He definitely has a temper, though. When he starts talking about Nadia Eweida, the Christian recently denied permission to openly wear a cross by her employer British Airways, his cheeks are positively puce.
"I saw a picture of this woman," Dawkins says. "She had one of the most stupid faces I've ever seen. She actually said, 'Christians should be allowed to work for British Airways."'
He continues, face reddening: "Well, of course, Christians are sodding well allowed to work for British Airways. It's got nothing to do with it. She is clearly too stupid to see the difference between somebody who wears a cross and somebody who is a Christian."
All of a sudden it seems possible that as much as Dawkins believes religion is the natural foe of science, a part of him just isn't keen on religious types themselves. Could he ever respect a believer?
"Oh yes," he says breezily, "because there's such an enormous spectrum of people who call themselves religious, some of whom don't really believe in God at all."
So there you have it. Dawkins doesn't mind religious people so long as they don't believe in God. Should his first concern as a scientist really be to snarl about religion?