A "defense of science and clear thinking [in a] career-spanning collection of essays, including twenty pieces published in the United States for the first time"--Amazon.com.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The legendary biologist and bestselling author mounts a timely and passionate defense of science and clear thinking with this career-spanning collection of essays, including twenty pieces published in the United States for the first time. For decades, Richard Dawkins has been a brilliant scientific communicator, consistently illuminating the wonders of nature and attacking faulty logic. Science in the Soul brings together forty-two essays, polemics, and paeans—all written with Dawkins’s characteristic erudition, remorseless wit, and unjaded awe of the natural world. Though it spans three decades, this book couldn’t be more timely or more urgent. Elected officials have opened the floodgates to prejudices that have for half a century been unacceptable or at least undercover. In a passionate introduction, Dawkins calls on us to insist that reason take center stage and that gut feelings, even when they don’t represent the stirred dark waters of xenophobia, misogyny, or other blind prejudice, should stay out of the voting booth. And in the essays themselves, newly annotated by the author, he investigates a number of issues, including the importance of empirical evidence, and decries bad science, religion in the schools, and climate-change deniers. Dawkins has equal ardor for “the sacred truth of nature” and renders here with typical virtuosity the glories and complexities of the natural world. Woven into an exploration of the vastness of geological time, for instance, is the peculiar history of the giant tortoises and the sea turtles—whose journeys between water and land tell us a deeper story about evolution. At this moment, when so many highly placed people still question the fact of evolution, Dawkins asks what Darwin would make of his own legacy—“a mixture of exhilaration and exasperation”—and celebrates science as possessing many of religion’s virtues—“explanation, consolation, and uplift”—without its detriments of superstition and prejudice. In a world grown irrational and hostile to facts, Science in the Soul is an essential collection by an indispensable author. Praise for Science in the Soul “Compelling . . . rendered in gloriously spiky and opinionated prose . . . [Dawkins is] one of the great science popularizers of the last half-century.”—The Christian Science Monitor “Dawkins is a ferocious polemicist, a defender of reason and enemy of superstition.”—John Horgan, Scientific American
Richard Dawkins - author of The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, and The God Delusion - is one of science's greatest communicators. This anthology of more than forty pieces is a kaleidoscopic argument for the power and the glory of science. Breathtaking, brilliant and passionate, these essays, journalism, lectures and letters make an unanswerable case for the wonder of scientific discovery and its power to stir the imagination; for the practical necessity of scientific endeavour to society; and for the importance of the scientific way of thinking - particularly in today's 'post-truth' world. With an introduction and new commentary by the author, subjects range from evolution and Darwinian natural selection to the role of scientist as prophet, whether science is itself a religion, the probability of alien life in other worlds, and the beauties, cruelties and oddities of earthly life in this one. Alongside the explications, the celebrations and the controversies are wonderfully funny ventures into satire and parody, and moving personal reflections in memory and honour of others. Science in the Soul is a sparkling showcase for Professor Dawkins' rapier wit, the clarity, precision and vigour he brings to an argument, the beauty of his prose, the depth of his feeling and his capacity for joy.
In this hugely entertaining sequel to the New York Times bestselling memoir An Appetite for Wonder, Richard Dawkins delves deeply into his intellectual life spent kick-starting new conversations about science, culture, and religion and writing yet another of the most audacious and widely read books of the twentieth century—The God Delusion. Called “one of the best nonfiction writers alive today” (Stephen Pinker) and a “prize-fighter” (Nature), Richard Dawkins cheerfully, mischievously, looks back on a lifetime of tireless intellectual adventure and engagement. Exploring the halls of intellectual inquiry and stardom he encountered after the publication of his seminal work, The Selfish Gene; affectionately lampooning the world of academia, publishing, and television; and studding the pages with funny stories about the great men and women he’s known, Dawkins offers a candid look at the events and ideas that encouraged him to shift his attention to the intersection of culture, religion, and science. He also invites the reader to look more closely at the brilliant succession of ten influential books that grew naturally out of his busy life, highlighting the ideas that connect them and excavating their origins. On the publication of his tenth book, the smash hit, The God Delusion, a “resounding trumpet blast for truth” (Matt Ridley), Richard Dawkins was catapulted from mere intellectual stardom into a circle of celebrity thinkers dubbed, “The New Atheists”—including Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett. Throughout A Brief Candle in the Dark, Dawkins shares with us his infectious sense of wonder at the natural world, his enjoyment of the absurdities of human interaction, and his bracing awareness of life’s brevity: all of which have made a deep imprint on our culture.
