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Richard Dawkins, bestselling author and the world’s most celebrated evolutionary biologist, has spent his career elucidating the many wonders of science. Here, he takes a broader approach and uses his unrivaled explanatory powers to illuminate the ways in which the world really works. Filled with clever thought experiments and jaw-dropping facts, The Magic of Reality explains a stunningly wide range of natural phenomena: How old is the universe? Why do the continents look like disconnected pieces of a jigsaw puzzle? What causes tsunamis? Why are there so many kinds of plants and animals? Who was the first man, or woman? Starting with the magical, mythical explanations for the wonders of nature, Dawkins reveals the exhilarating scientific truths behind these occurrences. This is a page-turning detective story that not only mines all the sciences for its clues but primes the reader to think like a scientist as well.

Topics: Illustrated, Evolution, Popular Science, Mythology, Spirituality , Philosophical, Informative, Natural Disasters, First Person Narration, British Author, Male Author, and 21st Century

Published: Free Press on Sep 11, 2012
ISBN: 9781451690132
List price: $13.99
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Una mirada a lo mágico de la realidad a través de la ciencia. Algunos de los conceptos son muy básicos, sin embargo están muy bien explicados de forma que no es difícil entender. read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Interesting and good descriptions of ideas. read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Famous evolutionary biologist Dawkins teams up with well-known illustrator Dave McKean to examine many of the most fundamental questions in science including why the seasons occur, whether life on other planets is possible, what are the building blocks of matter, and how evolution really works. Dawkins presents many of these ideas from a religious or mythological perspective first before delving into the real science. His writing is straightforward enough for most pre-teens or teens to grasp the concepts he’s presenting, but not so simplistic that average adults will feel that Dawkins is talking down to them. McKean’s illustrations, beautiful and complex as always, do a wonderful job of both explicating the concepts Dawkins is presenting and also demonstrating Dawkins’ central theme: that scientific truth is beautiful and magical enough on its own without any need for mythical or supernatural trappings.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A year or so ago; right-wing nutjob Bill O'Reilly, amidst one of his bizarre tirades, pretty much admitted to being utterly clueless as to the state of science and assumed his followers were as clueless as he. And judging by the imbeciles his party has trotted forth since Bush Sr. became a one-termer; probably few of them have notice. Meanwhile, the rest of us got a great laugh at his expense. When he claimed that the tides were unknowable, even children who know better must have been rolling on the floor in laughter.The Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins seems like it was written for the likes of Bill O'Reilly. By and large, modern scientists have reacted to the rise of right-wing sponsored ignorance by ignoring it...and just ask NASA....that's not working too well for us. And us is a growing collective -- it's not just American anti-intellectual fundamentalists gaining ground, but to a lesser extent, those in Great Britain and Europe as well. Between growing fundamentalist influence and a corresponding lack of science education, millions are functionally illiterate when it comes to science. And that has grown to a dangerous number, jeopardizing the future of humanity in the process.Dawkins suggests that scientifically vetted theories and truths are every bit as "magical" as mystical explanations offered by Creationists and other loony anti-intellectuals. He appeals to the romance of science, of the wonder of discovering truths, or at least viable theories that fit truths as we now know them. Sometimes he ventures beyond his particular areas of expertise -- admitting that he doesn't fully understand what he is about to relate. This is in the rarefied air that is quantum physics; few truly understand and even those who attempt to popularize it (such as Stephan Hawking) don't often succeed. Fortunately, such mea culpas are few and far between -- Dawkins speaks from a position of strength throughout most of the book.Those familiar with Dawkins other work might not gain anything new from this book, but probably knows someone who ought to read it. And those of us inclined to take up the banner of science over fantasy might still find some persuasive arguments aimed at a more general audience (Dawkins last book on evolution was a little too intellectual to appeal to those who needed most to understand it, I think). For someone like myself who has been fighting the good fight, it's nice to have some weapons in the arsenal that are less polarizing from the get-go.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This book had beautiful, absolutely amazing illustrations and good explanations for a variety of scientific and natural phenomena. I loved reading it.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This book may have its flaws, but it breaks new ground. It is written for mature children and addresses the question of why to believe the scientific facts that we have been taught. There are interesting thought experiments, like the one where we put the photographs of our ancestors on an enormous bookshelf.It is overt in its anti-religiosity. This makes it fit very well with Richard Dawins' previous efforts and I appreciate that he has chosen to reach out to children in this way. I believe that I would have found even greater value in this book as a child than I have as an adult.In some places it is very English as in the discussions of Christmas pantomime or the play "Where the Rainbow Ends". I enjoy cultural differences and enjoyed them as a child, so this statement is not a criticism.The reading by Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward is quite pleasant.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I'm not entirely sure why I still read Dawkins' work. I think he's an extremely intelligent person, of course, and I've enjoyed reading books that focus on science by him -- I love The Ancestor's Tale, for example. But I hate the way that he cannot stop poking at religion, and I expected to hate it even more in a book called The Magic of Reality.

