Science in the Soul
Author: Richard Dawkins
Publisher: Random House
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
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.
Science in the Soul
Author: Richard Dawkins
Publisher: Bantam Press
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.
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.
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.
An Appetite for Wonder
Author: Richard Dawkins
Publisher: Harper Collins
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.
Author: Mark Ridley
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
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.
The Magic of Reality
Author: Richard Dawkins, Dave McKean
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
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.
A Devil's Chaplain
Author: Richard Dawkins
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).
Author: Antony Alumkal
Publisher: NYU Press
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.
The Moral Arc
Author: Michael Shermer
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Bestselling author Michael Shermer's exploration of science and morality that demonstrates how the scientific way of thinking has made people, and society as a whole, more moral From Galileo and Newton to Thomas Hobbes and Martin Luther King, Jr., thinkers throughout history have consciously employed scientific techniques to better understand the non-physical world. The Age of Reason and the Enlightenment led theorists to apply scientific reasoning to the non-scientific disciplines of politics, economics, and moral philosophy. Instead of relying on the woodcuts of dissected bodies in old medical texts, physicians opened bodies themselves to see what was there; instead of divining truth through the authority of an ancient holy book or philosophical treatise, people began to explore the book of nature for themselves through travel and exploration; instead of the supernatural belief in the divine right of kings, people employed a natural belief in the right of democracy. In The Moral Arc, Shermer will explain how abstract reasoning, rationality, empiricism, skepticism--scientific ways of thinking--have profoundly changed the way we perceive morality and, indeed, move us ever closer to a more just world.
Author: Christopher Hitchens
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
The seminal, uncollected essays—lauded as “dazzling” (The New York Times Book Review)—by the late Christopher Hitchens, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller God Is Not Great, showcase the notorious contrarian’s genius for rhetoric and his sharp rebukes to tyrants and the ill-informed everywhere. For more than forty years, Christopher Hitchens delivered essays to numerous publications on both sides of the Atlantic that were astonishingly wide-ranging and provocative. His death in December 2011 from esophageal cancer prematurely silenced a voice that was among the most admired of contemporary voices—writers, readers, pundits and critics the world over mourned his loss. At the time of his death, Hitchens left nearly 250,000 words of essays not yet published in book form. “Another great book of essays from a writer who we wish were still alive to produce more copy” (National Review), And Yet… ranges from the literary to the political and is a banquet of entertaining and instructive delights, including essays on Orwell, Lermontov, Chesterton, Fleming, Naipaul, Rushdie, Orhan Pamuk, and Dickens, among others, as well as his laugh-out-loud self-mocking “makeover.” The range and quality of Hitchens’s essays transcend the particular occasions for which they were originally written, yielding “a bounty of famous scalps, thunder-blasted targets, and a few love letters from the notorious provocateur-in-chief’s erudite and scathing assessments of American culture” (Vanity Fair). Often prescient, always pugnacious, formidably learned, Hitchens was a polemicist for the ages. With this posthumous volume, he remains, “America’s foremost rhetorical pugilist” (The Village Voice).
Climbing Mount Improbable
Author: Richard Dawkins
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
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.
With the assistance of Barry Karr and Ranjit Sandhu...this collection is timely, and welcome. -Skeptical Inquirer...provides a wide ranging overview of a complex and challenging topic of interest to many. -Australian Humanist. . . science and religion have been seeking common ground through ongoing dialogue. . . . this volume provide[s] a dimension to the conversation that has seldom been heard. . . . present[s] important and provocative voices too often drowned out. - Publishers WeeklyIn recent years a noticeable trend toward harmonizing the distinct worldviews of science and religion has become increasingly popular. Despite marked public interest, many leading scientists remain skeptical that there is much common ground between scientific knowledge and religious belief. Indeed, they are often antagonistic. Can an accommodation be reached after centuries of conflict?In this stimulating collection of articles on the subject, Paul Kurtz, with the assistance of Barry Karr and Ranjit Sandhu, have assembled the thoughts of scientists from various disciplines. Among the distinguished contributors are Sir Arthur C. Clarke (author of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and numerous other works of science fiction); Nobel Prize Laureate Steven Weinberg (professor of physics at the University of Texas at Austin); Neil deGrasse Tyson (Princeton University astrophysicist and director of the Hayden Planetarium); James Lovelock (creator of the Gaia hypothesis); Kendrick Frazier (editor of the Skeptical Inquirer); Steven Pinker (professor of psychology at MIT); Richard Dawkins (zoologist at Oxford University); Eugenie Scott (physical anthropologist and executive director of the National Center for Science Education); Owen Gingerich (professor of astronomy at Harvard University); Martin Gardner (prolific popular science writer); the late Richard Feynman (Nobel Prize-winning physicist) and Stephen Jay Gould (professor of geology at Harvard University); and many other eminent scientists and scholars.Among the topics discussed are the Big Bang and the origin of the universe, intelligent design and creationism versus evolution, the nature of the soul, near-death experiences, communication with the dead, why people do or do not believe in God, and the relationship between religion and ethics.Paul Kurtz (Amherst, NY), professor emeritus of philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo, is president of the International Academy of Humanism and is one of the leading spokespersons for Secular Humanism today. He is the author or editor of over thirty-five books, including Embracing the Power of Humanism (Rowman & Littlefield) and The Courage to Become (Praeger/Greenwood).
The Blind Watchmaker
Author: Richard Dawkins
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Clarifies the seemingly implausible aspects of Darwin's theory, drawing on the famous watch comparison argued by William Paley, the eighteenth-century theologian