wilderthan: ((AxelRoxas) Together)
[personal profile] wilderthan
I love this book. It's not the kind of thing I usually read, because I prefer fiction to non-fiction by far, at least when I have a choice about it. And I really, really loathe Dawkins' The God Delusion, largely because of the tone he takes toward people who are religious believers. But The Ancestor's Tale is mostly just science, and it's written in an accessible, almost conversational way. It actually has literary ancestors (ha), in the form of The Canterbury Tales, which Dawkins chose as his format to tell the tale of a pilgrimage through history to find our ancestors. He does slip in some references to his own beliefs, but here they aren't too offensive or intrusive.

When I say 'accessible', I don't mean 'dumbed down'. The science and maths and the theory and the sheer detail is here. I read a couple of reviews that people found it boring once it got to a certain point because there's 'too much detail' about things like bacteria. Which I think is more of a 'your mileage may vary' attitude than anything -- I think Dawkins gave the space to the bacteria that they deserve, all things considered.

There's a lot of speculation in here, too -- but so much of science is speculation. Dawkins is fairly clear about when he can and can't 'prove' things, and explains the methods by which they can be proved if they can. You don't have to have a huge knowledge of science or maths to understand -- some, and an interest in it, I suppose, but not so very very much.


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