Actually, he's more respectful than usual. It all seems rather toned down, since it's aimed at a younger audience than his other books (which is somewhat insulting in itself; I read and understood The Ancestor's Tale perfectly at the age of thirteen, and this book is aimed at 'ages twelve and up', I'm told). It can come across as condescending, though I rather appreciated the parts where he admits he doesn't know everything. It is accessible, for people of any age and any level of knowledge about science, covering basic topics like why we have seasons and what earthquakes are. It's quite enjoyable to read even though I don't think I learnt anything new, because it clarified things and connected ideas.

He is, of course, scathing about religion and dismissive of any belief in the supernatural, but if you're planning to read Dawkins, you probably know that already.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Lots of big color pictures and graphs. I'm not sure who the target audience is.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Richard Dawkins is a biologist, but he also loves writing books about evolution, science and atheism. In this case, he's writing in a lighter style, obviously targetted at a younger audience. He gives religion equal treatment to other myths and legends and, while this might be upsetting to some people, I think he does a good job at not being too pushy. He takes popular myths, gives a bit of background about them, especially rationalizing why people tended to believe in them and then explains the phenomena and why they are just myths and not reality. The science is good, although sometimes his explanations are a bit convoluted (especially because he's trying to keep it simple and not use too many complicated terms or notions) - which is ok for me as a grown-up. I have a feeling certain parts of the book would bore a young reader or confuse them, but this book is ideally read by a parent together with the kids so that things can be explained when they get too confusing.Overall a great read and highly recommended for those wanting a "lighter" Dawkins experience. (I'm still slowly working through his [The Selfish Gene] book on genetics).read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Overall a fascinating read on a fascinating subject. The book is formatted in like a coffee table book fashion with colorful graphics on each page. After reading the book I was a bit surprised that the book was recommended as a good read to introduce young people to science. Not being a young person myself I still got the message, the science is explained in generally simplistic terms.The point of the book is to try an enlighten on how superstition and oops, religious myth has shaped beliefs on matters to this day that science can and does explain readily. Blasphemous to true believers of course. As is all too apparent belief systems trump reality in many instances. So the book reinforces those who choose to see reality for what it is and believers in myth and fantasy to continue to do so despite the evidence. And life goes on.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The intended audience of this book is teenagers with some grounding in science. Dawkins considers a range of basic scientific issues - the Big Bang, rainbows etc. For each topic he starts with the legends, myths or religious stories that provide an "explanation" for the issue, and then follows with the actual scientific explanation. In each case he is at pains to highlight the "magic" of the real story, and how it outshines, in every sense, the myths and half-truths of religious teaching. Well done. Read January 2012.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A different kind of Dawkins book.. This was popular science aimed at the younger person. I found it ok, It reminded me of Asimov's science popularization's which I've read widely. Dawkins describes our current understanding of the natural world in a rational way, while contrasting individual topics with their associated myths and mythologies from the past. In This I believe he hopes to convey the value of rational thought and the scientific method over unsupported beliefs.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This book is aimed at teens, I guess, but while the science seems to be at the appropriate level, its discursive and rhetorical style are probably going to go over their heads. Dawkins' approach is to present mythical explanations for natural phenomena, followed by our current scientific understanding of what's really going on—the reality which is, in his terms, even more "magical" and wonderful than the myth. I'm dismayed that our supposedly advanced civilizations, particularly the US, are still so blindered by religion that such a book seems necessary and appropriate, but even so I think it would be best to put the dismantling of religious stories as secondary to the explanation of scientific realities: any teen who is going to encounter this book with an open mind will already be receptive to Dawkins' ideas, while anyone who actually believes any of the religious or mythic stories is going to be put on the defensive by Dawkins' attack.

