Evoluntionary biologist Richard Dawkins has reacted to Donald Trump’s shock election victory by urging his fellow scientists to move to New Zealand.
He called on the country to offer British and American academics citizenship following the “catastrophes” both countries had suffered at the hands of “uneducated, anti-intellectual” voters.
Scientific American published Mr Dawkins' plea as part of a wider reaction piece about Tuesday's US election result which sent shockwaves around the world with Republican outsider Mr Trump beating the poll-favourite Hillary Clinton in the race to the White House.
“Science in both countries will be hit extremely hard: in the one case, by the xenophobically inspired severing of painstakingly built-up relationships with European partners; in the other case by the election of an unqualified, narcissistic, misogynistic sick joke as president. In neither case is the disaster going to be short-lived: in America because of the non-retirement rule of the Supreme Court; in Britain because Brexit is irreversible,” he wrote.
“There are top scientists in America and Britain – talented, creative people, desperate to escape the redneck bigotry of their home countries. Dear New Zealand, you are a deeply civilized small nation, with a low population in a pair of beautiful, spacious islands. You care about climate change, the future of the planet and other scientifically important issues.”
He continued to urge New Zealand to offer refuge to the scientific community, saying “you could make New Zealand the Athens of the modern world".
“Why not write to all the Nobel Prize winners in Britain and America, write to the Fields medalists, Kyoto and Crafoord Prize and International Cosmos Prize winners, the Fellows of the Royal Society, the elite scientists in the National Academy of Sciences, the Fellows of the British Academy and similar bodies in America. Offer them citizenship,” he wrote.
“The contribution that creative intellectuals can make to the prosperity and cultural life of a nation is out of all proportion to their numbers. You could make New Zealand the Athens of the modern world.”
However he accepted that his plea would likely go unheard calling it an “unrealistic, surreal pipe dream”.
Mr Dawkins, a prominent atheist, is known for fuelling controversy online, often from his own Twitter profile.
In January, he had his invitation to speak at a science conference withdrawn after he shared a "highly offensive" video linking radical feminism to radical Islamism.
Read Richard Dawkins’ letter pubished in full here.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies