Professor Dawkins has reached the first day of his eighth decade, and let’s wish him many more good years. For the years he has had, I’m grateful for his
- Being the most lucid and engrossing popular writer on evolution, thereby teaching a huge number of people about the supreme achievement of the human intellect: the true story of where we—and by “we” I mean every species—came from;
- Inspiring many younger people, including me, to become evolutionary biologists, thus giving him a widely extended academic phenotype;
- Having publicized and popularized the gene-centered view of evolution, which, though under attack by some ambitious miscreants, is still standing tall; and
- Becoming through numerous writings and appearances the world’s most famous activist for atheism—thereby giving thousands of people the courage to go public with their godlessness.
Any one of these would be enough for a lifetime, but he’s done all that and more. I’m proud to call him my friend.
Instead of just saying, “Happy birthday,” why don’t we tell him how he influenced us?
How can you top this for fame?