Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins?

I'm intruiged by Richard Dawkins new teenager-targetted 273 page book (released Sept 15th) which attempts to dispel the beautiful myths that humanity loves - aka the world's religions. Evolution he says is "more poetic than the bible" (so much for it being science then....)

Jeremy Paxman interviews him (from about 37mins onward) on Newsnight. He's persuaded that evolution tells a better story than the old stories we love... I'd have loved to have seen him debate with JRR Tolkein on Fairy Stories. He admits to being affected by Genesis, but wont believe its true... because only "stupid and ignorant people" would believe it... instead he says, believe the better story of science.

The best story should win - and will win - and shouldn't just be the best story but the truest story too - he's right about that. Now we can talk about both the quality of our explanatory stories and the evidence for them.

Further Reading: The Magic of Reality - Richard Dawkins - Amazon 
On Fairy Stories - JRR Tolkein - PDF

ps: the bit when you ask in your book where did the light come from before the sun in Genesis 1.... Richard, that'll be Jesus.


  1. I find Dawkins fascinating. He has written a book specifically designed to indoctrinate children with his own convictions - precisely the thing he violently opposes.

  2. Brilliant, so, nothing's really changed from Dawkins; 'believe me or you're stupid and ignorant.'

    Show me a teenager that's going to read a 273 page book!?

  3. @Charles - ah, but you see this kind of indoctrination is permitted in Dawkinsworld...

    @Ed - claims it was tested with 7-8 year olds who could handle it with help from teachers.

  4. I find it interesting that throughout Paxman pretty much assumes Dawkins basic point - that the bible and other religions are myths and that (Dawkins' brand of) scientific naturalism is fact.

    He is, of course, welcome to hold and promote his own views, but it undermines any case that what we're getting in Newsnight is unbiased or neutral (as if that were possible).

  5. Where's Martin Bashir when you need him...

  6. Bish,

    I love your answer to the question re the light. Nice one...


  7. One wonders if he can handle the end of the story too, when there's light after the sun too.