cover image Science in the Soul: Selected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist

Science in the Soul: Selected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist

Richard Dawkins. Random House, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-0-399-59224-9

In this assemblage of assorted texts, British evolutionary biologist and polemicist Dawkins (Brief Candle in the Dark) mixes his personal delight that humans have discovered the truth about so much of nature with frustration that the rational search for truth remains a minority approach. Whether he’s administering a respectful rebuke to Prince Charles for a speech full of fashionable antiscience, praising Charles Darwin, or satirizing an article by former prime minister Tony Blair promoting his foundation aimed at encouraging religious faith, Dawkins never conceals his love of good explanations and his contempt for sloppy thinking. Unfortunately, that contempt for sloppy thinking doesn’t extend to the social realm, where Dawkins often comes across as being as confused by politics, culture, and society (for example, his failure to understand why Barack Obama might identify as black) as he is knowledgeable about genetics. Dawkins’s pedantic tone and notable blind spots notwithstanding, his writings on evolution are worth reading and make for a satisfying introduction to one of today’s most prominent scientific thinkers. [em]Agent: John Brockman, Brockman Inc. (Aug.) [/em]