Richard Dawkins recommends4 min read

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The scientist on books that he loves

“The Sword of Honour Trilogy” by Evelyn Waugh

– Dawkins’ interview to goodreads

Between Men at Arms, Officers and Gentlemen, and the culminating Unconditional Surrender, fans of Brideshead Revisited will not be disappointed in the Sword trilogy. A Catholic gentleman must live protestingly through war years, moving from a renewed sense of purpose in the struggle between Christian values and Nazi terror, toward a more confused understanding of human beings in their complexity. Guy Crouchback is a somewhat blurred version of the artist himself, and shows a reluctant sort of patriotism, mixed with pokes at political and wartime hypocrisy. There is satire, there is comedy – of a dark kind – and the characters are portrayed with warts on.

“Red Strangers” byElspeth Huxley

– Dawkins’ interview to

Kikuyu tribesmen from Kenya, Muthengi and Matu, get upset when the long-lasting traditions and customs that they know get moved aside at the coming of the European strangers. Medicine men seem to have no defenses against the onslaught of new diseases, and the imposed foreign laws greatly contradict the Kikuyu rituals and beliefs. From war to justice to animal husbandry, all of the aspects of Western colonization take root and spit out fictional seeds across the pages. Readers may more easily recognize Huxley’s other work, The Flame Trees of Thika.

“Dark Universe” byDaniel F. Galouye

– Dawkins’ interview to

Per The Guardian, post-apocalyptic literature is replete with humans who have retreated from the horrors of a new and disturbing world, from Hunger Games to The Road. In this tale, the underground dwellers are hiding from an invisible yet effective evil – radiation. People adapt to their new cave-dwelling status by developing an increased sensitivity to light and sound. Those who can actually see the infra-red spectrum of light, the Zivvers, are cast out from normal society as tainted beings. It’s up to an inquisitive Jared Fenton to find out some answers to the questions of light and darkness that plague humanity. This book was nominated for a Hugo Award.

“Uncle Fred In TheSpringtime” by P. G. Wodehouse

– Dawkins’ interview to

If you’ve already worked through all of the Jeeves series, this Blandings Castle work is another Wodehouse classic that deserves a glance. Uncle Fred believes himself to be a heart surgeon of the romantic variety, and does his level best to help his nephew – Pongo Twistleton – out of difficulties. It’s a matter of borrowing a few hundred pounds that goes completely awry. In between a prize pig that goes missing from the castle, suspicious gentry, and dance enthusiasts with uncertain tempers, there’s a great deal of chicanery and tomfoolery that provides a welcome antidote to discouragement.

“Why Evolution IsTrue” by Jerry A. Coyn

– Dawkins’ interview

As a biology professor, Coyn makes a case for the validity of evolution as opposed to intelligent design, such as the vitamin-C gene and the similarity of DNA between humans and apes. From genetics to geology, from anatomy to paleontology, the author reveals the importance of regarding evolution as a fact rather than a theory. The inter-species combinations of dinosaurs with feathers, limbed fish, and reptiles turned into mammals are brought out to show the compelling nature of Darwinism. Evolutionists and creationists alike will find this a compelling read.

“Why We Get Sick: The NewScience of Darwinian Medicine” by Radolph M. Nesse and George C. Williams

– Dawkins’ interview to

Perhaps illness is an important evolutionary function of the human body, and shouldn’t be tampered with by over-medication, argue the authors. These two professors, one of psychology and one of ecology, review the principles of natural selection set against the phenomena of illness. Our reactions to penicillin have undergone changes within its 60-year usage, and there may be good dietary reasons for allowing pregnancy-related morning sickness to continue unrelieved. Likewise, fever and pain have their place in the body’s rejection of small invaders who would otherwise take over.

“The Demon-Haunted World:Science as a Candle in the Dark ” by Carl Sagan

– Dawkins’ interview to goodreads

From the narrator of the television series Cosmos comes a treatise on the need to move beyond science as a way of understanding the stars and particles – to political and personal freedom. He promotes the art of ‘baloney detection’, or skepticism’s uses to ward off the gods and obsessions that occupy past or current thinkers, and hopes that further evidence can be found for the existence of extra-terrestrials and highly advanced UFO’s. Hailed by both the LA Times and the Dynasty Foundation as a brilliant manifesto of rationality and skepticism, and a defense against a new era of the Dark Ages.

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