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Showing 1-10 of 674 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 844 reviews
on April 13, 2016
First, if you're just going to write a scathing review (not of the book but of Richard Dawkins) because you blindly follow B.S. artists like William Lane Craig, save it for you tube.
Second, to those complaining about (or defending the virtue of) the book's apparent simplicity, stop pretending you aren't a layman. Isn't everyone else as sick as me of the endless complaints of books which they claim "dumb down" scientific subjects, as if the average Amazon reader in the market for scientific broadening is a trolling world-class scientist? We all know REAL scientists don't have time to review books on Amazon! Quit trying in vain to show off here.
Just review the effing book...and keep it real!
Here's mine: This is one of my favorite Richard Dawkins books. He may be aiming for children in the way the information is presented. But, I think most people (the average adult-like me) is not scientifically brilliant. We can quote basic facts about science, which we are most likely regurgitating anyway-not truly understanding. Dawkins gives simple, yet clear explanations for many scientific truths that escape me. He brings me closer to a clearer understanding of the world around me.
Aiming for children or not, this book will educate anyone who's highest level of science education was in an American high school 20 years ago, despite their viewing of countless Attenborough narrated documentaries.
Many of us think we understand evolution. Nonsense. Most people who say they understand it, have nothing more than a confused idea of it. For those people (of which I am one) you will find the section entitled, "Who was the first person?" a really great place to start. Having a firm grasp of the basic idea of evolution is the first step. Get that before you move on to weightier concepts. Most people have HEARD of evolution, fewer people actually study it.
This book will inspire children to ask deeper and more profound questions about the things they don't yet understand. Parents will fill in some of the many gaps in their own scientific hopefully they will be able to have discussions with their children about science. It's either that, or look ignorant in front of your children as their knowledge surpasses yours by age fifteen. In fact, this should be a great book to read WITH your child. I am really looking forward to sharing it with my four-year-old in a few years.
Or, you could skip this one and pick up another volume of "biblical stories for children" such as Noah's Ark, or The Garden of Eden. What kind of parent will you be?
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on April 14, 2014
This lovely illustrated version of the book explains the search for truth through science on a child's level. Dawkin's acknowledges myths that helped historic peoples make sense of the world around them and then presents the scientific facts that shape "The Magic of Reality." We have included this book as part of our homeschool curriculum and my 7th grader seems to enjoy the time we spend reading it together. The book arrived in perfect condition much earlier than originally anticipated.
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on August 29, 2016
It was great fun. I am a (retired) academic biologist and I WISH that in the 1940s and early 1950s when I was a scholar and undergraduate student there had been someone like Richard Dawkins to introduce me to the wonders of the Life Sciences. The youngsters today are privileged to have access to works such as he has published.. Like Dawkins, I was born in Africa and had first-hand experience of much of what he so eloquently describes. Like him I was "hooked" on the Biological and Earth sciences early. We were privileged . However I still envy the fledgling scientists who have books like 'The Magic of Reality" to ease their way in to formal biological studies.
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on April 3, 2014
Dawkins takes the reader on a journey through science explaining science's present understanding of reality as well as why scientists believe the explanation. Great book for high schoolers as the book can help open their minds to one of the great, ongoing adventures of the human mind. Make sure you get the book version that also has the pictures and if you can get the hardcover version as well. Maybe the more portable and searchable digital version as well. Wow!
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on June 14, 2016
In just 12 short chapters, Richard Dawkins elegantly re-instilled my sense of joy and wonder about the world around me, and left me wanting to learn even more about the topics covered, which included plants and animals, rainbows, stars and planets, just to name a few. It was a much-needed refresher on all of the countless science classes that used to leave me either bored or confused over the years, and genuinely made me enjoy learning about each and every topic. Ultimately, this profound yet simple book has given me a fresh perspective and a newfound deep appreciation for the knowledge and achievements of science, and ultimately, for the beautiful world all around me.
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on October 11, 2011
Richard Dawkins' passion for science and reason has never been more evident than in his latest work, an attempt to convey to "readers of all ages" just how wonderful and magical reality is. The other side of that idea is that no matter how enchanting ancient or modern myths might be, they are not based on reality and they are not nearly as interesting or as exciting as the truth. Dawkins brings this double point home in each of twelve chapters presented as questions, with the myths of many peoples contrasted with reality as determined by science. There will be little controversy over how he handles such questions as What is the sun? What is a rainbow? Why do we have night and day, winter and summer? What is an earthquake? or even Are we alone?

Unfortunately, many in America who should read this book probably won't because of their religious beliefs. Those who think Adam was the first person, that the god of Abraham created all animals individually, that the universe was brought into being by the will of some supernatural creator, and that bad things happen because god or the gods are angry with us will reject this or any book that tells the science like it is. Fortunately, the number of people who think the Bible is the word of god and must be taken literally as if it were a science text is not as great in other countries. I imagine the book will do quite well in the UK and other places (in translation) where fundamentalist anti-science is not so great as it is in the U.S.

All but two of the chapters focus exclusively on scientific questions. Most chapters begin with a look at some of the traditional myths that have been produced by various cultures around the world. These are followed up with a look at what the science has to say about the subject. The final two chapters enter the realm of philosophy. Why do bad things (like tsunamis and cancer) happen? They just do. There are causes but nature has no purpose in bringing about harm to anyone. What is a miracle? Here he enlists the help of David Hume to convey the idea that belief in miracles is not reasonable.

