Unweaving the Rainbow by Richard Dawkins

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Fascinating ramblings on various bits of science (physical science as well as Dawkins usual biological science) that basically come down to how the wonders of science aren’t appreciated as much as they ought to be. I found myself nodding my head and agreeing with Dawkins at about just about every turn. Questions like why people find astrology fascinating when astronomy is so much more amazing bemuse me too. The title refers to Keats claiming that Newton has destroyed the poetry of the rainbow by explaining how a prism splits light. Keats was talking rubbish and Newton just made rainbows even more fascinating. Dawkins keeps coming back to how science ought to be better at creating good poetry (and vice versa) , he comes up with lots of examples of people being misled by ‘bad poetic science’.

On the whole I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to actually read one of Dawkin’s books. I wouldn’t have read this if Darren hadn’t have had it out of the library and kept reading bits of it out to me. It’s that kind of book. In the early chapters at least nearly every sentence encapsulates an idea that you want to talk about and keep in your head to explain to other people. Definitely an author I’ll be reading more of.

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.

Read on October 28, 2004


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