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The first collection of essays from renowned scientist and best-selling author Richard Dawkins. Richard Dawkins's essays are an enthusiastic testament to the power of rigorous, scientific examination, and they span many different corners of his personal and professional life. He revisits the meme, the unit of cultural information that he named and wrote about in his groundbreaking work The Selfish Gene. He makes moving tributes to friends and colleagues, including a eulogy for novelist Douglas Adams; he shares correspondence with the evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould; and he visits with the famed paleoanthropologists Richard and Maeve Leakey at their African wildlife preserve.

He concludes the essays with a vivid note to his ten-year-old daughter, reminding her to remain curious, to ask questions, and to live the examined life. Richard Dawkins has an opinion on everything biological, it seems, and in A Devil's Chaplain , everything is biological. Dawkins weighs in on topics as diverse as ape rights, jury trials, religion, and education, all examined through the lens of natural selection and evolution.

Although many of these essays have been published elsewhere, this book is something of a greatest-hits compilation, reprinting many of Dawkins' most famous recent compositions. They are well worth re-reading. His review of Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont's Fashionable Nonsense is as bracing an indictment of academic obscurantism as the book it covered, although the review reveals some of Dawkins' personal biases as well. Several essays are devoted to skillfully debunking religion and mysticism, and these are likely to raise the hackles of even casual believers.

Science, and more specifically evolutionary science, underlies each essay, giving readers a glimpse into the last several years' debates about the minutiae of natural selection. In one moving piece, Dawkins reflects on his late rival Stephen Jay Gould's magnum opus , The Structure of Evolutionary Theory , and clarifies what it was the two Darwinist heavyweights actually disagreed about.

While the collection showcases Dawkins' brilliance and intellectual sparkle, it brings up as many questions as it answers. As an ever-ardent champion of science, honest discourse, and rational debate, Dawkins will obviously relish the challenge of answering them. Visit Seller's Storefront. If I've mischaracterized a book, please let me know, and I'm happy to accept returns for refunds. Orders usually ship within three business days. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem.

Return to Book Page. He revisits the meme, the unit of cultural information that he named and wrote about in his groundb The first collection of essays from renowned scientist and best-selling author Richard Dawkins. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published October 27th by Mariner Books first published More Details Original Title. Richard Dawkins' essay collections 1. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

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More filters. Sort order. Jun 12, Michelle rated it it was amazing. A Devil's Chaplain is an excellent collection of Dawkin's writing, ranging across the topics of genetics, memetics, pseudoscience, religion, terrorism and the nature of life itself. This is a field trip through Dawkin's mind, including letters to the prime minister, introductions to the books of others, and pieces that have appeared in popular print. His eulogy for his good friend Douglas Adams is particularly touching, and no less so is his treatment of his late rival, Stephen Jay Gould.

But th A Devil's Chaplain is an excellent collection of Dawkin's writing, ranging across the topics of genetics, memetics, pseudoscience, religion, terrorism and the nature of life itself. But the best is saved for last, with his incredible piece entitled A Prayer for my Daughter, in which he tries to prepare his young child for the world of deception that lies ahead, and arm her against it.

This is the quintessential introduction to Dawkins, and shows that he is more than just an outspoken advocate of humanism and reason - he is a loyal friend, an attentive father, a loving husband, and when the ocassion calls for it, a fierce champion for the truth.

If you have never read Dawkins before, I would highly recommend that this is where you start. May 23, Mary Storm rated it it was amazing. The essay on Postmodernism is a delightful skewering of that pretentious twaddle dished out in so many social science departments. Sep 26, Hellen rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction , a-theology , evolution , science.

Okay, this review is going to be a little about the book as a whole and a lot about an irritation about one of Dawkins' habits. First off, the good stuff. It was heart warming to see how Dawkins' passion, which so often is expressed in a stern vo Okay, this review is going to be a little about the book as a whole and a lot about an irritation about one of Dawkins' habits.

It was heart warming to see how Dawkins' passion, which so often is expressed in a stern voice towards religion, creationists and apologists, translates into equally powerful warmth when speaking about people he respects.


