By Chet Yarbrough
By: Richard Dawkins
Narrated by: Richard Dawkins, Lalla Ward
“The Magic of Reality” introduces science to children and adults that wish to see the world as a place of wondrous events and boundless opportunity. Richard Dawkins is an unrepentant atheist but his writing and presentation does not convince one of a Godless universe.
“The Magic of Reality” is not a debate about science or second coming. Dawkins de-mythologizes the hypocritical beliefs of those who insist on the literal truth of the Bible and infers a challenge to those who believe in the reliability of organized religion. Dawkins fails to convince one that God does not exist but he believes most of humankind is fooled by an emotive mind.
“The Magic of Reality” journeys through time to explain how humans became human and how earth, as a spec of sand on an endless desert, is a haven for humankind and a laboratory of the past and future.
Dawkins writes about tales from ancient cultures, like the Sumerians that told a story, similar to Noah’s Ark. about the great flood nearly 4000 years before Christ was born. The telling of these ancient myths show how magical stories are repeated as realities in future generations. This is not to suggest that great floods did not occur in history but it illustrates how many religious myths become reality through repetition and association; i.e. a myth begins with recalled facts of an event; they get told and re-told with added, sometimes distorted, pieces of information that are folded into religious texts to become God’s “truth”.
“The Magic of Reality” tells the story of the incredible evolution of mankind and the development of science. Dawkins offers a thought experiment of a human being reviewing photographs of his past grandfathers. The pile of photos is estimated to be three miles high; a pile that ends with a photograph of a fish, the original grandfather of humankind.
Dawkins explains how Charles Darwin discovers evolution and species development in the Galapagos Islands, based on natural selection which reinforces physical changes that ensure species adaptation for survival. Dawkins recounts genetic experiments of Gregor Mendel and Watson and Crick’s discovery of DNA; both of which, reinforce Darwin’s seminal research.
“The Magic of Reality’s” explanations of science range from the miniscule to the gigantic with the examples of slicing pure gold into smaller and smaller pieces–to building a gigantic gun that shoots projectiles into space. Dawkins explains science with the gold and gun stories to clarify and vivify the make-up of matter and exploration of space–
Dawkins does for general science what Richard Feynman is said to do for Physics, i.e. he makes complex theories simple to understand. Dawkins’ interspersion of apocryphal stories enliven practices and theories of real science; i.e. science’s methods and results are explained in simple language.
Dawkins shows that mankind seeks nature’s truth through science because without science there is no future. The species, Homo sapiens, is capable of escaping extinction but only through continued exploration of science; i.e. species evolution alone is not enough.
Dawkins notes that our sun will become so hot in two billion years that life, as we know it, will be over.
ATTACK OF THE SUN:<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/fMUHkz5nx8g” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>
Another possibility, suggested by Neil deGrasse Tyson, is that life may end with an asteroid collision.
ASTEROID COLLISION WITH EARTH :<iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/yYgEwXWilUc” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>
THE GEOLOGICAL PAST & FUTURE OF EARTH:<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/uGcDed4xVD4” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>
Should we wait for the Bible’s “second coming” or should we plan for a future on some other planet? Dawkins book is an excellent introduction to science; not a refutation of God.