June 26, 2006

Darwin was right (not exactly news)

Title:
Rating:
4 out of 5 stars

(Still catching up on some recent reading…)
I'm not a great fan of the popular science section in the bookshop but thought that I should give Dawkins a go given how impressive he sounds on the radio.

This one does not disappoint as a straightforward yet extremely cogent – indeed masterful – presentation of the Darwinian view. Lots of wonderful vignettes which explain evolution articulately to the lay reader (ie me). The best bit though is a very direct challenge to the 'science is just another viewpoint' gang:

Show me a cultural relativist at thirty thousand feet and I'll show you a hypocrite. Airplanes are built according to scientific principles and they work. They stay aloft and they get you to a chosen destination. Airplanes built to tribal or mythological specifications such as the dummy planes of the Cargo cults in jungle clearings or the bees–waxed wings of Icarus don't.

Lovely!


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