However, as modern science, with its esoteric formulas and technical jargon, gradually receded from the grasp of non-scientifically trained. Consider the following passage from Richard Dawkins’s book Unweaving the Rainbow: We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. UNWEAVING THE Unweaving the Rainbow Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder Richard Dawkins A MARINER BOOK HOUGHTON MIFFLIN.

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However, as modern science, with its esoteric formulas and technical jargon, gradually receded from the grasp of non-scientifically trained thinkers, a gradual distrust, if not aversion, for science began to arise.

Thus, in the course of the 19th century, with the Romantic reaction against the 18th century veneration of science and rationality, slightly different attitudes came to be expressed. Recall how Wordsworth complained: When science seemed to be on the verge of becoming a veritable threat to artists, writers, and theologians, beginning to command more awe by its technological wonders than the admiration provoked by great art and literature, some began to accuse it of robbing human experience of the mystery of Nature which added a dimension to uhweaving life in generations gone by.

It is this view that serves as a springboard for this charming dissertation on theme that cold science can be no less spell-binding, uplifting and enthralling than medieval magic, theistic religion, or symbolic poetry. For, in truth, science is as much a spiritual experience as knowledge and discovery.

If Blake was unwweaving Dawkins is no narrow-specialist. Rainbos intellect is sharp, his vision is unwezving his culture sophisticated. He enjoys music and poetry as well as many musicians and poets do.

He certainly recognizes the value of poetry: Sometimes he overstates his case. In a chapter devoted to the importance, if not the indispensability, of DNA and genetic science in the court of law, he refers to the lawyers in U. But it does not followthat they will be better unweavong as a result. Such a claim it is not unlike that of the preacher of who insists that people will be better people if they belonged to his or her religion or denomination.

Unweavinf, a couple of chapters are devoted to discussions on pseudosciences and superstitions: Most practicing scientists -especially physicists and astronomers- are amused, even tthe, by the popularity of puerilities like astrology and numerology, but some are outraged and appalled. And when they write on the no-nonsense nobility of science they cannot remain indifferent to such persistent plague. Dawkins explains as clearly as any good astronomy teacher, and more beautifully than most, what constellations are, and exposes the inanity of statements like Neptune moves into Unewaving [p.


By simple analysis, he reveals the quackery and trickery of psychics, clairvoyants, et. With the concept of petwhac Population of Events That Would Have Appeared Coincidentalhe gives statistical explanations for so-called astounding coincidences which have fooled people over the ages. A little knowledge of probability and statistics would be helpful here.

Review of Richard Dawkins’ “Unweaving the Rainbow”

One can learn a good deal of sound biology from this and the following chapter, aside from recognizing loopholes in Lovelocks Gaia concept. Indeed, these two chapters must be required reading for the general public to gain basic literacy on genetics. It is an exploration into current proposals and potentials for unscrambling the ancient mystery of the Mind; not however, as our distant ancestors did or as some of their bad imitators continue to do, inspired by quotes from ancient texts; but as grand poetry anchored to the latest findings of science.

Yes, Dawkins expresses succinctly the conviction and goal of the scientist: I mean in the sense of putting jnweaving model of the universe inside our skulls.

Full text of “Unweaving The Rainbow Richard Dawkins”

Not a superstitious, small-minded, [parochial model filled with spirits and hobgoblins, astrology and magic, glittering fake crocks of gold where the rainbow ends. This paragraph not only summarizes the scientific spirit, it also exemplifies the poetic prose of the author. Dawkons this is a book, as much for the aficionado of science as for the lover of good prose.

Dawkins weaves a rainbow of colorful insights and information from the world of science which is as splendid as the arc in the sky. This is the kind of poetry that Dawkins cries out for.

In effect he seems to be exclaiming: A valid wish, it would seem, and yet all too unrealistic, for at least two reasons: Dawkin, only readers who have done science and delved into some of its technical details can fully partake of the thrills that Dawkins spells out. When Keats complained about unweaving the rainbow, the sensitive poet was merely referring metaphorically to the ths that results from analyzing details.


He may not have been familiar with spectroscopy a consequence of the unweaving of the rainbow and the enrichment unwexving brought to astronomy and chemical analysis. Only the technically trained scientist can know all this and more. Few people outside of this inner circle may even be aware of the fact that we know of the composition of distant stars and that we discovered the element helium, all thanks to spectroscopy.

Secondly, there is more to poetry than magnificent expression or fascinating revelations.

Philosophical Disquisitions: Dawkins and the “We are going to die”-Argument

There is a soothing aspect to the poetry of religion and mystery-mongering that is as much a human need as the urge to understand, explore, and interpret.

The lofty lines of Dawkins are a sumptuous feast, no doubt, for the initiated. But those who have, for one reason or another, skipped their science courses, may have difficulty deciphering his grand expositions.

Like a crowd with little acquaintance with opera, they can at best watch from the outside and believe that the aficionados are really having fun. But they themselves cannot partake of all those exhilarations.

Dawkin mercilessly maims pseudoscience and superstition, which is good; but he says hardly a kind word said about the trans-rational spiritual needs of the average human rwinbow, which is not so good. That is why I fear that notwithstanding the intelligent eloquence of the Sagans and Dawkins of the world, most people will continue to do what Walt Whitman did in his poem The Learned Astronomer: The Anesthetic of Familiarity; 2.

Drawing Room of Dukes; 3. Barcodes in the stars; 4. Barcodes in the air; 5. Barcodes at the bar; 6. Hoodwinked with Faery Fancy; 7. Unweaving the uncanny; 8. Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance; 9. The selfish cooperator; The genetic book of the dead; Reveaving the world; The balloon of the mind; Selected Bibliography; Index. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email.