Customer Review

44 of 56 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A worthy goal... unfulfilled, 6 Jun. 2004
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder (Penguin Press Science) (Paperback)
Dawkins tends to set up a dialectic in his books - its always science versus religion and if I had to choose a side I would be on the former whole heartedly which I feel I should make clear first of all.
The idea of this book is to show that there is more wonder in the reality of science than there is in mysticism and delusion. I believe in that wholeheartedly as do most scientists I imagine. The problem is Dawkins intolerance of antiscientific views is not an embracing philosophy but an exclusionist one that makes books such as this difficult. The frequent quotes from romantic poets such as Blake and Keats does little to turn the text in to much of a symphony. There is much of interest here. The discussion of skinner boxes and pigeon behaviour are informative and incredibly amusing. If you see someone doing something odd because he thinks its lucky and will make his favourite team win - you cant call him brainless - he is at least as intelligent as a pigeon (but maybe not much more so)
Sadly it also becomes apparent that although Dawkins knows a fair amount of physics it is not his forte. He is a biologist and seems out of his depth talking about quantum mechanics and particle physics. Now that is not to say that what Dawkins tries to do is impossible, Carl Sagan does it marvellously and books such as Pale Blue Dot and Cosmos do what Dawkins attempts here.
There is a lot of interesting information here but the recurrence of poets and their poetry only distracts from the science. Dawkins has been so long on the defensive regarding evolution and defending science against irrationality ('intelligent design' for example) that he is left eminently unsuitable for an embracing, populist view of the wonder of science. A humorous book which does exactly such a thing is the 'Can Reindeer Fly' subtitled the science of Christmas by Roger Highfield. The science of Star Trek by Krauss does the same sort of thing for the sci-fi fans.
A noble effort from Dawkins but its best to stick to his insightful and fascinating explorations of neodarwinism such as the selfish gene, climbing mount improbable etc. Worth reading, but the book does not seem to accomplish its goals. There is much wonder in science but look for a less angry author to reveal it to you.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

Reviewer


Location: Portsmouth, Hampshire

Top Reviewer Ranking: 27,340