I was christened Clinton Richard Dawkins. By a strange quirk, Charles Darwin also has the initials CRD. I often think how proud he would have been to share them with me…., I propose to start this memoir with my grandfather, Clinton Evelyn, the first Dawkins to go to Balliol College, Oxford. The eulogy I wrote for his funeral still brings tears to my eyes.
I frequently pretended to know less than I actually did. This, I now see, was early evidence of my peculiar empathy towards individuals who are much stupider than me.
I shall never forget the shame I felt on my first day as a fag, after ringing the five-minute bell five minutes too late. For my many thousands of American readers, I should point out that fag in this context does not mean homosexual. Of course, some boys did make advances towards me, but I firmly believe there was nothing sexual about that. Likewise, Mr GF Bankerton-Banks whose preferred method of teaching was with his hands in a boy’s pockets. No doubt in these more suspicious times, he would have been dismissed as a paedophile.
I may have once, shortly after my confirmation, been foolish enough to believe in the possibility of an intelligent designer, but I have long since exposed the pathetic fallacy of that belief.
Having taken up my anointed position at Balliol, I quickly became one of the most remarkable zoologists of my generation, and it was a surprise to find my work on chickens pecking at eggshells and crickets reacting to light sources didn’t receive greater international acclaim. Not that Balliol was all work and no play. I did achieve my first sexual congress with a cellist and it was most gratifying to discover how biomechanically efficient my penis was.
What I hadn’t then realised was my remarkable ability to be right about absolutely everything: the consequences of that realisation will follow in a later volume.
Digested read, digested: Me me meme.
Appetite for Wonder
John Crace reduces the autobiography of the God-fearless evolutionary biologist to a more manageable 600 words
Recall, anti-theists rank highest among atheists in narcissism. Many people worship something or someone, and in the case of anti-theists like Dawkins, it is themselves!
1. HT Mike Gene
2. Photo Credits Wikipedia