A Devil's Chaplain: Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science, and by Richard Dawkins PDF

By Richard Dawkins

ISBN-10: 0618335404

ISBN-13: 9780618335404

Some of the most well known evolutionary biologists at paintings this day, Richard Dawkins has written passionately for years on matters that subject deeply to him - and topic urgently to we all. A Devil's Chaplain brings jointly the simplest and such a lot provocative of his essays, on topics starting from evolution to ethics, from trip to literature, from schooling to faith. the result's an interesting portrait of 1 of the best minds in science.

With eloquence and energy, those essays recommend Dawkins's such a lot basic axiom: search fact. He speaks out opposed to pseudoscience and deftly dissects faith and mysticism. In a strong letter to his ten-year-old daughter, he argues for the need of basing any trust on stable proof. And he doesn't shrink back from skewering the loftiest associations, no matter if judicial or academic. "To hell with . . . your fact-stuffed syllabuses and your unending roster of exams," he publicizes with clean directness. He writes infectiously of his awe on the outstanding complexity of the universe, will pay relocating tribute to pricey pals and priceless colleagues, and tenderly remembers his boyhood in Africa. Uncompromising, even ruthless as Dawkins famously is whilst protecting clinical fact and cause, this assortment additionally exhibits a gentler, extra contemplative aspect which could shock his many readers.

Here we meet the fundamental Richard Dawkins: inspirational in either his dependable cognizance to rationalism and his abiding passions.

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Additional resources for A Devil's Chaplain: Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science, and Love

Sample text

My head is 18 centimetres in diameter. To 45 SCIENCE AND SENSIBILITY keep to scale, my nearest neighbours in the crystalline parade would have to be standing more than a kilometre away. No wonder the tiny particles called neutrinos (even smaller than electrons) pass right through the earth and come out the other side as if it wasn't there. But if solid things are mostly empty space, why don't we see them as empty space? Why does a diamond feel hard and solid instead of crumbly and full of holes?

If you walked up the line like an inspecting general - past Homo erectus, Homo habilis, perhaps Australopithecus afarensis - and down again the other side (the intermediates on the chimpanzee side are unnamed because, as it happens, no fossils have been found), you would nowhere find any sharp discontinuity. Daughters would resemble mothers just as much (or as little) as they always do. Mothers would love daughters, and feel affinity with them, just as they always do. And this hand-in-hand continuum, joining us seamlessly to chimpanzees, is so short that it barely makes it past the hinterland of Africa, the mother continent.

Or twelve? Too expensive, at least if each jury has twelve members. Two juries of six members, or three juries of four members, would probably be an improvement over the present system. But isn't there some way of 40 TRIAL BY JURY testing the relative merits of such alternative options, or of comparing the merits of trial by jury versus trial by judge? Yes, there is. I'll call it the Two Verdicts Concordance Test. It is based on the principle that, if a decision is valid, two independent shots at making it should yield the same result.

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A Devil's Chaplain: Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science, and Love by Richard Dawkins


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