Science in the Soul: Selected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist
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
"[Dawkins] is a thunderously gifted science writer" -- Oliver Moody * The Times * "One of the best non-fiction writers alive today" * Steven Pinker * "The illumination of Dawkins' incisive thinking on the intellectual world extends far beyond biology. What a treat to see so clearly how matter and meaning fit together, from fiction to philosophy to molecular biology, all in one unified vision!' Daniel C. Dennett" * Daniel C. Dennett * "In this golden age of enlightened science writing it is stunning that no scientist has ever won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Pulitzer Prizes, yes, but it is time literature's highest award be granted to a scientist whose writings have changed not just science but society. No living scientist is more deserving of such recognition than Richard Dawkins, whose every book reflects his literary genius and scientific substance. Science in the Soul is the perfect embodiment of Nobel quality literature."" -- Michael Shermer, Publisher Skeptic magazine, columnist Scientific American, author The Moral Arc and Heavens on Earth "I thank Thor and Zeus that in their infinite wisdom they chose to make the great wordsmith of our age a great rationalist and vice versa." -- Matt Ridley, author of The Rational Optimist and The Evolution of Everything "A writer of tremendous clarity and force...in full polemical flight, Dawkins is a marvel." -- Kevin Powers * Sunday Business Post * "This Dawkins is a dangerous guy. Like Marx. Or Darwin." * W. Daniel Hillis * "The most influential man of reason...intellectually rigorous to a fault." -- Oliver Thring * Sunday Times News Review * "With his latest book, `Science in the Soul', Richard Dawkins continues the legacy of Carl Sagan, though of course, in a more combative mode... Richard Dawkins is one of the best science popularisers of our times. He is also an eminent evolutionary biologist... All the articles in this compilation are ultimately soul-elevating in the sense that they emphasise the importance of reason and spirit of science in approaching many of the problems which we may think as being outside the realm of science or domains where inducing a hostility to a scientific approach is possible.... Dawkins is an extraordinarily talented author and persuader ...Dawkins also comes across in this collection of essays as a warm rational scientist who is interestingly so open to the innocent human fascination for the grandeur of nature." -- Aravindan Neelakandan * Swarajya Magazine * "Dawkins at his most delicious. These are some of the finest treasures of non-fiction you'll find anywhere" * Derren Brown * "Now, more than ever, public intellectual scientists like Dawkins are needed to counter the forces of faith, fiction, and farce dominating our so-called "post-fact" society. The Oxford University professor is the embodiment of the concept of the public intellectual" -- Iain Ellis * www.popmatters.com *
Richard Dawkins first catapulted to fame with his iconic work The Selfish Gene (1976) which he followed with a string of prestigious books, including The Blind Watchmaker, Climbing Mount Improbable, The God Delusion, a previous anthology A Devil's Chaplain (2003) and two volumes of autobiography, An Appetite for Wonder (2013) and Brief Candle in the Dark (2015). He is a Fellow of both the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Literature and the recipient of numerous honours and awards. He remains a fellow of New College, Oxford. In 2013, Dawkins was voted the world's top thinker in Prospect magazine's poll of 10,000 readers from over 100 countries.