A Devil's Chaplain: Selected Essays

Dawkins, Richard; Menon, Latha (editor)

Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2003
ISBN 10: 0297829734 / ISBN 13: 9780297829737
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Octavo in black cloth in white pictorial dust jacket; 264 p., 24 cm. Signed by Richard Dawkins. Near fine(+) copy in near fine clipped dust jacket. Signed by author on title page; lightest edgewear to dust jacket; length-long crease to spine of DJ; light discoloration/white spots to rear board; else excellent copy; pages are fine, bright and free of marks and creases; binding is tight and square. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: A reviewer wrote of The Selfish Gene that it was 'rich with metaphor, passionate arguments, wry humour, colourful examples and unexpected connections'. This intriguing selection of Richard Dawkins large output of articles, lectures, individual chapters and reviews demonstrates the breadth of his interests, the sheer quality of his writing and the challenging nature of his trenchantly held views. Whether writing on the many aspects of evolution or on science in general - the importance of science, the poetry of science, the fact that science is inspiring (or ought to be) - he is often provocative, sometimes outrageous, never less than highly influential.

Review: Richard Dawkins has an opinion on everything biological, it seems, and in A Devil's Chaplain, everything is biological. Dawkins weighs in on topics as diverse as ape rights, jury trials, religion, and education, all examined through the lens of natural selection and evolution. Although many of these essays have been published elsewhere, this book is something of a greatest-hits compilation, reprinting many of Dawkins' most famous recent compositions. They are well worth re-reading. His 1998 review of Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont's Fashionable Nonsense is as bracing an indictment of academic obscurantism as the book it covered, although the review reveals some of Dawkins' personal biases as well. Several essays are devoted to skillfully debunking religion and mysticism, and these are likely to raise the hackles of even casual believers. Science, and more specifically evolutionary science, underlies each essay, giving readers a glimpse into the last several years' debates about the minutiae of natural selection. In one moving piece, Dawkins reflects on his late rival Stephen Jay Gould's magnum opus, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, and clarifies what it was the two Darwinist heavyweights actually disagreed about. While the collection showcases Dawkins' brilliance and intellectual sparkle, it brings up as many questions as it answers. As an ever-ardent champion of science, honest discourse, and rational debate, Dawkins will obviously relish the challenge of answering them. --Therese Littleton

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Bibliographic Details

Title: A Devil's Chaplain: Selected Essays
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Publication Date: 2003
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Near Fine(+)
Edition: First edition, third impression.

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