Title: Unweaving the Rainbow
Author: Richard Dawkins
Page Count/Review Word Count: 336
Richard Dawkins is clearly a man of some considerable genius – his overall knowledge of physics and biology (and evolutionary science in particular) shines through in everything he ever does. Here, he refutes Keats‘ famous accusation – the poet accused Newton of destroying the poetry of the rainbow by explaining the origin of its colours, dispelling nature’s great mystery.
Dawkins goes on to argue that, in fact, science makes the world even more beautiful, because when you start to understand exactly how the world works, you can appreciate it for all of its genuine scientific beauty. And he’s got a point.
Now, I’m not the most scientifically-minded guy, although I try to approach things logically – I just don’t necessarily know my quarks from my quasars, like Dawkins does. Nevertheless, his special brand of science is approachable and easy to understand and, in Unweaving the Rainbow, he explains how the world works in a way that enhances its natural beauty. And boy, is nature beautiful.
Sure, it’s not exactly easy-going, but Dawkins communicates his point with authority and aplomb, drawing from a long line of poetic and scientific thinkers to convey his message, a reminder of power of science to open minds and to educate the uneducated.
This might not be the best book to read if you’re superstitious, religious or otherwise inclined to use that spurious word ‘faith‘ to defend whichever system you believe in, although it might just change your mind about a few things. You’d be better placed to read Unweaving the Rainbow if you prefer to rely on solid facts, as the compelling concepts it contains will only enhance your appreciation of the world that you already look at objectively.
Dawkins’ explanation of statistics and probability theory is also a highlight, and there are some true gems hidden inside the manuscript. Well worth a read, it’s truly mind-expanding.