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Science in the Soul is a kaleidoscopic argument for the power and the glory of science. Breathtaking, brilliant and passionate, the essays, journalism, lectures and letters in this new collection make an unanswerable case for the wonder of scientific discovery and its power to stir the imagination; for the practical necessity of scientific endeavour to society; and for the importance of the scientific way of thinking – particularly in today's 'post-truth' world.
More than forty pieces are gathered here, with an introduction and new commentary by the author in dialogue with himself across the years. They range over subjects from evolution and Darwinian natural selection to the role of scientist as prophet, whether science is itself a religion, the probability of alien life in other worlds, and the beauties, cruelties and oddities of earthly life in this one. Alongside the explications, the celebrations and the controversies are wonderfully funny ventures into satire and parody, and moving personal reflections in memory and honour of others.
A sparkling showcase for his rapier wit, the clarity, precision and vigour he brings to an argument, the beauty of his prose, the depth of his feeling and his capacity for joy, Science in the Soul is further evidence of Richard Dawkins' status as one of science's all-time great communicators.
Richard Dawkins first catapulted to fame with his iconic work The Selfish Gene (1976) which he followed with a string of prestigious books, including The Blind Watchmaker, Climbing Mount Improbable, The God Delusion, a previous anthology A Devil's Chaplain (2003) and two volumes of autobiography, An Appetite for Wonder (2013) and Brief Candle in the Dark (2015). He is a Fellow of both the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Literature and the recipient of numerous honours and awards. He remains a fellow of New College, Oxford. In 2013, Dawkins was voted the world's top thinker in Prospect magazine's poll of 10,000 readers from over 100 countries.
"[Dawkins] is a thunderously gifted science writer"
– Oliver Moody, The Times
"One of the best non-fiction writers alive today"
– Steven Pinker
"The illumination of Dawkins' incisive thinking on the intellectual world extends far beyond biology. What a treat to see so clearly how matter and meaning fit together, from fiction to philosophy to molecular biology, all in one unified vision!"
– Daniel C. Dennett
"In this golden age of enlightened science writing it is stunning that no scientist has ever won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Pulitzer Prizes, yes, but it is time literature's highest award be granted to a scientist whose writings have changed not just science but society. No living scientist is more deserving of such recognition than Richard Dawkins, whose every book reflects his literary genius and scientific substance. Science in the Soul is the perfect embodiment of Nobel quality literature."
– Michael Shermer, Publisher Skeptic magazine, columnist Scientific American, author The Moral Arc and Heavens on Earth
"I thank Thor and Zeus that in their infinite wisdom they chose to make the great wordsmith of our age a great rationalist and vice versa."
– Matt Ridley, author of The Rational Optimist and The Evolution of Everything
"A writer of tremendous clarity and force [...] in full polemical flight, Dawkins is a marvel."
– Kevin Powers, Sunday Business Post
"This Dawkins is a dangerous guy. Like Marx. Or Darwin."
– W. Daniel Hillis
"The most influential man of reason [...] intellectually rigorous to a fault."
–Oliver Thring, Sunday Times News Review
"With his latest book, Science in the Soul, Richard Dawkins continues the legacy of Carl Sagan, though of course, in a more combative mode [...] Richard Dawkins is one of the best science popularisers of our times. He is also an eminent evolutionary biologist [...] All the articles in this compilation are ultimately soul-elevating in the sense that they emphasise the importance of reason and spirit of science in approaching many of the problems which we may think as being outside the realm of science or domains where inducing a hostility to a scientific approach is possible [...]
Dawkins is an extraordinarily talented author and persuader [...] Dawkins also comes across in this collection of essays as a warm rational scientist who is interestingly so open to the innocent human fascination for the grandeur of nature."
– Aravindan Neelakandan, Swarajya Magazine
"Dawkins at his most delicious. These are some of the finest treasures of non-fiction you'll find anywhere"
– Derren Brown
"Now, more than ever, public intellectual scientists like Dawkins are needed to counter the forces of faith, fiction, and farce dominating our so-called "post-fact" society. The Oxford University professor is the embodiment of the concept of the public intellectual"
– Iain Ellis, www.popmatters.com