Books 2010

Books 2009

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Monday, 17 August 2009


Jerry, In terms of evidence he called Madeleine Bunting an Ignoramus, he calls some other evolutionists as belonging to the 'Neville Chamerlain school of evolutionists'. He also said Rabbi Shumley Boteach shrieked like Hitler. We could go on. It's detailed in the book if you are intersted in a chapter called the Sword of Rhetoric.

Let me second Lindsay's comment about Gould and add to the list of civilised writers on careful science such luminaries as Murray Gell-Mann and Frank Close.

Sylvia - I slightly disagree only with your final comment - Gould is immensely civilized, a great scientist, a wonderful writer, and a best-seller! I'm sure you've read him, but just in case ...

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Well, I agree with Dawkins on evolution and religion, and I have often found him toe curlingly shrill and insensitive, but I guess this is all about individuals' personal taste as to what's acceptable. I see from recent articles and reviews of his latest book - pretty well received, even by those who haven't liked all his work - that he is moderating his approach. So maybe even he agrees he's been a bit over the top sometimes? None of that takes away from his brilliance as an evolutionist or a communicator.

This piece is yet another endorsement of the myth put about, mostly by faitheists, that Dawkins is "shrill", "violent", "partisan" etc. Please give examples, because I've been following his career very closely for many years now and have found him to be consistently polite, fair-minded, even-handed and reasonable. All he does, his only "sin", is to refuse to afford to religion the blind respect that it has traditionally been given. He holds it up to scrutiny, as a good scientist should.

Thanks for the review. I'll have to check this book out. I'm a biologist and a Catholic, and Dawkins drives me nuts both as a scientist and person of faith. I think he actually does harm to the cause of evolution by being such a jerk. He's not much of an advertisement for Humanism. Worst of all he sets an example that many are eagerly following. The last thing we need in this world is more animosity. Alas, having a civilized conversation based on careful science doesn't sell books or attract a devoted following.

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