With the 2006 publication of The God Delusion, the name Richard Dawkins became a byword for ruthless skepticism and "brilliant, impassioned, articulate, impolite" debate (San Francisco Chronicle). his first memoir offers a more personal view. His first book, The Selfish Gene, caused a seismic shift in the study of biology by proffering the gene-centered view of evolution. It was also in this book that Dawkins coined the term meme, a unit of cultural evolution, which has itself become a mainstay in contemporary culture. In An Appetite for Wonder, Richard Dawkins shares a rare view into his early life, his intellectual awakening at Oxford, and his path to writing The Selfish Gene. He paints a vivid picture of his idyllic childhood in colonial Africa, peppered with sketches of his colorful ancestors, charming parents, and the peculiarities of colonial life right after World War II. At boarding school, despite a near-religious encounter with an Elvis record, he began his career as a skeptic by refusing to kneel for prayer in chapel. Despite some inspired teaching throughout primary and secondary school, it was only when he got to Oxford that his intellectual curiosity took full flight. Arriving at Oxford in 1959, when undergraduates "left Elvis behind" for Bach or the Modern Jazz Quartet, Dawkins began to study zoology and was introduced to some of the university's legendary mentors as well as its tutorial system. It's to this unique educational system that Dawkins credits his awakening, as it invited young people to become scholars by encouraging them to pose rigorous questions and scour the library for the latest research rather than textbook "teaching to" any kind of test. His career as a fellow and lecturer at Oxford took an unexpected turn when, in 1973, a serious strike in Britain caused prolonged electricity cuts, and he was forced to pause his computer-based research. Provoked by the then widespread misunderstanding of natural selection known as "group selection" and inspired by the work of William Hamilton, Robert Trivers, and John Maynard Smith, he began to write a book he called, jokingly, "my bestseller." It was, of course, The Selfish Gene. Here, for the first time, is an intimate memoir of the childhood and intellectual development of the evolutionary biologist and world-famous atheist, and the story of how he came to write what is widely held to be one of the most important books of the twentieth century.
A brilliant book celebrating improbability as the engine that drives life, by the acclaimed author of The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker. The human eye is so complex and works so precisely that surely, one might believe, its current shape and function must be the product of design. How could such an intricate object have come about by chance? Tackling this subject—in writing that the New York Times called "a masterpiece"—Richard Dawkins builds a carefully reasoned and lovingly illustrated argument for evolutionary adaptation as the mechanism for life on earth. The metaphor of Mount Improbable represents the combination of perfection and improbability that is epitomized in the seemingly "designed" complexity of living things. Dawkins skillfully guides the reader on a breathtaking journey through the mountain's passes and up its many peaks to demonstrate that following the improbable path to perfection takes time. Evocative illustrations accompany Dawkins's eloquent descriptions of extraordinary adaptations such as the teeming populations of figs, the intricate silken world of spiders, and the evolution of wings on the bodies of flightless animals. And through it all runs the thread of DNA, the molecule of life, responsible for its own destiny on an unending pilgrimage through time. Climbing Mount Improbable is a book of great impact and skill, written by the most prominent Darwinian of our age.
An anthology of diverse and inspiring pieces to browse and to treasure. It shows the many of the best scientists have displayed as much imagination and skill with the pen as in the laboratory.
The best-selling author of The God Delusion and the artist of such award-winning graphic novels as Wizard and Glass address key scientific questions previously explained by rich mythologies, from the evolution of the first humans and the life cycle of stars to the principles of a rainbow and the origins of the universe. 150,000 first printing.
From the New York Times–bestselling author of Science in the Soul. “If any recent writing about science is poetic, it is this” (The Wall Street Journal). Did Newton “unweave the rainbow” by reducing it to its prismatic colors, as Keats contended? Did he, in other words, diminish beauty? Far from it, says acclaimed scientist Richard Dawkins; Newton’s unweaving is the key too much of modern astronomy and to the breathtaking poetry of modern cosmology. Mysteries don’t lose their poetry because they are solved: the solution often is more beautiful than the puzzle, uncovering deeper mysteries. With the wit, insight, and spellbinding prose that have made him a bestselling author, Dawkins takes up the most important and compelling topics in modern science, from astronomy and genetics to language and virtual reality, combining them in a landmark statement of the human appetite for wonder. This is the book Richard Dawkins was meant to write: a brilliant assessment of what science is (and isn’t), a tribute to science not because it is useful but because it is uplifting. “A love letter to science, an attempt to counter the perception that science is cold and devoid of aesthetic sensibility . . . Rich with metaphor, passionate arguments, wry humor, colorful examples, and unexpected connections, Dawkins’ prose can be mesmerizing.” —San Francisco Chronicle “Brilliance and wit.” —The New Yorker
Clarifies the seemingly implausible aspects of Darwin's theory, drawing on the famous watch comparison argued by William Paley, the eighteenth-century theologian
An ethologist shows man to be a gene machine whose world is one of savage competition and deceit
How much do you know about the radiation all around you? Your electronic devices swarm with it; the sun bathes you in it. It's zooming at you from cell towers, microwave ovens, CT scans, mammogram machines, nuclear power plants, deep space, even the walls of your basement. You cannot see, hear, smell or feel it, but there is never a single second when it is not flying through your body. Too much of it will kill you, but without it you wouldn't live a year. From beloved popular science writer Bob Berman, ZAPPED tells the story of all the light we cannot see, tracing infrared, microwaves, ultraviolet, X-rays, gamma rays, radio waves and other forms of radiation from their historic, world-altering discoveries in the 19th century to their central role in our modern way of life, setting the record straight on health costs (and benefits) and exploring the consequences of our newest technologies. Lively, informative, and packed with fun facts and "eureka moments," ZAPPED will delight anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding of our world.
