A Devil's Chaplain: Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science, and - download pdf or read online

By Richard Dawkins

ISBN-10: 0618335404

ISBN-13: 9780618335404

Essentially the most popular evolutionary biologists at paintings at the present time, Richard Dawkins has written passionately for years on topics that subject deeply to him - and subject urgently to we all. A Devil's Chaplain brings jointly the easiest and so much provocative of his essays, on matters 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 vigour, those essays recommend Dawkins's so much 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 reliable proof. And he doesn't shrink back from skewering the loftiest associations, even if judicial or academic. "To hell with . . . your fact-stuffed syllabuses and your never-ending roster of exams," he announces with clean directness. He writes infectiously of his awe on the great complexity of the universe, will pay relocating tribute to pricey buddies and important colleagues, and tenderly remembers his boyhood in Africa. Uncompromising, even ruthless as Dawkins famously is while protecting clinical fact and cause, this assortment additionally exhibits a gentler, extra contemplative aspect that could shock his many readers.

Here we meet the fundamental Richard Dawkins: inspirational in either his loyal awareness 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

If two geneticists are summoned to the stand and are asked to estimate the probability of a misidentification with DNA evidence, the first may say 1,000,000 to one while the second may say only 100,000 to one. Pounce. 'Aha! AHA! The experts disagree! Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, what confidence can we place in a scientific method, if the experts themselves can't get within a factor of ten of one another? ' But... any disagreement... is only over whether the odds against a wrongful identification are hyper-mega-astronomical, or just plain astronomical.

But isn't it all - crystal ball gazing, star signs, birth stones, ley-lines and the rest - just a bit of harmless fun? If people want to believe in garbage like astrology, or crystal healing, why not let them? But it's so sad to think about all that they are missing. There is so much wonder in real science. The universe is mysterious enough to need no help from warlocks, shamans and 'psychic' tricksters. These are at best a soulsapping distraction. At worst they are dangerous profiteers. The real world, properly understood in the scientific way, is deeply beautiful and unfailingly interesting.

Putting a quartz crystal in it will have no additional effect. In *And, by the way, the next time you visit an 'alternative' therapist who claims to be 'balancing your energy fields', challenge them to say what they mean. The answer will be absolutely nothing. 42 CRYSTALLINE TRUTH A N D CRYSTAL BALLS particular, no amount of 'visualizing' of coloured light will change the composition of either the crystal or the water. Pseudoscientific drivel like this is a disturbingly prominent part of the culture of our age.

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


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