Did Newton "unweave the rainbow" by reducing it to its prismatic colors, as Keats contended? Did he, in other words, diminish beauty? Far from it, says acclaimed scientist Richard Dawkins; Newton's unweaving is the key to much of modern astronomy and to the breathtaking poetry of modern cosmology. Mysteries don't lose their poetry because they are solved: the solution often is more beautiful than the puzzle, uncovering deeper mysteries. With the wit, insight, and spellbinding prose that have made him a best-selling author, Dawkins takes up the most important and compelling topics in modern science, from astronomy and genetics to language and virtual reality, combining them in a landmark statement of the human appetite for wonder.
So Far: A beautiful, beautifully written book refuting the claim that a scientific understanding makes life dull.
Dawkins pursues the claim with his never-dull narrative skills, and though we're around the halfway mark, I've long been convinced and now I'm just in it for the words. Like even the titles of the chapters get me going, like Barcodes in the Stars. Come on, Dawkins, you know the Eviscerator wimpers at that kind of stuff.
The kind of scientific, historic, poetic . . . everything is packed into this book from Native Americans to Keates. Even so, it is a rather short book, so I'll have a review by monday.
A Sneak Peek:
“We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?”TELL ME THAT ISN'T AMAZING. THAT'S ONLY THE FIRST PAGE!
Are you and your stuffed animal reading anything interesting?
Let us know in your own Stuffed Animal Saturday!