The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers
By FOREIGN POLICY
Added: Wed, 02 Dec 2009 00:00:00 UTC
18. Richard Dawkins
for his unceasing advocacy on behalf of science.
If you believe the human body is the design of an omnipotent god rather than a result of the perfectly imperfect way living beings reproduce, Dawkins -- a retired Oxford University professor who pens cleanly worded but never dumbed-down explanations of evolutionary biology -- has no time for you. "Evolution is a fact, and this book will demonstrate it," he writes in The Greatest Show on Earth, released this year for the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth. "No reputable scientist disputes it and no unbiased reader will close the book doubting it."
With sharp prose and lucid thought, Dawkins demonstrates how the cudgels commonly taken up by the faithful to beat down evolution (gaps in the fossil record, for instance) are at best innocent misunderstandings and at worst willful attempts to mislead. Building upon arguments laid out in 2006's The God Delusion, he shows how religious argument sometimes perverts scientific truths -- making him the strongest, smartest advocate for Darwinism in our time.
There are also a few other interesting names on the list:
Christopher Hitchens #47
Ayaan Hirsi Ali #48
Tariz Ramadan #49
Freeman Dyson #69
Karen Armstron #87
Dick Cheney #13
Pope Benedict XVI #17
Dave Mosher - National Geographic Comments
The sun is the roundest natural object ever precisely measured, astronomers say.
Geraint Jones - The Guardian Comments
Scientists who encoded the book say it could soon be cheaper to store information in DNA than in conventional digital devices
Ed Yong - Nature News Comments
Under the supervision of guards and graduate students, a small group of prisoners is breeding the beautiful orange-and-white insects in a greenhouse outside the prison. They have even carried out research to show what plants the butterfly prefers to lay its eggs on.
- - Scientific American Comments
Teachers, scientists and policymakers have drafted ambitious new education standards. All 50 states should adopt them
John Roach - NBC News Comments
An artificial “brain” built by a 17-year-old whiz kid from Florida is able to accurately assess tissue samples for signs of breast cancer, providing more confidence to a minimally invasive procedure.