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The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's…

The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True (2011)

by Richard Dawkins, Dave McKean (Illustrator)

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8121711,220 (4.04)27



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This is the fourth book of Richard Dawkins that I have read - God Delusion, Blind Watchmaker, Selfish Gene and now Magic of Reality.

There is one thing common in all these four books (something tells me you can include other books to this list as well) - he encourages an attitude to think on your own.

Coming to this book, there were some parts of the book that I felt were obvious and not new while I read through it. But that probably is because I have read quite a few books on Evolution, Universe and other Science-related issues. Though they were a repetition for me, I definitely liked the way the author put them in words. A few years ago I picked up the book The Energy of Life - Guy Brown just for general reading purposes, but it in turn spawned an insatiable interest in me to know the how/what/why of things. This book has the potential to do the same.

There are many chapters of the book that I like, but the one that stands out for me was the part where they talk about how the Immune system works and it's impact on the body.

I recommend this book for anyone. ( )
  nmarun | Mar 11, 2014 |
An ok book aimed at teenagers. No great depth, but an ok read. ( )
  PIER50 | May 4, 2013 |
This book had beautiful, absolutely amazing illustrations and good explanations for a variety of scientific and natural phenomena. I loved reading it. ( )
  g33kgrrl | Apr 13, 2013 |
I'm not entirely sure why I still read Dawkins' work. I think he's an extremely intelligent person, of course, and I've enjoyed reading books that focus on science by him -- I love The Ancestor's Tale, for example. But I hate the way that he cannot stop poking at religion, and I expected to hate it even more in a book called The Magic of Reality.

Actually, he's more respectful than usual. It all seems rather toned down, since it's aimed at a younger audience than his other books (which is somewhat insulting in itself; I read and understood The Ancestor's Tale perfectly at the age of thirteen, and this book is aimed at 'ages twelve and up', I'm told). It can come across as condescending, though I rather appreciated the parts where he admits he doesn't know everything. It is accessible, for people of any age and any level of knowledge about science, covering basic topics like why we have seasons and what earthquakes are. It's quite enjoyable to read even though I don't think I learnt anything new, because it clarified things and connected ideas.

He is, of course, scathing about religion and dismissive of any belief in the supernatural, but if you're planning to read Dawkins, you probably know that already. ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
This book is aimed at teens, I guess, but while the science seems to be at the appropriate level, its discursive and rhetorical style are probably going to go over their heads. Dawkins' approach is to present mythical explanations for natural phenomena, followed by our current scientific understanding of what's really going on—the reality which is, in his terms, even more "magical" and wonderful than the myth. I'm dismayed that our supposedly advanced civilizations, particularly the US, are still so blindered by religion that such a book seems necessary and appropriate, but even so I think it would be best to put the dismantling of religious stories as secondary to the explanation of scientific realities: any teen who is going to encounter this book with an open mind will already be receptive to Dawkins' ideas, while anyone who actually believes any of the religious or mythic stories is going to be put on the defensive by Dawkins' attack.

I guess this is the same problem even non-religious people have with other facets of the "New Atheism": it gets in your face as an idea whose truth requires the falsehood of competing explanations—and, however great your disagreement, getting in someone's face like that is just poor manners. The Magic of Reality is only very slightly boorish in that way, but I think it would have been a better and more wonder-full book if it hadn't addressed myths and religions at all, and just presented the "magic" of our scientific understanding of the world. ( )
  localcharacter | Apr 2, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
as Richard Dawkins confirms again and again in this book – his first for "a family audience" – science composes stories as thrilling as Homer, as profound as Job, and as entertaining as anything by Kipling.
added by mikeg2 | editThe Guardian, Tim Radford (Sep 21, 2011)

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Richard Dawkinsprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
McKean, DaveIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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The author of "The God delusion" addresses 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.

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