The Magic of Reality: Richard Dawkins’ new book for kids

Richard Dawkins The Magic of Reality

by Todd Hebert

I never expected the world renowned evolutionary biologist and superstar atheist Richard Dawkins to write a book aimed at children. But, alas, The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True is slated for an October release.

The book will explain scientific question that many young people have. Questions that kids might get a vastly different answer for from their Sunday schools.

  • Why do bad things happen
  • Are we alone?
  • What are things made of?
  • What is the sun?
  • Why is there night and day?
  • What is an earthquake?
  • What is a rainbow?
  • Who were the first man and woman?
  • When did everything begin?

Looks good! Though a book aimed at the younger crowd, I know many adults that would benefit a great deal from this book, including myself.

But what makes news of this book even more exiting is that it is illustrated by Dave McKean. Advanced images are hard to come by this early, but they are sure to be as fantastic as McKean’s other work.

Dawkins is always best when he writes about what he knows: evolutionary biology. When he tries to be an expert on religion he comes off as a smarmy sophomore. This book looks very promising. Hopefully he sticks to the former and leaves the latter alone.

From the back cover of The Magic of Reality.

I want to show you that the real world, as understood scientifically has magic of its own – the kind I call poetic magic: an inspiring beauty which is all the more magical because it is real and because we can understand how it works…The magic of reality is – quite simply-wonderful. Wonderful, and real. Wonderful because real.

Though not being released until fall, you can preorder The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True from Amazon.

The Magic of Reality*Update: The book photo above is for the UK version of the book. Here is the US version, which is set to be released on October 4th. By the way, I think Americans got the inferior cover. Agree?

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Logine

“Dawkins is always best when he writes about what he knows: evolutionary biology. When he tries to be an expert on religion he comes off as a smarmy sophomore. This book looks very promising. Hopefully he sticks to the former and leaves the latter alone.”
I guess R. Dawkins would be tolerant and elegant enough if theologians and other “experts” on un-earthly things would mind the same advice. Which, as is before everybody’s eyes, they do not. Quidproquo-style. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110423/ap_on_re_eu/eu_vatican_easter_vigil_4

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Mike

Will it be as good as Go The F**k To Sleep?

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Briana

No, of course not. Especially since Samuel L. Jackson isn’t narrating it.
You’re not tired, that’s bulls**t, now go the f**k to sleep.

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CommonlySensical

I’m fond of both covers, art-wise. However, for this book itself, I’d have to say I’m partial to the American cover.

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Craig Hawkins

A smarmy sophomore… really? (you could have at least of had the merit to make such a comment, and explain why he comes across as a smarmy sophomore) Was the mention of this new book of Dawkins, just a back handed way of slagging Dawkins off? Seems to me that Dawkins and many others, have simply had enough of religious bullying, from those that are not happy unless we believe it too.

And since when did Dawkins say he was an expert on religion? …I should imagine we would live in an even more violent world than we already do… if the only people who were aloud to criticize religion were “experts”… and by who’s standard would they be experts? … a bishop, a Muslim cleric, a catholic priest perhaps… or do you have to be a University professor? – or none of the above… by who’s standard is someone an expert on religion?

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Grant

The “smarmy sophomore” comment is so out of place, so….more accurate of the reviewer than of Dawkins.

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Marika

I was just about to comment on the ” smarmy sophomore” part, but I see others have already done so, and properly.

Can’t wait to see this book published in my language. If it proves to be what I hope it to be I plan to buy several copies and give to kids in my family / among friends. I wonder if there is a specified target age group though?

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Todd Hebert

As the author of this post, I stand behind my “smarmy sophomore” comment. I love Dawkins. I’m so exited for this book to come out. I’ll be first in line to purchase a copy for my kids. But he simply doesn’t get religion. He sees the idea of god as a child does, as a magic man in the sky. Of course it’s ridiculous. But god doesn’t have to be that. Millions of people have grown out of that view.

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Paula

Agreed.

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samrat

Yes, millions have outgrown the daddy in the sky worldview.
But BILLIONS still hang on to it. I think Dawkins understands
this fact very well. He doesn’t have to address your particular
notions of religion or God.
One only has to look at an uber religious country like
India to realize that Dawkins’s work is of import.

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Chris

I don’t know how anyone who advocates atheism can write a book on reality. Perhaps he distinguishes it as having faith in a godless universe? Hopefully this book puts religion aside.

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Elizabeth Smith

The difference in the book covers is striking; the UK cover looks like that of a children’s book, whereas the US one looks as if it is for adults. Anyone have any ideas why?

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Philip Bradbury

Maybe the US cover looks like it is for adults is because 40% of the US population believe that a god created the Earth. There is a little more work to do in the US than the UK.

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Maria

Thank you Philip..!

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laurie

If we take time to think about the implications of – INFINITY, we must conclude that there was no beginning and there can be no end, just constant change (evolution) – affected by us and everything else contained within this infinite space! Our belief in GOD/S is our best attempt at explaining the inexplicable!

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Thomas54

@Chris You say: “I don’t know how anyone who advocates atheism can write a book on reality. Perhaps he distinguishes it as having faith in a godless universe? Hopefully this book puts religion aside.”

Why should Dawkins have any difficulty in understanding reality? Scientific method is not a matter of faith. The book presents various mythological stories (including some of Christianity) to explain each of the questions in the chapter titles, and then goes on explain the scientific truth. Seems quite reasonable for any atheist to grasp. No faith required.

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Thomas54

@laurie It’s accepted that science does not explain what came before the Big Bang, (although there are theories), but why should a gap in scientific understanding necessarily mean we fall back to “God did it”? In that scenario, who made god?

Religious acceptance of scientific facts contradicting out-dated beliefs frequently lags many years behind their acceptance within the global scientific community. Contrast this with science which is open to change and welcomes a challenge to established theory.

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