Brief Candle in the Dark reveals a ‘softer’ Dawkins
Brief Candle in the Dark: My Life in Science is the second volume of Richard Dawkins’ autobiography. The title is a combination of Macbeth’s famous speech and Carl Sagan referring to science as a candle in the dark.
I am pleased to report that there is much more of interest to freethinkers than in his first volume.
What amazed me the most is that he says he now believes in “mutual dialogue” as the best way for us to engage with our opponents. Is this is the same Richard Dawkins who became famous for his courage in aggressively debating with militant Muslims and evangelical Christians?
He now denies being the aggressive atheist the Christian press likes to portray him as. Perhaps he is growing softer in his old age since he has now reached the ripe old age of 74. However, from Google I am pleased to report that he is still vigorously debating with our religious opponents.
Two sections of this book will be of particular interest to freethinkers. The first deals with the publication of the most influential freethinking book of all time: The God Delusion published in 2006. As Dawkins claims: it was a game changer – for our side. Apparently it has sold over three million copies: 250,000 of them in German. It has also been translated into more than 30 other languages.
The second is the New Atheist movement which developed at about the same time. He pays a particularly warm tribute to the late Christopher Hitchens for his leading role in this movement and for his courage in facing up to and coping with his terminal cancer.
Most of the rest of this book covers his career at Oxford University: first as a lecturer in biology (specialising in ethology) and second as Professor in the Understanding of Science.
He has obviously enjoyed his time at New College and meeting many famous people in his field at conferences all over the world.