Many adults would benefit from reading The Magic of Reality because it will explain to them things that apparently many of them don't understand, such as why we have summer and winter. Many people think it is because the earth is closer or farther away from the sun that we have the seasons. Many people in the U.S. are clearly ignorant of what evolution means. Many seem to think that if evolution were true we should find one species giving birth to a new species from time to time. Every offspring is the same species as its parents. To help the reader who may not understand how species evolve, Dawkins asks us to imagine a pile of 185 million pictures, each picture being the grandparent of the picture after it. Any two or three or five hundred adjacent pictures will look very similar in terms of species characteristics. But if you go from your picture at one end to your 185 millionth grandparent, you'll see a picture of a fish-like creature.

Dawkins doesn't just tell the reader how old the universe is, he explains how we know the age of the universe. He doesn't just tell us what things are made of, he tells us how we know what they're made of.

Of course the fundamentalist literalist Jews and Christians will have an awful time with this book. Dawkins treats the Judeo-Christian myths in the same way he treats African or Japanese or American Indian myths. He doesn't make fun of the people who created the stories. He simply retells the stories, occasionally expressing his being baffled at certain parts of various stories, and then contrasts them with what science knows about the same reality that the mythmakers tried to explain. He doesn't ridicule religion or gods, but he does reject those who appeal to a god's intervention or a miracle to avoid trying to answer hard questions about reality. He has no tolerance for those who want us to give up trying to understand something because they claim it's miraculous and can't be understood.

If you want your child or you want yourself to know something about the various myths of many different cultures without showing any favorites, Dawkins' book fills that requirement quite well. If you want your child or you want yourself to know something about evolution, cosmology, physics, chemistry, biology, geology, and the methods of discovery used in those fields, Dawkins' book fills that requirement as well as anybody could.

What makes the book even more enticing is that Dawkins has teamed with artist Dave McKean, whose illustrations take the book to a level of visual enjoyment that matches the joy of following Dawkins as he attempts to explain some very complicated ideas in terms even those who will never read the book could understand if they dared do so.
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on September 16, 2016
Mr. Dawkins made the physics, chemistry, biology super interesting! I found everything we had learned in primary and secondary school (in mentioned subjects) but now I finally understand many of those things I learned. The book connects myths and legends with scientific explanations of the world (and universe) around us in very easy-to-comprehend way and makes you see the world in a different way. I just wish every school book was written this way, every kid would like the science.
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on December 8, 2015
This is one of the most fantastic books you could ever purchase. It may be a quick and easy read but the information it provides is more precious than any mineral.

I would say that it’s like a handbook for beginner science and I can only wish that I had this when I was in school many years ago. The way Richard Dawkins presents the information is, somehow, very easy to absorb. And that statement is coming from someone who didn’t “absorb” information to well in a classroom setting. As a matter of fact, the information is presented in such an amazingly simplistic way that even kids could get a lot out of it. I bought the audio book as well and in the beginning of the book there is talk about how to tell if radio waves are real even though we can’t detect it with our senses. My 7 yr old was so fascinated that I had to pause the book because my child and I immediately got in to a detailed discussion about this. That’s a priceless moment that I could not have done without this tool to present the information in this manner.

There is a lot of misinformation out there and teaching children at a young age about how to tell if something is real or not is unimaginably valuable.

Do you think you already know enough and this would be too small of a thing to take up your valuable time? Look at what some of the most intelligent people in the world have said about this book. It was worth their time ;) just sayin’. But all jokes aside, I’d guess that this would be a welcomed refresher even for an advanced scientist.

Great gift for anyone, especially for someone who may be confused about how to tell if something is real or not. This book will help tackle big issues in a delicate manner.

Thank you Richard Dawkins.
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on September 16, 2015
THE MAGIC OF REALITY is a wonderful book, suitable for readers of all ages, explaining what science has learned about the world in the last 400 years. This has been a pretty late development as modern humans have been on earth for about 100,000 years. Science has enabled humans in this recent period to vastly improve the quality of life over what humans enjoyed/endured for the previous 99,600 years. During that long older period, humans invented stories to explain the world, and Dawkins reports many of these stories, myths, before he explains the scientific story. Astronomers, for example, with instruments to extend the power of our senses, have discovered many suns at various stages of their life cycle, so that they can form a story about the birth and death of stars. Our sun, a star, is about 4.5 billion years old, will be too hot in about 2 billion years for life to exist on earth, and "humans will almost certainly be extinct long before then" -- could this knowledge cause us to value life more and stop killing each other?

The ancient stories had a long time to become embedded in our culture and language. The scientific stories are harder to understand sometimes, though Dawkins does a good job giving clearly understandable summaries of some science, but he says he does not fully understand some scientific stories outside his specialty, biology. He teaches us a scientific way of seeing and understanding the world. For example, he discusses "why do bad things happen" and "luck, chance and cause" (p.223). When we say "it happened for a reason" do we mean "a past cause" or "purpose"? Bad things have causes, not necessarily purposes. A great scientist and a great writer, Dawkins earns our gratitude for the dozen books he has written for us non-scientists. This one ought to be given to every young student who has been introduced to some science in school.
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on November 21, 2016
This is pretty simple basic science. If you have any depth of knowledge when it comes to any of the areas of science then this book will probably disappoint you. But if you are a science novice then you will probably find this book is a good place to start. It would also appeal to middle school children that have an interest in science.
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