The Magic of Reality
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13-11-2011, 10:46 AM
The Magic of Reality
Just read "The Magic of Reality" by Richard Dawkins and highly recommend it. It was written for children and adults which make it ideal for those of us that love science but don't have any formal education in it.

Each chapter covers a certain topic: who was the first person, what is the sun, when and how did everything begin, what is a rainbow, etc. At the beginning of each chapter Dawkins discusses the many mythical beliefs people have thought up to explain the event. Then he details the real explanation backed by scientific evidence.

Cleared up a lot for this Dad and got his son thinking about reality.
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13-11-2011, 11:02 AM
RE: The Magic of Reality
Just got it a week ago for my girls. Excellent book, and it was hard to put down for all three of us!

I highly recommend it.

Just visiting.

-SR
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25-11-2011, 12:02 PM
RE: The Magic of Reality
Hi, I saw this thread and signed up specifically to ask a question about it. It's my first post on these forums.

I've heard good things about this book and I really want to buy it for my godson for Christmas. He's very bright, and he's always looking through my science books and asking questions about how the brain works and how far away stars are.
But his parents are very religious and they are raising him Christian. I don't want to seem like I'm giving him "atheist" reading material. He's not my son and I wouldn't dream of doing something like that anyway.

My question is, to those who have read this book, does it have any suggestions that might make it look like that's what I'm trying to do? Does anything in the book suggest Christianity is a myth? Is it subtle enough so that she might overlook it? Any kind of help on this matter would be helpful.

And an unrelated question, does anyone know if I can find it in French?
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25-11-2011, 12:04 PM
RE: The Magic of Reality
Did the forum eat my post or is it awaiting moderation?
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25-11-2011, 12:26 PM
RE: The Magic of Reality
(25-11-2011 12:04 PM)Smooshmonster Wrote:  Did the forum eat my post or is it awaiting moderation?
Awaiting moderation, But that won't be necessary any more from now on.

Hi and welcome.

Observer

Agnostic atheist
Secular humanist
Emotional rationalist
Disclaimer: Don’t mix the personal opinion above with the absolute and objective truth. Remember to think for yourself. Thank you.
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25-11-2011, 12:56 PM
RE: The Magic of Reality
(25-11-2011 12:02 PM)Smooshmonster Wrote:  Hi, I saw this thread and signed up specifically to ask a question about it. It's my first post on these forums.

I've heard good things about this book and I really want to buy it for my godson for Christmas. He's very bright, and he's always looking through my science books and asking questions about how the brain works and how far away stars are.
But his parents are very religious and they are raising him Christian. I don't want to seem like I'm giving him "atheist" reading material. He's not my son and I wouldn't dream of doing something like that anyway.

My question is, to those who have read this book, does it have any suggestions that might make it look like that's what I'm trying to do? Does anything in the book suggest Christianity is a myth? Is it subtle enough so that she might overlook it? Any kind of help on this matter would be helpful.

And an unrelated question, does anyone know if I can find it in French?

This may be a little tricky. Dawkins does, in fact, allude to religion being a fairy tale throughout the book. He does try very hard to keep things secular as opposed to atheist, but there are parts where his true colors inevitably show through. Just one example:
At the very beginning of chapter 12, "What is a Miracle", there is a picture of a rabbit, running water through a top hat, and wine coming out the bottom. He directly references Jesus turning water into wine, which will likely upset most christians.

Quote taken from page 247:
Quote:"..there is a legend that, about 2000 years ago, a wandering Jewish preacher called Jesus was at a wedding where they ran out of wine. So he called for some water and used miraculous powers to turn the water into wine - very good wine, as the story goes on to tell us. People who would laugh at the idea that a pumpkin could turn into a coach, and who know perfectly well that silk hankerchiefs don't really turn into rabbits, are quite happy to believe that a prophet turned water into wine or, as devotees of another religion would have it, flew to heaven on a winged horse."

There are more examples of this type of quote throughout the book, but I found this one really stood out as "anti-religous", especially when I tried to empathize with a christian reader.

My advice is to get the book, read it yourself (as I think should always be done before giving a book to a child, not to censor, but to give you a better perspective for discussion), then make the call based on how well you know your family, and how strictly they adhere to christian doctrine.

Just visiting.

-SR
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25-11-2011, 01:30 PM
RE: The Magic of Reality
I had the same question as Smooshmonster about giving this book to my 12 year old nephews, being raised as True Believers. But, I had to come to the decision that they are not my kids and while I can influence, it is not my role to undermine the choices their parents make for them with all good intention. Although I have considered giving them the "Golden Compass" series, since as a True Believer, I was told this Godless series was even more diabolical than Harry Potter. Since my nephews are allowed to read Harry Potter, I might be able to slip these fantasy books into their lives and let them think for themselves.

But another question about Professor Dawkins' book...I've had my eye on this for a few weeks now. What ages would be appropriate for The Magic of Reality? I couldn't really tell if it's a "children's bedtime story book" or if it's a bit more substantial than that.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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25-11-2011, 02:21 PM
RE: The Magic of Reality
I'd say it's more substantial. My 14 year old daughter quite enjoyed it, and learned a lot. Her reading level is very high, and the book was perhaps a little simple for her in some respects, but over-all she liked it.

I also read it cover to cover, and found it an easy read, but at the same time, it didn't feel like it was "dumbed down'. It gets my seal of approval.

Just visiting.

-SR
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25-11-2011, 02:33 PM (This post was last modified: 25-11-2011 02:42 PM by Smooshmonster.)
RE: The Magic of Reality
Thank you all for the replies!

I think I agree with the previous poster then, the book won't be appropriate for other people's Christian children. Which is a shame because I think he would really like it.
Thanks especially, Stark-Raving, for the quote and the example. I think I will get it for myself first.

I think the Golden Compass is a great idea. It's "just a story", in a parallel universe, and it doesn't seem like a direct attack.

And thanks for approving my account.
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25-11-2011, 03:13 PM
RE: The Magic of Reality
I appreciate your comments and the original question. The other factor in my situation with my nephews is I'm not "out" yet as an atheist with my family members. I can see a someday future discussion with my brother, and the thought in my mind right now is I could explain to him why it would be good for them to read, not as "anti religion" but as Pro Critical Thinking.

Smooshmonster, I like your assessment that sharing a story like Golden Compass seems less threatening, yet it is through story that many of us learn to change our thinking. Good stuff here.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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