Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder Paperback – April 5, 2000
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Inspired by the frequently asked question, "Why do you bother getting up in the morning?" following publication of his book The Selfish Gene, Dawkins set out determined to show that understanding nature's mechanics need not sap one's zest for life. Alternately enlightening and maddening, Unweaving the Rainbow will appeal to all thoughtful readers, whether wild-eyed technophiles or grumpy, cabin-dwelling Luddites. Excoriations of newspaper astrology columns follow quotes from Blake and Shakespeare, which are sandwiched between sparkling, easy-to-follow discussions of probability, behavior, and evolution. In Dawkins's world (and, he hopes, in ours), science is poetry; he ends his journey by referring to his title's author and subject, maintaining that "A Keats and a Newton, listening to each other, might hear the galaxies sing." --Rob Lightner --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
The main thrust of the book is the poetry of science; how, by understanding more about the way the universe works, we can appreciate the wonder of it all the better - open our minds to something more beautiful than just the outward appearance of a beautiful object - even make us see the beauty in some not-so- pleasant sights!
In this book he uses well thought-out, easy-to-grasp concepts to explode myths, de-bunk charlatans, and de-mystify magic (a little TOO vitriolic at times, I fear!) - all with the intention of opening our minds to the concept of evolution (specifically Darwinism). He takes us from rainbows to barcodes to DNA in easy stages, explaining in graphic (but never tedious) detail just how nature can (and will) evolve all its wonders.Read more ›
I have to say now, after reading it not once but twice, I am glad I have to disagree with nearly all the negative critics I read on this book, and there seem to have appeared lots, both on Amazon websites and on various magazines and journals. Which was, incidentally, one more reason for me to grow curious about this essay....
"Unweaving The Rainbow" is a collection of informal personal reflections on what science is all about, what it means to some of us from an emotional viewpoint, and how it fares when compared to other cultural orientations that seem to be more widespread, like arts and humanities, or (in stark contrast to science!) superstition, pseudo-science and metaphysical spiritualism. There's no technical discussion of any topics in the philosophy of science, just the knowledgeable digressions of someone with something to say. My only quibble is that the last four chapters seem to stray somewhat far out of the book's main purpose, delving deeper and more exclusively into the realm of "extended" biology, following an evolutionary thread that starts with Dawkins' typical metaphors on the role of genes in the game of life and ends with a touch of cultural anthropology and psychology.... But then again, it's just one more example of how science can be beautiful and fulfilling, though still lacking answers to some of our questions (but working on it, and you never know....Read more ›
It is a fair question and one must make allowances for some bad scientific allegories as well as plain bad poetry. Dawkins has started out with a wonderful idea and he develops it very nicely for about half of the book. Then the book begins to degenerate into something of a jumbled criticism of Steven J. Gould (nothing new there) and the wanderings and adapted characteristics of hedge sparrows and --- no surprise --- a defence of the selfish-gene theory.
In final analysis Dawkins starts out with one of the those cosmic-wonder-of-science books, and then it degenerates into borderline pedantry, with interesting bits of science thrown in around the sides. Dawkins is not the populariser that is Carl Sagan and his writing in this book shows it.
Dawkins is at his best when he has a specific point to prove in an area that he knows well. "The Blind Watchmaker" and "The Extended Phenotype" and the "Selfish Gene" are all par excellance when it comes to him arguing from a first premise in his area of expertise.
Dawkins is also an old crusty Oxbridge lecturer and it comes across in this book. I like that a lot! I think that some readers may be a little bit perturbed to be told what to think. But let's get it straight here. This man has one of the greatest minds in Modern Zoology -- it behooves us to listen to him. We have a lot to learn from him.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In a nutshell: There are some really interesting Chapters - on the other hand - some very boring Chapters. All in all a good read.Published 4 months ago by Zero
This is the first Prof Dawkins book I advise people to read. it is straight down the line and crammed full of fabulous information and epiphanies. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Michael Smorenburg - Author
Dawkins doing what he does best, explaining science at its basic level. Enjoyable, as are all of Dawkins' books, though I didn't care for the swatches of Olde English poetry... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Violet Bunny
This is a worthwhile effort to unite the sciences and humanities, and to show the understanding a natural phenomenon like a rainbow doesn't do anything to decrease the enjoyment of... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Bill Creasy
I would recommend this book to anyone, but I beg that scientists read this book. It is critical that all scientists understand how to explain complicated subject matter in simple,... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Alex Ward