly disagree with what he has to say can tip our hats to the way he has invigorated the larger debate.
Dawkins had a mild Anglican youth but at 16 discovered Charles Darwin and believed he’d found a pearl of great price. I believe his new book follows much less from his data than from his premises, and yet I admire his determination. Concerning the big questions, the Bible advises us to be hot or cold but not lukewarm. Whatever the merit of his ideas, Richard Dawkins is not lukewarm.
I just… can’t understand it. And this is the highly edited version – here’s what he wanted to say. I can only imagine what the next Time 100 is going to look like:
- Tony Blair, profiled by Robert Mugabe
- Sir Ian McKellen, profiled by Fred Phelps
- Michael J. Fox, profiled by Rush Limbaugh
- Jon Stewart, profiled by George W. Bush
- Neil Armstrong, profiled by Bart Sibrel
- Noam Chomsky, profiled by Paris Hilton