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

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HMH, Oct 27, 2004 - Science - 272 pages
Essays on morality, mortality, and much more from the New York Times–bestselling author of The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion.

This early collection of essays from renowned evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins is an enthusiastic declaration, a testament to the power of rigorous scientific examination to reveal the wonders of the world.
 
In these essays, Dawkins revisits the meme, the unit of cultural information that he named and wrote about in his groundbreaking work, The Selfish Gene. Here also are moving tributes to friends and colleagues, including a eulogy for novelist Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; correspondence with fellow biologist Stephen Jay Gould; commentary on the events of 9/11; and visits with the famed paleoanthropologists Richard and Meave Leakey at their African wildlife preserve.
 
Ending with a vivid note to Dawkins’s ten-year-old daughter, reminding her to remain curious, ask questions, and live the examined life, A Devil’s Chaplain is a fascinating read by “a man of firm opinions, which he expresses with clarity and punch” (Scientific American).
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - satyridae - LibraryThing

It would no doubt discomfit Dawkins to know that I revere the words he writes with an almost religious zeal. I love his belligerence, I love his conviction, I love his passion. And I believe he's ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - HadriantheBlind - LibraryThing

Delightfully stimulating essays about a good variety of topics. Some (justified!) distrust of relativism and pseudoscience, but also tender loving parts and waxing philosophical about science, his friends, and family. Read full review

Contents

1 Science and Sensibility
5
2 Light Will Be Thrown
61
3 The Infected Mind
117
4 They Told Me Heraclitus
163
5 Even the Ranks of Tuscany
187
6 There is All Africa and her Prodigies in Us
223
7 A Prayer for My Daughter
241
Endnotes
249
Index
256
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Page 13 - There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.
Page 10 - Let us understand, once for all, that the ethical progress of society depends, not on imitating the cosmic process, still less in running away from it, but in combating it.
Page 18 - Science is, I believe, nothing but trained and organized common sense, differing from the latter only as a veteran may differ from a raw recruit : and its methods differ from those of common sense only so far as the guardsman's cut and thrust differ from the manner in which a savage wields his club.

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About the author (2004)

Richard Dawkins taught zoology at the University of California, Berkeley, and at Oxford University. He was the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford until 2008, a position he founded in 1995. Among Dawkins’s books are The Ancestor’s Tale, The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, Climbing Mount Improbable, Unweaving the Rainbow, and A Devil’s Chaplain. He lives in Oxford with his wife, actress and artist Lalla Ward.

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