Coming this September is Richard Dawkins‘ latest book The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution. I understand that this book will engage more with the arguments of those who seek to deny this evidence – the creationist/intelligent design proponents.
It should be good. Not only is Dawkins an excellent presenter and populariser of science – he is also an extremely good writer. This is why he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1997 and the Royal Society in 2001.
Of course Dawkins is not the only populariser of science, or popular science writer. We do have a number of good science popularisers now – people like Carolyn Porco, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Lawrence Krauss, Brian Greene, Steve Jones, Steven Pinker, Marcus du Sautoy, Matt Ridley, Frank Wilczek, Jim Al-Khalili, etc. And these people are very effective.
But for some reason Dawkins has caught the public imagination. This means he draws crowds to his appearances. His books sell very well. And it doesn’t hurt the cause of science that someone like Dawkins can get public attention.
Dawkins coming to New Zealand?
So wouldn’t it be great if Dawkins did make some real appearances in New Zealand (he seemed to create quite a bit of interest with his recent virtual appearance). Perhaps there is a chance. There are plans for him to speak at the Atheists Foundation of Australia convention in Melbourne next March (see Richard Dawkins Down Under! and “The Rise of Atheism” Australian Atheist Conference 2010).
There are attempts to get Dawkins to New Zealand after the Convention (see Call to get Richard Dawkins to NZ following the AFA conference in March 2010). Obviously organisations like the NZ Rationalists and Humanists (email:email@example.com) and NZ Skeptics (email:firstname.lastname@example.org) could be interested in facilitating this. But what about the Royal Society of New Zealand or one or two of our universities.
And then there are the book publishers. Surely they would be interested in getting Dawkins here as part of the promotion tour for The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution.
Perhaps people should start lobbying with some of these organisations.
Anyone interested in the Convention can register their interest by emailing the foundation (Email:email@example.com).