Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science

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Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science
Updated logo for the RDFRS.png
Founded 2006; 9 years ago (2006)
Founder Richard Dawkins
Type Scientific education, advocacy, and secularism organization
1119952 (UK)
98-0499347 (US EIN)
  • 1012 14th Street NW, Suite 209, Washington, DC 20005, USA
Key people
Board of Directors
Richard Dawkins
(Founder and Chair)
J. Anderson Thomson
(Treasurer and Secretary)
David Cowan
Robyn Blumner
(President and CEO)

Advisory Board
Bill Nye
Julia Sweeney
Woody Kaplan
Baris Karadogan
Norman Lear
Carolyn Porco
Andrés Roemer
Todd Stiefel
Greg Stikeleather
Mission "To support scientific education, critical thinking and evidence-based understanding of the natural world in the quest to overcome religious fundamentalism, superstition, intolerance and suffering."[1]

The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (RDFRS or RDF) is a non-profit organization founded by British biologist Richard Dawkins in 2006 to promote scientific literacy and secularism.


After Richard Dawkins’ success with the book The God Delusion, he created the foundation with its headquarters in the United States to work toward a world in which religion no longer interferes with the advance of science and in which people use their critical thinking skills to evaluate theist claims about the nature of reality.

Dawkins complained of the difficulty he faced in gaining tax-free status, which he attributes to the secular nature of the organization. In contrast to the presumption by officials that religious organizations benefit humanity without evidence (for instance Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption), he points to a letter he received from the British Charity Commission requesting evidence for the claim that the advancement of science is connected to the public good.[2]

Theist author Marion Ledwig suggests that the foundation may have been set up as an atheist counterpart to the John Templeton Foundation,[3] an organization which Dawkins has publicly criticized, especially in The God Delusion, for corrupting science. In a TED talk prior to writing The God Delusion, Dawkins had called for the need for an "anti-Templeton" to step up, saying that if his books sold better, he would take the initiative himself.[4]

Dawkins describes his foundation’s purpose this way:

“Critical thinking is the real saviour of humankind. My foundation promotes respect for people who hold critical thinking as a cherished personal value and use it in day-to-day life. The logical counter to religious extremism is people who rely on evidence to make decisions. Yet the voice of secular people is maligned in this country. Forty-five percent of Americans think you have to believe in God to be moral.[5] Secular voices are considered immoral. They are not listened to on that basis. We must counter this baseless hostility to allow the contributions of secular people in vital national debates to count. Making secular views and people welcome in politics and policy-making will advance human safety, security, health, achievement, prosperity and most of all, science."[6]

The organization began accepting members in April 2015.[7]

Among its activities, RDFRS finances research into the psychology of belief and religion, finances scientific education programs and materials, and publicizes and supports secular charitable organisations.[8]



In March 2009, following proposed anti-evolution resolutions by Oklahoma State Representative Todd Thomsen, including condemning a visit by Dawkins to Oklahoma,[9] he instructed the U.S. branch of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science to donate $5,000 to Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education.[10][11]


In March 2011, the RDFRS along with the Freedom From Religion Foundation began The Clergy Project which is a confidential on-line community that supports members as they move from their faith.[12][13]


In 2014 RDFRS joined several similar organizations, including the Stiefel Freethought Foundation, the Secular Student Alliance, and the Secular Coalition for America, to form Openly Secular, an initiative which aims to combat and draw attention to anti-atheist discrimination and to encourage more people to openly self-identify as nonbelievers.[14][15][16] Among the strategies is to get celebrities to come forward as openly secular. Videos have been posted by Penn & Teller, Bill Maher, NFL star Arian Foster, Julia Sweeney, John Davidson and others.[17]


In April 2015, RDFRS launched the Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science (TIES) to provide middle school teachers with workshops and free online tools to teach evolution and answer its critics. TIES is led by Bertha Vazquez, an award-winning middle school science teacher in Miami, FL.[18]

RDFRS also invests in creating, producing and influencing the development of entertainment products for general audiences that support secularism and fight scientific illiteracy.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Mission Statement for Both Charities - The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science". 2011-12-21. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  2. ^ Dawkins, Richard (2009). The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution. London: Bantam Press. ISBN 978-0-593-06173-2. 
  3. ^ Ledwig, Marion (2008). God's Rational Warriors. Ontos-Verlag. p. 76. ISBN 978-3-938793-87-9. 
  4. ^ Dawkins 2002 TED talk accessed 2010-04-14
  5. ^ "PewResearchCenter". 
  6. ^ "Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science". 
  7. ^ "Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science". 
  8. ^ "Our Mission". The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. Retrieved 2006-11-17. 
  9. ^ "Antievolution resolutions introduced in Oklahoma". National Center for Science Education. March 7, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  10. ^ "Dawkins lecture draws thousands at OU". Norman Transcript. March 7, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  11. ^ "Richard Dawkins at the University of Oklahoma - Introduction". Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. March 7, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  12. ^ "The Clergy Project". Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  13. ^ Winston, Kimberly (30 April 2012). "For clergy, lost faith can lead to lost family, jobs". The Washington Post. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  14. ^ "Announcing the Openly Secular coalition". 29 April 2014. 
  15. ^ Winston, Kimberly (2 May 2014). "New 'Openly Secular' group seeks to combat anti-atheist discrimination". Washington Post. 
  16. ^ Kumar, Anugrah (3 May 2014). "Atheist Groups Form New Coalition to Fight 'Discrimination'". Christian Post. 
  17. ^ "Openly Secular". 
  18. ^ "TIES". 

External links[edit]