I guess this is the same problem even non-religious people have with other facets of the "New Atheism": it gets in your face as an idea whose truth requires the falsehood of competing explanations—and, however great your disagreement, getting in someone's face like that is just poor manners. The Magic of Reality is only very slightly boorish in that way, but I think it would have been a better and more wonder-full book if it hadn't addressed myths and religions at all, and just presented the "magic" of our scientific understanding of the world.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The paperback version of this book contains no pictures. This is a book of stories, some true, some fictional, told in a very friendly, rational, and accessible voice. By the end of this book I understood just how truly brilliant it is. Its audience? Anyone over 12 I'd say.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Read all reviews

Reviews

Una mirada a lo mágico de la realidad a través de la ciencia. Algunos de los conceptos son muy básicos, sin embargo están muy bien explicados de forma que no es difícil entender.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Interesting and good descriptions of ideas.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Famous evolutionary biologist Dawkins teams up with well-known illustrator Dave McKean to examine many of the most fundamental questions in science including why the seasons occur, whether life on other planets is possible, what are the building blocks of matter, and how evolution really works. Dawkins presents many of these ideas from a religious or mythological perspective first before delving into the real science. His writing is straightforward enough for most pre-teens or teens to grasp the concepts he’s presenting, but not so simplistic that average adults will feel that Dawkins is talking down to them. McKean’s illustrations, beautiful and complex as always, do a wonderful job of both explicating the concepts Dawkins is presenting and also demonstrating Dawkins’ central theme: that scientific truth is beautiful and magical enough on its own without any need for mythical or supernatural trappings.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A year or so ago; right-wing nutjob Bill O'Reilly, amidst one of his bizarre tirades, pretty much admitted to being utterly clueless as to the state of science and assumed his followers were as clueless as he. And judging by the imbeciles his party has trotted forth since Bush Sr. became a one-termer; probably few of them have notice. Meanwhile, the rest of us got a great laugh at his expense. When he claimed that the tides were unknowable, even children who know better must have been rolling on the floor in laughter.The Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins seems like it was written for the likes of Bill O'Reilly. By and large, modern scientists have reacted to the rise of right-wing sponsored ignorance by ignoring it...and just ask NASA....that's not working too well for us. And us is a growing collective -- it's not just American anti-intellectual fundamentalists gaining ground, but to a lesser extent, those in Great Britain and Europe as well. Between growing fundamentalist influence and a corresponding lack of science education, millions are functionally illiterate when it comes to science. And that has grown to a dangerous number, jeopardizing the future of humanity in the process.Dawkins suggests that scientifically vetted theories and truths are every bit as "magical" as mystical explanations offered by Creationists and other loony anti-intellectuals. He appeals to the romance of science, of the wonder of discovering truths, or at least viable theories that fit truths as we now know them. Sometimes he ventures beyond his particular areas of expertise -- admitting that he doesn't fully understand what he is about to relate. This is in the rarefied air that is quantum physics; few truly understand and even those who attempt to popularize it (such as Stephan Hawking) don't often succeed. Fortunately, such mea culpas are few and far between -- Dawkins speaks from a position of strength throughout most of the book.Those familiar with Dawkins other work might not gain anything new from this book, but probably knows someone who ought to read it. And those of us inclined to take up the banner of science over fantasy might still find some persuasive arguments aimed at a more general audience (Dawkins last book on evolution was a little too intellectual to appeal to those who needed most to understand it, I think). For someone like myself who has been fighting the good fight, it's nice to have some weapons in the arsenal that are less polarizing from the get-go.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This book had beautiful, absolutely amazing illustrations and good explanations for a variety of scientific and natural phenomena. I loved reading it.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This book may have its flaws, but it breaks new ground. It is written for mature children and addresses the question of why to believe the scientific facts that we have been taught. There are interesting thought experiments, like the one where we put the photographs of our ancestors on an enormous bookshelf.It is overt in its anti-religiosity. This makes it fit very well with Richard Dawins' previous efforts and I appreciate that he has chosen to reach out to children in this way. I believe that I would have found even greater value in this book as a child than I have as an adult.In some places it is very English as in the discussions of Christmas pantomime or the play "Where the Rainbow Ends". I enjoy cultural differences and enjoyed them as a child, so this statement is not a criticism.The reading by Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward is quite pleasant.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I'm not entirely sure why I still read Dawkins' work. I think he's an extremely intelligent person, of course, and I've enjoyed reading books that focus on science by him -- I love The Ancestor's Tale, for example. But I hate the way that he cannot stop poking at religion, and I expected to hate it even more in a book called The Magic of Reality.