Traces scholarly thought from the nineteenth-century birth of evolutionary biology to the mapping of the human genome through forty-eight essays, arranged in chronological order, each preceded by a one-page essay that explains the significance of the chosen work.
This sparkling collection explores the impact of Richard Dawkins as scientist, rationalist, and one of the most important thinkers alive today. Specially commissioned pieces by leading figures in science, philosophy, literature, and the media, such as Daniel C. Dennett, Matt Ridley, Steven Pinker, Philip Pullman, and the Bishop of Oxford, highlight the breadth and range of Dawkins' influence on modern science and culture, from the gene's eye view of evolution to his energetic engagement in public debates on science, rationalism, and religion. The volume includes personal reminiscences and critical debate as well as accessible discussions of science - it provides a stimulating tribute to a remarkable intellectual.
Essays on morality, mortality, and much more from the New York Times–bestselling author of The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion. This early collection of essays from renowned evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins is an enthusiastic declaration, a testament to the power of rigorous scientific examination to reveal the wonders of the world. In these essays, Dawkins revisits the meme, the unit of cultural information that he named and wrote about in his groundbreaking work, The Selfish Gene. Here also are moving tributes to friends and colleagues, including a eulogy for novelist Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; correspondence with fellow biologist Stephen Jay Gould; commentary on the events of 9/11; and visits with the famed paleoanthropologists Richard and Meave Leakey at their African wildlife preserve. Ending with a vivid note to Dawkins’s ten-year-old daughter, reminding her to remain curious, ask questions, and live the examined life, A Devil’s Chaplain is a fascinating read by “a man of firm opinions, which he expresses with clarity and punch” (Scientific American).
In The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins crystallized the gene's eye view of evolution developed by W.D. Hamilton and others. The book provoked widespread and heated debate. Written in part as a response, The Extended Phenotype gave a deeper clarification of the central concept of the gene as theunit of selection; but it did much more besides. In it, Dawkins extended the gene's eye view to argue that the genes that sit within an organism have an influence that reaches out beyond the visible traits in that body - the phenotype - to the wider environment, which can include other individuals.So, for instance, the genes of the beaver drive it to gather twigs to produce the substantial physical structure of a dam; and the genes of the cuckoo chick produce effects that manipulate the behaviour of the host bird, making it nurture the intruder as one of its own. This notion of the extendedphenotype has proved to be highly influential in the way we understand evolution and the natural world. It represents a key scientific contribution to evolutionary biology, and it continues to play an important role in research in the life sciences.The Extended Phenotype is a conceptually deep book that forms important reading for biologists and students. But Dawkins' clear exposition is accessible to all who are prepared to put in a little effort.Oxford Landmark Science books are 'must-read' classics of modern science writing which have crystallized big ideas, and shaped the way we think.
Explores the Christian Right’s fierce opposition to science, explaining how and why its leaders came to see scientific truths as their enemy For decades, the Christian Right’s high-profile clashes with science have made national headlines. From attempts to insert intelligent design creationism into public schools to climate change denial, efforts to “cure” gay people through conversion therapy, and opposition to stem cell research, the Christian Right has battled against science. How did this hostility begin and, more importantly, why has it endured? Antony Alumkal provides a comprehensive background on the war on science—how it developed and why it will continue to endure. Drawing upon Richard Hofstadter’s influential 1965 essay “The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” Antony Alumkal argues that the Christian Right adopts a similar paranoid style in their approach to science. Alumkal demonstrates that Christian Right leaders see conspiracies within the scientific establishment, with scientists not only peddling fraudulent information, but actively concealing their true motives from the American public and threatening to destroy the moral foundation of society. By rejecting science, Christian Right leaders create their own alternative reality, one that does not challenge their literal reading of the Bible. While Alumkal recognizes the many evangelicals who oppose the Christian Right’s agenda, he also highlights the consequences of the war on reality—both for the evangelical community and the broader American public. A compelling glimpse into the heart of the Christian Right’s anti-science agenda, Paranoid Science is a must-read for those who hope to understand the Christian Right’s battle against science, and for the scientists and educators who wish to stop it.
How did the replication bomb we call ”life” begin and where in the world, or rather, in the universe, is it heading? Writing with characteristic wit and an ability to clarify complex phenomena (the New York Times described his style as ”the sort of science writing that makes the reader feel like a genius”), Richard Dawkins confronts this ancient mystery.
Looks at the history of faith healers, describes tricks used to convince people of their paranormal abilities, and explains how many leading television evangelists victimize their believers
What words come to mind when we think of God? Merciful? Just? Compassionate? Delving deep into the Bible, former evangelical preacher Dan Barker uncovers God's negative qualities: jealous, petty, unforgiving, bloodthirsty, vindictive--and worse! Witty and well researched, this unique atheist book explains exactly why the Scripture shouldn't govern our everyday lives. It makes a powerful argument for the separation of church and state.