Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion, and the Appetite for Wonder

Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion, and the Appetite for Wonder

by Richard Dawkins

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780618056736
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 04/28/2000
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 454,986
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.82(d)

About the Author

RICHARD DAWKINS taught zoology at the University of California at Berkeley and at Oxford University and is now the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford, a position he has held since 1995. Among his previous books are The Ancestor’s Tale, The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, Climbing Mount Improbable, Unweaving the Rainbow, and A Devil’s Chaplain. Dawkins lives in Oxford with his wife, the actress and artist Lalla Ward.

Read an Excerpt

We can get outside the universe. I mean in a sense of putting a model of the universe inside our skulls. Not a superstitious, small-minded, parochial model, filled with ghosts and hobgoblins, magic and spirits. A big model, worthy of the reality that regulates, updates, and tempers it. A powerful model capable of running on into the future and making accurate predictions of our destiny and that of our world. We are alone among animals in foreseeing our end. We are also alone in being able to say, before we die: Yes, this is why it was worth coming to life in the first place.

Table of Contents

Title Page,
Table of Contents,
Copyright,
Dedication,
Preface,
The Anaesthetic of Familiarity,
Drawing Room of Dukes,
Barcodes in the Stars,
Barcodes on the Air,
Barcodes at the Bar,
Hoodwink'd with Faery Fancy,
Unweaving the Uncanny,
Huge Cloudy Symbols of a High Romance,
The Selfish Cooperator,
The Genetic Book of the Dead,
Reweaving the World,
The Balloon of the Mind,
Selected Bibliography,
Index,
About the Author,
Footnotes,

Customer Reviews

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Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Joshua Hartung More than 1 year ago
Proof that one need not tap into the ' mystical', to find an even larger appreciation of the ' world around us'.
Calatelpe More than 1 year ago
As stated in the book, Isaac Newton had been criticized for destroying the beauty of the rainbow by removing its mystery...by unweaving it. Richard Dawkins strikes back at this notion, claiming that greater beauty, and greater appreciation for that beauty, is found in understanding, not ignorance. The world becomes more wonderful for knowing how it works, not less. He even points out so many things that unweaving the rainbow lead to...that we can to "see" more than just the visible spectrum of light, using the unseen to our advantage and beauty. Music is transmitted through the air via radio waves, for instance. The ultimate conclusion of this book is that, while the processes of science might be dispassionate (and rightfully so), but what comes from it is an increased sense of wonder and joy.
milti on LibraryThing 25 days ago
A lot of sense, a lot of wit, and a new way of looking at things. However I will say that he tends to get stuck on one point for a number of chapters. His arguments are too random at times and take a bit of back-and-forth hopping to follow.
undemalum on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Though at times this book can be somewhat redundant, the overall message, themes, and various explanations of complex scientific inquiries packaged for the reader into palatable paragraphs makes Dawkins' writing well worth the read.
m.gilbert on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Dawkins is one of those Oxford profs who wags his finger at anyone who doesn't completely embrace empiricism and common sense. Actually, I don't mind that--he's part of that old intellectual tradition after all. I remember reading Hobbes' Leviathan in college where he says "Metaphors, and senseless and ambiguous words are like ignes fatui" or "foolish light". Dawkins quotes Hobbes but doesn't go quite that far (thank God). His thesis is that science can be as full of beauty and wonder as poetry, and that unraveling a scientific mystery does not necessarily de-mystify the "poetry" of its intricacies. He is very good in some areas (towards the end where he shares his remarkable scholarship in biology, zoology, and evolution), and irritating in others (where he rants against bogus ideologies that misappropriate science to validate certain "truths"). He calls that "bad poetic science." I am still not clear about what he means by "good poetic science." Anyway, Dawkins is my favorite atheist, but this isn't his best work. Whether he succeeds in proving that science evokes the same awe and wonder as art (in the traditional sense) is open to debate. But the man shows a real faith is reason--if that makes sense--and his writing, always clear and very, very smart, expresses his ever-constant devotion to the scientific cause.
Devil_llama on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Dawkins sets out to answer the common complaint that science takes the beauty out of everything. For the most part, he succeeds, but one chapter, on DNA, is far too technical for a book aimed at a lay audience. To be fair, however, he does instruct people in the introduction to skip that chapter if they wish.
06nwingert on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Richard Dawkins does it again!. In another bestselling science book, Dawkins shows how science can brings wonders to one's eyes and can be beneficial for the world. He also shows that science can-- and is-- hacked by frauds, distorting science into pseudo-science.
ecmanaut on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Dawkins sets out to convey the beauty of discovering, understanding and conveying truth in nature and mechanism, and succeeds beyond my already high expectations. The part on what he calls "good poetry" and "bad poetry" (on basis not of how strung together words flow and feel -- but on whether they help you reach correct and deeper insights, and the extent it keeps you from jumping to incorrect, misguided conclusions) about choices of metaphor, is particularly insightful: does the author's ego, writing style and pet peeves take center stage, or the reader's easy and accurate grasp on (and mastery of) the content of their topic win?
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AcadianBob More than 1 year ago
Science is beautiful and enlightening. This book helps you see why.
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B3B More than 1 year ago
I found that this book had some very interesting facts, which made me want keep reading. But I also saw Dawkins complaining a lot of the time. When he just put raw facts in there that is when I enjoyed it the most, but when he started taking sides on subjects it was less enjoyable. He seemed almost contradicting with some of his statements. He told you to think for yourself, but then told you what to think in other parts. I give this book a 3/5. Nerds like me would enjoy it, but his rants are a definite turn off.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Et fitana!!!