- (Photo: The Thinking Atheist Youtube video)
Atheist author and biologist Richard Dawkins, who was Prospect magazine's "world's top thinker" last year, has not been nominated for the title this year. Pope Francis, meanwhile, was nominated.
The magazine compiles a list of individuals they identify as "engaging most originally and profoundly with the central questions of the world today" and asks people from around the world to vote on the nominees.
In 2013, Dawkins was chosen as the "world's top thinker" following a poll of 10,000 voices from over 100 countries.
"When Richard Dawkins, the Oxford evolutionary biologist, coined the term 'meme' in The Selfish Gene 37 years ago, he can't have anticipated its current popularity as a word to describe internet fads," Prospect Magazine said at the time, explaining his popularity.
"But this is only one of the ways in which he thrives as an intellectual in the internet age. He is also prolific on Twitter, with more than half a million followers – and his success in this poll attests to his popularity online. He uses this platform to attack his old foe, religion, and to promote science and rationalism."
Dawkins has not even been included in this year's list of nominees. Pope Francis, along with a host of philosophers, economists, and writers, are in the running. Voting closes at midnight on April 11.
The Roman Catholic leader has been making headline news around the world during his one year of leadership as he has spoken out strongly against what he described as a "tyrannical" economic system, and the treatment of poor and forgotten people by society as a whole.
"How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?" Francis asked in his 50,000-word "apostolic exhortation" last November.
"This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless."
Francis has also been praised by some LGBT groups for his approach and attitude toward the gay community, famously telling reporters in 2013: "If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?"
He has been named person of the year by The Advocate, America's oldest LGBT magazine, though he has made no indication that he will be changing church doctrine.