Richard Dawkins wants NZ to be a refuge for scientists


Renowned scientist and atheist Richard Dawkins has reached out to New Zealand, asking the country to embrace scientists who feel uneasy about the political climate in the United States and United Kingdom.

Mr Dawkins penned an open letter to New Zealand following the election of Donald Trump as US President, and Brexit in the UK.

He is an outspoken public intellectual, known for his books The God Delusion and The Selfish Gene, and is said to have coined the word 'meme.'

In an extract of the letter in the Scientific American, which asked scientists to weigh in on the election of Trump, Mr Dawkins says the US and UK have suffered from the "uneducated, anti-intellectual portion of voters" and believes that science will be "hit extremely hard" by Brexit and Trump.

He calls Brexit "the xenophobically inspired severing of painstakingly built-up relationships with European partners" and says Trump is "an unqualified, narcissistic, misogynistic sick joke".

Mr Dawkins says New Zealand is "a deeply civilised small nation, with a low population in a pair of beautiful, spacious islands" who "care about climate change, the future of the planet and other scientifically important issues".

He says New Zealand should invite Nobel Prize winners and elite scientists to come and take refuge here: "You could make New Zealand the Athens of the modern world".