The Magic of Reality

The Magic of Reality

How We Know What's Really True

Book - 2011 | 1st Free Press hardcover ed. --
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Magic takes many forms. Supernatural magic is what our ancestors used in order to explain the world before they developed the scientific method. The ancient Egyptians explained the night by suggesting the goddess Nut swallowed the sun. The Vikings believed a rainbow was the gods' bridge to earth. The Japanese used to explain earthquakes by conjuring a gigantic catfish that carried the world on its back--earthquakes occurred each time it flipped its tail. These are magical, extraordinary tales. But there is another kind of magic, and it lies in the exhilaration of discovering the real answers to these questions. It is the magic of reality--science.

Packed with clever thought experiments, dazzling illustrations and jaw-dropping facts, The Magic of Reality explains a stunningly wide range of natural phenomena. What is stuff made of? How old is the universe? Why do the continents look like disconnected pieces of a puzzle? What causes tsunamis? Why are there so many kinds of plants and animals? Who was the first man, or woman? This is a page-turning, graphic detective story that not only mines all the sciences for its clues but primes the reader to think like a scientist as well.

Richard Dawkins, the world's most famous evolutionary biologist and one of science education's most passionate advocates, has spent his career elucidating the wonders of science for adult readers. But now, in a dramatic departure, he has teamed up with acclaimed artist Dave McKean and used his unrivaled explanatory powers to share the magic of science with readers of all ages. This is a treasure trove for anyone who has ever wondered how the world works. Dawkins and McKean have created an illustrated guide to the secrets of our world--and the universe beyond--that will entertain and inform for years to come.
Publisher: New York ; Toronto : Free Press, 2011.
Edition: 1st Free Press hardcover ed. --
ISBN: 9781439192818
Characteristics: 271 p. : ill. (chiefly col.), col. maps.
Additional Contributors: McKean, Dave


From Library Staff

debwalker Oct 22, 2011

"Promoted as being for all ages, this latest from the superstar biologist is really aimed at getting children to think about the universe in scientific terms. For Dawkins, also an atheist superstar, myth may be delightful and valuable, but reality is even more wondrous and beautiful."
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May 08, 2017

The Magic of Reality is a nonfiction book by Dr. Richard Dawkins. The book talks about how myths that explain natural phenomena can be replaced by provable, verifiable, scientific model. Dr. Dawkins classifies magic into three types: supernatural magic, stage magic, and poetic magic. Dr. Dawkins brings up questions that humans have puzzled over for thousands of years. He explains that when people from classical civilizations did not know the answer to a question, it automatically became a myth.
This book made me realize the fine line between the scientific and the supernatural. I know now know why models, the scientific method, and step-by-step, rational thinking triumph over ignorance, myths, and the supernatural; because myths cannot be held to be a good, provable, verifiable standard that has enough evidence to replace the latest advances in science.
The book made me stop and think about the world. I took some time to wrap my head around new concepts which made me look at my world differently, such as red shift, comet movement, and Pollyanna’s law. This book bent my mind and taught me more on subjects I already knew about.
I highly recommend this book to all science and mythology lovers as it is a book which covers a wide range of both myths and science.

Booksaregold Jun 18, 2014

Great explanation of each section of the chapter looking forward to read his other books .

Jun 08, 2013

I'm in my 20s and this book still amazed me. Lovely illustrations, clear explanations, a little humor and a lot of humility throughout...I learned things I didn't know that I didn't know, and others that I just didn't understand! This is not going to be a good book for anyone threatened by the current scientific consensus but for anyone genuinely interested in science it's a lovely read!

Apr 03, 2013

It's amazing in this day and age how most of society are still ruled by superstition and myth. Incredible. Great book.

Dec 18, 2012

Beautifully writing makes large concepts accessible for the young and poetic for the not-so-young. The author clearly states that this book is primarily written for children, yet book suppliers and library cataloguers insist on putting it in the adult shelves. Do they want to keep it out of the hands of children?

Oct 17, 2012

Geared towards youth but suitable for all ages. An illustrated science book that is both easy and interesting. Recommended for everyone.

mas586 Sep 30, 2012

A wonderful book for people of all ages. However, this book would be best for a child to read so they can form their own thoughts as to how humans, animals, and our universe were really created. Any open minded parent, who will allow their child to believe what they want, regardless of what the parent believes in, should get this book for their child. The illustrations are great as well, and really make Dawkins' points easier to understand.

IngloriousBelcher Nov 26, 2011

school would be a much better place if textbooks were more like this. He has a way with making science really fascinating and actually fun to read.

Nov 05, 2011

I recently finished reading Richard Dawkins's latest book The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True. Simply, it is a page-turner. Unique among Dawkins's books, it was written to inspire and excite an interest in Science in a younger audience (in contrast to the more difficult concepts and material he discusses in his earlier books). The scope of the book is broad: it touches upon many ...facets of Science--not simply biology, as one may expect. The book, moreover, is not just a must-read for the young, it is intellectually-stimulating even for adults: it is brain-candy for all ages. It engenders an interest and passion for not only Science, but for Reality.

roaddogg09 Oct 27, 2011

Dawkins' books usually don't disappoint, and this is not an exception. I absolutely enjoyed reading, "The Magic of Reality." Even though it is geared towards children twelve and up, I still found myself enthralled by the way Dawkins was able to explain things. Not only were the explanations fun and interesting, but the artwork is beautiful.

Dawkins begins each chapter with a question, then it is followed by myths from around the world that claim to explain the phenomena. After describing these myths, Dawkins proceeds to give the scientific explanation, which as he says, is far more magical. My favorite chapter would have to be the one that describes why bad things happen. I have countless friends who take coincidences and blow them up into revelations. Dawkins gives an explanation of large numbers and how people focus on things they want to, while ignoring everything else.

The chapter on miracles was also very good. In this chapter, Dawkins explains why natural explanations are preferred over supernatural ones. He also details David Hume's argument against miracles.

The book is beautifully illustrated and was a joy to read. I plan on buying a copy for myself and my nieces and nephews.

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Jun 20, 2012

dragontongue thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over


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