Actually, he's more respectful than usual. It all seems rather toned down, since it's aimed at a younger audience than his other books (which is somewhat insulting in itself; I read and understood The Ancestor's Tale perfectly at the age of thirteen, and this book is aimed at 'ages twelve and up', I'm told). It can come across as condescending, though I rather appreciated the parts where he admits he doesn't know everything. It is accessible, for people of any age and any level of knowledge about science, covering basic topics like why we have seasons and what earthquakes are. It's quite enjoyable to read even though I don't think I learnt anything new, because it clarified things and connected ideas.

He is, of course, scathing about religion and dismissive of any belief in the supernatural, but if you're planning to read Dawkins, you probably know that already.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Lots of big color pictures and graphs. I'm not sure who the target audience is.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Richard Dawkins is a biologist, but he also loves writing books about evolution, science and atheism. In this case, he's writing in a lighter style, obviously targetted at a younger audience. He gives religion equal treatment to other myths and legends and, while this might be upsetting to some people, I think he does a good job at not being too pushy. He takes popular myths, gives a bit of background about them, especially rationalizing why people tended to believe in them and then explains the phenomena and why they are just myths and not reality. The science is good, although sometimes his explanations are a bit convoluted (especially because he's trying to keep it simple and not use too many complicated terms or notions) - which is ok for me as a grown-up. I have a feeling certain parts of the book would bore a young reader or confuse them, but this book is ideally read by a parent together with the kids so that things can be explained when they get too confusing.Overall a great read and highly recommended for those wanting a "lighter" Dawkins experience. (I'm still slowly working through his [The Selfish Gene] book on genetics).
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Overall a fascinating read on a fascinating subject. The book is formatted in like a coffee table book fashion with colorful graphics on each page. After reading the book I was a bit surprised that the book was recommended as a good read to introduce young people to science. Not being a young person myself I still got the message, the science is explained in generally simplistic terms.The point of the book is to try an enlighten on how superstition and oops, religious myth has shaped beliefs on matters to this day that science can and does explain readily. Blasphemous to true believers of course. As is all too apparent belief systems trump reality in many instances. So the book reinforces those who choose to see reality for what it is and believers in myth and fantasy to continue to do so despite the evidence. And life goes on.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The intended audience of this book is teenagers with some grounding in science. Dawkins considers a range of basic scientific issues - the Big Bang, rainbows etc. For each topic he starts with the legends, myths or religious stories that provide an "explanation" for the issue, and then follows with the actual scientific explanation. In each case he is at pains to highlight the "magic" of the real story, and how it outshines, in every sense, the myths and half-truths of religious teaching. Well done. Read January 2012.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A different kind of Dawkins book.. This was popular science aimed at the younger person. I found it ok, It reminded me of Asimov's science popularization's which I've read widely. Dawkins describes our current understanding of the natural world in a rational way, while contrasting individual topics with their associated myths and mythologies from the past. In This I believe he hopes to convey the value of rational thought and the scientific method over unsupported beliefs.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This book is aimed at teens, I guess, but while the science seems to be at the appropriate level, its discursive and rhetorical style are probably going to go over their heads. Dawkins' approach is to present mythical explanations for natural phenomena, followed by our current scientific understanding of what's really going on—the reality which is, in his terms, even more "magical" and wonderful than the myth. I'm dismayed that our supposedly advanced civilizations, particularly the US, are still so blindered by religion that such a book seems necessary and appropriate, but even so I think it would be best to put the dismantling of religious stories as secondary to the explanation of scientific realities: any teen who is going to encounter this book with an open mind will already be receptive to Dawkins' ideas, while anyone who actually believes any of the religious or mythic stories is going to be put on the defensive by Dawkins' attack.

I guess this is the same problem even non-religious people have with other facets of the "New Atheism": it gets in your face as an idea whose truth requires the falsehood of competing explanations—and, however great your disagreement, getting in someone's face like that is just poor manners. The Magic of Reality is only very slightly boorish in that way, but I think it would have been a better and more wonder-full book if it hadn't addressed myths and religions at all, and just presented the "magic" of our scientific understanding of the world.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The paperback version of this book contains no pictures. This is a book of stories, some true, some fictional, told in a very friendly, rational, and accessible voice. By the end of this book I understood just how truly brilliant it is. Its audience? Anyone over 12 I'd say.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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