Thursday, September 29, 2011
I often come across people who don't want to know the truth about some things because they are afraid that knowing too much about something will take away its magic. There is sort of this attitude that, if we don't know too much about some things, they will remain more magical and interesting and if we learn too much about them it will somehow spoil the mystery and the fun.
The desire to be consciously not curious about something is a decidedly anti-scientific stance and misses the fact that reality is much more fascinating and engaging than mythology or mysticism.
The British geneticist and evolutionary biologist, J.B.S. Haldane, had it right when he said, "I have no doubt that in reality the future will be vastly more surprising than anything I can imagine. Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose."
In The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True (right), coming out in October 2011, another British evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins, (left) writes that while magical explanations of natural phenomena are twaddle, the laws of science and reason can be "magical": that is, "deeply moving, exhilarating: something that gives us goose bumps, something that makes us feel more fully alive."
Dawkins is well known for books like The Selfish Gene (1976) and the controversial The God Delusion (2006). The Magic of Reality is a comic book written by Dawkins and illustrated by comic artist Dave McKean. It is not just for children, but for adults as well.
The book is also available in an interactive iPad version.
Click on the heading above to see a short video of Dawkins talking about "The Magic of Reality."