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The Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins - review - Comments

fossil-fish's Avatar Comment 1 by fossil-fish

I am reading it and loving it. A real treasure as much for the images as the words. One of those books that will become a pleasure to own and keep. The grandchildren will even get a peek when I am finished.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 10:56:46 UTC | #873491

SomersetJohn's Avatar Comment 2 by SomersetJohn

The intended lesson of Dawkins's book is that science tells a marvellous set of experimentally testable stories. The less direct lesson may be that we cannot stop telling ourselves fables, but at least we should learn to tell the difference.

I would rather think we have no need to stop telling our fables, indeed our lives would be poorer if we did. Learning to tell the difference between myth and reality is indeed vital though.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 11:10:51 UTC | #873495

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 3 by Ignorant Amos

There is a price to be paid for a disarming manner. The reader may wonder whether you really have the ammunition and firepower needed to hold your ground.

I disagree with this comment, the book only whets the appetite for the young inquisitive mind to go find out the details in each chapter and in doing so, learning. The real ammunition and firepower will come later, once the youthful curiosity is set in motion. This book is all about lighting the spark of freethinking.....so let the fireworks begin, the show is going to be be spectacular.

This book is exciting, informative, beautifully written and tremendously well illustrated. There was a fight in this household as to who got first dibs....this big child won.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 11:39:29 UTC | #873503

Glenn Ashbrooke's Avatar Comment 4 by Glenn Ashbrooke

Dear Richard

Thank you for this brilliant & beautiful book which I will enjoy sharing with my family. Your relaxed and articulate style and the excellent illustrations make it more accessible to children...I feel more should be done to join art & science together as a way to attract more children who might not feel science is interesting and understandable.

Would be so lovely and educational for children if you were to consider making an educational film / documentary based on the book - so important to be able to get the message over to children.

Best wishes for the book

Glenn

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 11:54:12 UTC | #873509

some asshole's Avatar Comment 5 by some asshole

Comment 1 by fossil-fish :

I am reading it and loving it. A real treasure as much for the images as the words.

You're reading it? Amazon is telling me it's not to be released until October 4, 2011. Either you have an advance copy somehow, or you've achieved time travel.

Comment 6 by StephenH :

Yes, it was released in the Uk first... USA shortly

Ah, thank you.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 12:21:37 UTC | #873526

StephenH's Avatar Comment 6 by StephenH

Read it last weekend.

This book should hopefully be in every library / school / college library

It helps to equip younger people with an essential tool for the toolbox.

Once critical thinking skills are learnt... it's like a firewall for the mind

Protects people from various forms of con-trickery

Yes, it was released in the Uk first... USA shortly

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 12:32:19 UTC | #873530

Reginald's Avatar Comment 7 by Reginald

mb1mlw 21 September 2011 1:23PM hy does Richard Dawkins keep one simple truth from children,namley that Darwin did not originate the idea of natural selection?. He knows full well that Darwin and Wallace admitted that both William Charles Wells and Patrick Matthew originated the idea before them. Of the latter's contribution, Darwin said "He clearly saw, however, the full force of the principal of natural selection". Obviously, it is not just creationists who wish to keep children in the dark!

Professor Milton Wainwright at Dept Molecular Biology and Biotechnology,Sheffield University,UK."

From what I gather, Darwin and Wallace did not know of their work, and Wells and Matthew never developed it as did Darwin. Perhaps Dawkins does not mention them in order to avoid over- complicating the text for his child readers,-rather than some devious Machiavellian purpose? Perhaps he should have mentioned that the idea goes back to the ancient Greeks also; Empedocles I believe. (Maybe he did, I do not yet have the book.)

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 12:41:20 UTC | #873531

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 8 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 7 by Reginald

Nothing better to do? Trying to impress all here? What is your point?

Darwin is mentioned in the book while the others are not, because regardless of the contribution of others, it is Darwin who gets the prize for his extensive work on defining the theory with research and experiment and publishing said work. Anaximander, James Hutton and Edward Blyth among others have a claim to the fame too. The book is not a backslapping exercise, but an attempt to explain reality from myth.

(Maybe he did, I do not yet have the book.)

Maybe you should wait then.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 13:16:16 UTC | #873544

Reginald's Avatar Comment 9 by Reginald

  1. IGNORANT Amos

"Nothing better to do? Trying to impress all here? What is your point?"

