Person of the Year 2006
This has been a big year for so many people across many fields, but in the field of religion, ethics and ideas, this is one man's year. Like him or loathe him, people are talking about him and his ideas. We recognise Richard Dawkins, the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, as our Person of the Year 2006. This year also marks the 30th anniversary of the publication of his book The Selfish Gene. To some he's "Darwin's rottweiller" (echoing TH Huxley's nickname, "Darwin's bulldog"); to others he's "A Devil's Chaplain" (Darwin's phrase, now the title of one of Dawkins's books). You have voted overwhelmingly for Dawkins, and for many conflicting reasons:
For being everywhere this year, with the publication of his global bestseller, The God Delusion.
For proving that scientists can still change the way people think.
For writing a book (The God Delusion) which enabled Terry Eagleton to write the most negative review ever published.
For thinking clearly in a world that doesn't much value clear thinking anymore.
For saying what he thinks.
For defending the delusion that science and religious faith are incompatible.
For creating the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science.
For writing the most overrated book of the year (in the judgment of Prospect magazine).
For making people talk about the dangers of religious fundamentalism.
For lobbying atheism and humanism into the headlines more than anyone else has done before.
For being the face of science on television across the western world.
For not having been given an honour by the Queen, while being a recipient of the Medal of the Presidency of the Italian Republic and many scientific and literary prizes.
For marrying the actress who played Romana in Doctor Who.
For raising questions that need to be answered by any intelligent religious believer wishing to develop a coherent worldview.
For being a scientific fundamentalist and the worst advert for atheism currently doing a book tour.
For raising a debate about the nature of "science" and how future generations of schoolchildren should be pretected from "pseudo-science".
For being rude and getting away with it.
For these, and many other reasons, Richard Dawkins is our Person of the Year 2006.