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The format was nice, though the content is nothing new really if you've read all of Dawkins books before, or even just a few. It can be very disappointing when someone you respect opposes your own views. It is even more disappointing however, when your ideals and opinions are being portrayed a certain way; not just unflattering, but simply falsely.

I'm referring to the following fragment, which is the sole reference Dawkins uses to categorize feminism as a relativism in the chapter 'What is True? These 'subjectivist' women see the methods of logic, analysis and abstraction as 'alien territory belonging to men' and 'value intuition as a safer and more fruitful approach to truth. I don't doubt that are feminists who believe such things, same as that I don't doubt there are atheists who have irrational ideas about other things than religion, but to present a single quote with such thankfully!

A Devil's Chaplain : Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science, and Love - olagynulehyb.gq

The misrepresentation is not all of it. The source used, at the time of publication of A Devil's Chaplain is at the time of publication already a nearly 35 year old book first published in , probably only used because of the religious term in the title "Professing Feminism" , which nota bene is a book written by feminist scholars who try to distantiate the academic feminism from the nonsense in women's studies they've come across, which is totally admirable note also how the students referred to in the quote are not even called feminists.

Another point of criticism of the choice of just this quote is that the quote isn't just not representable, but also against what many feminist scholars strive for. Yes, there is in part the promoting of the female representation in history, which was up till recently largely absent, similar to accounts from poorer classes and other races, and there's also the earning respect for feminine not necessarily female!

These goals are however more prominent in older waves of feminism. In more modern times, you see the cutting loose of human qualities from their "masculine" and "feminine" labels, to make them accessible for everyone e. I'm sure that I am biased as I work in academia not women's studies - by the way, is it even still called women's studies..?

A DEVIL'S CHAPLAIN: Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science, and Love

And as an atheist reading this book, retracting rationality from me is pretty much as grave an insult as they come. Later in the book, there's another exotic quotation presented in a context where sure, it is just quoted from a "feminist 'philosopher'" and mentioned in the company of other apparently "feminist truths" they were news to me such as Newton's Principia being a rape manual? Whereas men have sex organs that portrude and become rigid, women have openings that leak menstrual blood and vaginal fluids From this perspective it is no wonder that science has not been able to arrive at a successful model for turbulence.

The problem of turbulent flow cannot be solved because the conceptions of fluids and of women have been formulated so as necessarily to leave unarticulated remainders. This is not a matter of cutting off unpopular limbs to distantiate myself from those that are exposed to criticism, but basically what happened here is the equivalent of a Christian lumping all atheists together with Hitler, or using a church bulletin distributed within a village with inhabitants in some edge of the world as a source for the definition of Christian beliefs.

Criticism against feminism, totally fine. But do it in the same thorough way as you treat anything else you're looking at critically; thorough, use representative sources, no cherry picking, and report transparently. And really, there's no room for that in Dawkins' work. So either stick to atheism or write a book dedicated to criticizing feminist theory.

And I think we all agree we'd prefer him to spend his precious time on his own fields, where he's of the greatest value. Sep 12, Arun Divakar rated it really liked it. A retired senior bureaucrat from the Kerala administrative service had once written a column about how people are being exploited in the name of their beliefs.

The book is a collection of his essays that give us a glimpse into his mind which is tuned to the voices of science and reason and is quick to point out the illogical and idiotic things that one encounters in life. The essays in the book cover a lot of ground with genetics, evolution and general science making a lot of appearances. Dawkins does not hold his fire when he deals with creationist theories, quacks and alternate medicine. There is a scathing essay in which he makes mincemeat out of alternate medicine. There are also reviews of books, eulogies and the occasional autobiographical piece in here.

Two of the articles are really outstanding. This article is not well thought through, it is not elaborate and neither is it objective.

It is a knee jerk reaction from a man who has lost a dear friend and colleague and hence it is a very touching piece in an otherwise dispassionate book. It is a candid observation on the nature of beliefs and how much a rational mind can help you in understanding the world better. He does not bash religion and beliefs all that brutally here but tells his daughter to make an informed choice when she feels equipped for it. Unlike his other articles, he does not elucidate things to a great extent and sticks to a bare bones evaluation of thought processes that might help an adult live a no-nonsense life.