My point is as I have written above; there were also other people, (like the Greeks) who also theorised about Evolution and Natural Selection,-as as you yourself have written, " Anaximander, James Hutton and Edward Blyth among others have a claim to the fame too",-and Dawkins does not mention them either. I transferred Prof Wainwright's comment into this section , as I am not subscribed to the Guardian comment section.

This seems to be a big problem for you. Are you always this rude?

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 13:38:27 UTC | #873553

Reginald's Avatar Comment 10 by Reginald

  1. IGNORANT Amos

"Maybe you should wait then".

Thank you for your concern. I am waiting. I have read all Prof Dawkins other books, this is next. I presume you have also?

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 13:42:15 UTC | #873554

SaganTheCat's Avatar Comment 11 by SaganTheCat

William Charles Wells and Patrick Matthew originated the idea before them.

for all we know any number of people could have had the idea in history.

Darwin did the work though

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 13:47:31 UTC | #873560

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 12 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 10 by Reginald

I presume you have also?

No, six out of the ten previous.....but I have read this one.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 13:53:04 UTC | #873563

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 13 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 9 by Reginald

The book is not a book on Evolution, space is limited and adding excess baggage will bore youngsters.

I genuinely was interested in the purpose of your comment.

This seems to be a big problem for you.

Yes it is, it matters not who had hat ideas about Evolution prior to Darwin, it is his explanation of the mechanism of natural selection which is the clincher....and what is important for the book, which you would understand if you'd waited to read it before comment.

Are you always this rude?

Pretty much so, it's my barrack room garishness, bit of a rough diamond and most people around here have gotten used to my uncouth dynamic. Now what about your bad manners?

I transferred Prof Wainwright's comment into this section , as I am not subscribed to the Guardian comment section.

If you are going to comment on these pages, it might be prudent to learn the etiquette of block quoting so as to avoid the confusion created above. By placing a "greater than" character as in >, immediately before intended quotation and on the very left hand side of the comments box, it will avoid attacks like that of mine when the quote attacking RD's sincerity looks like you might have made it.

So, it is with that in mind that I apologise for the curtness of my previous posts.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 14:14:00 UTC | #873571

some asshole's Avatar Comment 14 by some asshole

Comment 7 by Reginald : [W]hy does Richard Dawkins keep one simple truth from children,namley that Darwin did not originate the idea of natural selection?. ... Perhaps he should have mentioned that the idea goes back to the ancient Greeks also; Empedocles I believe.

My understanding is that the ancient Greeks postulated evolution, but not natural selection. That's a statement; not a question. I am not asking because I don't really care.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 14:23:08 UTC | #873576

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 15 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 7 by Reginald

mb1mlw 21 September 2011 1:23PM (W)hy does Richard Dawkins keep one simple truth from children,namley that Darwin did not originate the idea of natural selection?. He knows full well that Darwin and Wallace admitted that both William Charles Wells and Patrick Matthew originated the idea before them. Of the latter's contribution, Darwin said "He clearly saw, however, the full force of the principal of natural selection". Obviously, it is not just creationists who wish to keep children in the dark!

Professor Milton Wainwright at Dept Molecular Biology and Biotechnology,Sheffield University,UK."

From what I gather, Darwin and Wallace did not know of their work, and Wells and Matthew never developed it as did Darwin. Perhaps Dawkins does not mention them in order to avoid over- complicating the text for his child readers,-rather than some devious Machiavellian purpose? Perhaps he should have mentioned that the idea goes back to the ancient Greeks also; Empedocles I believe. (Maybe he did, I do not yet have the book.)

So as to avoid further confusion, I believe this is Reginald's original intention.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 14:40:32 UTC | #873583

alaskansee's Avatar Comment 16 by alaskansee

This is very exciting, I'm dashing out as soon as it reaches the great white north!

Plus Ignorant Amos has just shown me how to manually block quote;

By placing a "greater than" character as in >, immediately before intended quotation and on the very left hand side of the comments box...

I thank you! The button above doesn't work with Google Chrome.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 15:04:17 UTC | #873588

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 17 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 16 by alaskansee

I thank you! The button above doesn't work with Google Chrome.

I know, and you're more than welcome }80)~

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 15:16:32 UTC | #873593

Reginald's Avatar Comment 18 by Reginald

  1. Ignorant Amos " Now what about your bad manners?

I don't have bad manners. I thank you for information about blocking, and accept your apology.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 15:47:27 UTC | #873614

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 19 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 18 by Reginald

I don't have bad manners.

Outstanding.

I thank you for information about blocking, and accept your apology.

