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

The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Richard Dawkins (Author)

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1,455328,971 (4.06)31
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.
Title:The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True
Authors:Richard Dawkins (Author)
Info:Free Press (2012), Edition: Reprint, 272 pages
Collections:Your library

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

  1. 00
    A Little History of Science by William Bynum (themulhern)
    themulhern: Both books are science books directed at a younger audience. While "A Little History of Science" is mostly descriptive, "The Magic of Reality" is persuasive, and hence more intellectually demanding. It is true that "The Magic of Reality" is not going to convert the anti-scientific, but it's going to help the scientific understand why they have reason to believe the things they do, which as John Stuart Mill pointed out in "On Liberty" is a very valuable sort of knowledge. So, I'ld say that "The Magic of Reality" is the stronger book, but "A Little History of Science" has more facts and history, and is therefore useful in that way.… (more)
  2. 00
    Astrophysics for Young People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson (themulhern)
    themulhern: Two famous authors of popular science try writing for children. Dawkins is much better, however, he never seems to be dumbing it down and he doesn't make the dumb jokes.
  3. 00
    Newton at the Center by Joy Hakim (themulhern)
    themulhern: Both books are about the process of science as well as the facts of science. Both are written for young adults but readily appreciated by fully mature adults.

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An elegant, text-only paperback edition of the New York Times bestseller that’s been hailed as the definitive authority on…everything.

Richard Dawkins, bestselling author and the world’s most celebrated evolutionary biologist, has spent his career elucidating the many wonders of science. Here, he takes a broader approach and uses his unrivaled explanatory powers to illuminate the ways in which the world really works. Filled with clever thought experiments and jaw-dropping facts, The Magic of Reality explains a stunningly wide range of natural phenomena: How old is the universe? Why do the continents look like disconnected pieces of a jigsaw puzzle? What causes tsunamis? Why are there so many kinds of plants and animals? Who was the first man, or woman? Starting with the magical, mythical explanations for the wonders of nature, Dawkins reveals the exhilarating scientific truths behind these occurrences. This is a page-turning detective story that not only mines all the sciences for its clues but primes the reader to think like a scientist as well.
Source: Publisher
  Shiseida.Aponte | Jun 24, 2020 |
To be sure, I need to be clear as to WHY I like this book. It's not like any of the science or reasoning in it is new or unusual, or that I haven't heard many similar reasonings here or there all the way from high school physics courses all the way to certain and strange movies I've enjoyed.

Why I do love this book is simple: it's clear, concise, and it does a very admirable job of setting up magical thinking in all its flavors against the fundamentals of science.

It's a great primer. I think I would have loved reading this when I was 13 or 14. It might have even sparked my interest in science even more than I had been sparked... but that might not be possible. Science Fiction did a perfectly admirable job in that department, with Heinlein and Asimov as my tutors.

Even so, apart from the things I've heard about of Dawkins, this is relatively mild in the religion bashing. He uses logic and reasoning, postulating clearly and setting up the universe as it is, not as we wish it would be. He also makes sure that Occam's Razor is quite sharp.

I certainly have no complaints about this book, assuming I wanted a basic primer, of course.

As for being an adult reading this? It's charming. It's somewhat magical in the sense that I draw a sense of wonder about the universe and our living within it. For that alone I would recommend it as a bit of light reading, assuming you're up to your science snuff. :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
This was a really great introduction to thinking like a scientist and a skeptic. Dawkins includes some mythology in every chapter as a contrast to the scientific explanation for what we know. Sometimes, his writing style was a bit odd and annoying (like when he throws in tidbits about what chameleon he owns), but overall this was a great read to reaffirm what we know and how we know it, as well as learn a few things as well. I'm excited to give it to my 9yo to see what she can make of it. ( )
  CraigTreptow | Dec 9, 2019 |
A high school level introduction to science and critical thinking. ( )
  fionaanne | Nov 20, 2019 |
As the subtitle says, "how we know what's really true" - this book is about exploring the scientific method and how we know the things we know. It explores several specific questions about the world, discussing first myths that have answered the question historically and then the scientific answer.

Intended as an educational tool aimed at children or teenagers, it's also fine for adults as an introduction to these concepts. The language is accessible but does come across as slightly condescending at times.

The book is richly illustrated on every page and is quite beautiful to look at, although I found the varying colour of text and background made it somewhat difficult to read - the text can change from black on white to white on black to black on yellow from one page to another. ( )
  adam.currey | Nov 10, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 32 (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 editionscalculated
McKean, DaveIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Clinton John Dawkins
O, my beloved father
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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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