Jul 05, David rated it it was amazing. This collection of essays, written before Professor Dawkins succumbed to the pomposity that is sadly so often an accompaniment to fame, and started to confuse intellect with wisdom, is one of my favorites. Most of the thirty or so essays in the book display the charm, erudition, and clarity of exposition that are characteristic of his earlier work, though some of the pieces dealing with religion prefigure his subsequent descent into shrillness and condescension.

The tone of the final essay, "A P This collection of essays, written before Professor Dawkins succumbed to the pomposity that is sadly so often an accompaniment to fame, and started to confuse intellect with wisdom, is one of my favorites. The tone of the final essay, "A Prayer for my Daughter" Good and Bad Reasons for Believing is blessedly free of any hint of shrillness, however. His eulogy to Douglas Adams is particularly affecting, but if I had to pick a favorite, it would probably be the hilarious skewering of the pomo set in "Postmodernism Disrobed".

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An easy target, granted, but Professor Dawkins's demolition job is masterful. Mar 02, Jon rated it it was ok. I prefer it when Dawkins sticks to the science and leaves out the philosophy, not because I think he's so incorrect, but because I think his arrogance distracts from his correctness. Sep 19, Philip rated it it was amazing.

Some excellent essays. A touch too close to being a bit racist here and there, but perhaps that was inaccuracy of language. For the first time I think I actually understand something about evolution. He cited the fact that if you compare two books, there will be a lot of common letters and the figure would suggest similarity. But if you were to compare them sentence by sentence, they would probably share only a tiny Some excellent essays. But if you were to compare them sentence by sentence, they would probably share only a tiny fraction of commonality.

After many hundreds of thousands of years during which human cooperation in agriculture, shared civilisation and eventually technological change has transformed the success rate of the species, why are qualities of cooperation, constancy or intellect now not also included in the factors that influence natural selection? Perhaps they are.

Maybe I should read late Darwin. The idea that atheists just go one God further was also a point well made. Many of us would admit to being atheists when it comes to Mithras, Zeus, Thor, etc etc. Of all the Gods, most people who claim not to be atheists probably only admit a belief in one and thus reject thousands of other. The point about cloning and identical twins was made a few too many times, I think, but then it was a collection of essays.

Book: A Devil's Chaplain: Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science, and Love

As you would expect, this is a stimulating sets of essays, reviews and recollections from evolution's finest advocate. As an introduction to the theory of evolution, its impact on the other sciences and the necessarily complications for dogmatic thinking in other fields it has created through the ages - and still does - it is first class. His short shrift with 'Intelligent Design' and 'Alternative Medicine' is delightfully to the point.

Many of the pieces, though, show a more 'human' side Dawkin As you would expect, this is a stimulating sets of essays, reviews and recollections from evolution's finest advocate. Many of the pieces, though, show a more 'human' side Dawkins as father, friend or pupil rather than scientist , and it these that make the collection much more than a pop-science anthology. His eulogies, letters and forewords reveal that his ongoing fight to see "Darwin Triumphant" is not a matter of intellectual ego, academic oneupmanship or institution-bashing. The fight is about our freedom to choose a life for ourselves.

The book started out ok, with several good essays. The final chapters with the book reviews and eulogies is mostly the reason why the rating is so low. The last chapter, a prayer for my daughter is recommended reading. All in all, not the best book by Richard. I prefer his science books. Aug 04, Jim Razinha rated it really liked it. Richard Dawkins more often than not is labeled arrogant, whther in print, in lecture or in person. Having read, listened and talked to Dawkins, I would be hard pressed to argue the contrary. Nevertheless, I still like him and what he has to say, even if I don't understand everything.

He can be wittily entertaining and maddeningly academic, but never boring. Dawkins grouped his essays into six actually seven sections and provides a foreword to each, explaining his choices for inclusion. He examines the relativity of truth as related to perspective, with science as the only real truth. He looks at the human ape family tree, ethics in genetic studies, relates his experiences as a jury member prompting me to rethink the jury concept.