Your welcome, Sir.....truce?

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 16:04:02 UTC | #873620

Wake_Up's Avatar Comment 20 by Wake_Up

Can't wait!!

Hey Reginald and Ignorant Amos, calm down guys... :)

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 16:05:34 UTC | #873621

blitz442's Avatar Comment 21 by blitz442

Reginald

I think that you are right in that Empedocles proffered a weird form of natural selection whereby there were originally many strange assemblages of chimeric creatures (lions with 10 legs, fish with fur, etc.) and only those that were viable survived to present day. I am not sure if Empedocles believed that those viable forms could give rise to new forms, or if he understood or elucidated the importance of crucial features of natural selection such as strong inheritance or the high fecundity of organisms.

Clearly, the Greeks entertained some interesting ideas that far surpassed any contemporary creation myths. However, I think that you have to wait until the 19th century to get something that would be recognizable as natural selection. Patrick Matthew offered a version very close to that of Darwin's, and of course Wallace is rightly considered a co-discoverer.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 16:17:30 UTC | #873623

Zalvation's Avatar Comment 22 by Zalvation

Bought for my nine-year old grand-daughter's Xmas ...

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 16:58:10 UTC | #873635

Robert Howard's Avatar Comment 23 by Robert Howard

Anyone else notice that the Prof has an Apple laptop? I wonder if this is a legacy of his friendship with Douglas Adams, who was an advocate for this brand of computer.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 18:17:39 UTC | #873653

snail-12's Avatar Comment 24 by snail-12

At the very back of the book on the inside of the cover is a photograph of Prof. Dawkins on a red background, when i look at it i'm sure i can see devil-like horns. I'm not convinced that is how he wishes to be portrayed.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 18:47:54 UTC | #873659

Alex, adv. diab.'s Avatar Comment 25 by Alex, adv. diab.

Comment 23 by Robert Howard :

Anyone else notice that the Prof has an Apple laptop? I wonder if this is a legacy of his friendship with Douglas Adams, who was an advocate for this brand of computer.

Yeah, back in the day, when Apple was still cool for being uncool, and not yet evil... When men were real men, women were real women and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri.

sigh

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 19:46:09 UTC | #873685

SurfDude's Avatar Comment 26 by SurfDude

Some of the comments on the Guardian site are excellent and well-informed. I particularly like the one below from a poster called "YourGeneticDestiny" in response to "The scientific evidence supports the Bible's view and people shouldn't be so resistant to that." from another poster .....

Yes. Only the other day I was noting how the gravity, the special theory of relativity, the laws of thermodynamics, the Hubble redshift, cosmic background radiation, radiometric dating of lunar rocks, optical, infra-red, X ray and Gamma ray astronomy, spectroscopy, and mapping of HII regions, biogeographic correlation of the fossil records, morphological similarities between primates, connections between ontogeny and phylogeny and genomic analysis do, if nothing else, prove that a Jewish cosmic zombie, who was his own father can, if you telepathically accept him as your master and pseudosymbolically cannibalistic him, grant you the power of immortality and remove a taint in your soul that has been present in all mankind since the dawn of humanity because a rib-woman, on the advice of a talking serpent, made dinner from a magic tree.

Anyone who denies that is clearly barking mad.

+1

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 20:38:27 UTC | #873705

Sjoerd Westenborg's Avatar Comment 27 by Sjoerd Westenborg

Thanks SurfDude. You made my day!

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 21:23:35 UTC | #873722

alaskansee's Avatar Comment 28 by alaskansee

@ SurfDude

I'd love to be part of the newest evil empire but I'm still waiting for them to catch up to software I can use...

That's the trouble with actually needing a computer for work not just pretty stuff, hope they catch up soon ;-[

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 22:26:38 UTC | #873747

hypnoticbob's Avatar Comment 29 by hypnoticbob

Comment 25 by Alex, adv. diab. :

Comment 23 by Robert Howard :

Anyone else notice that the Prof has an Apple laptop? I wonder if this is a legacy of his friendship with Douglas Adams, who was an advocate for this brand of computer.

Yeah, back in the day, when Apple was still cool for being uncool, and not yet evil... When men were real men, women were real women and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri.

sigh

Your comment was very much appreciated. I agree with your sentiment.

[Removed by moderator to bring within Terms of Use]

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 22:32:51 UTC | #873750

blitz442's Avatar Comment 30 by blitz442

Comment Removed by Author

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 22:38:06 UTC | #873753