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The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  23,519 ratings  ·  1,760 reviews
Magic takes many forms. Supernatural magic is what our ancestors used in order to explain the world before they developed the scientific method. The ancient Egyptians explained the night by suggesting the goddess Nut swallowed the sun. The Vikings believed a rainbow was the gods’ bridge to earth. The Japanese used to explain earthquakes by conjuring a gigantic catfish that ...more
Hardcover, 271 pages
Published October 4th 2011 by Free Press (first published 2011)
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Tony Maggs There is no such thing as 'before the big bang'. The start of the universe was the start of time, time doesn't exist outside the universe. Anything ou…moreThere is no such thing as 'before the big bang'. The start of the universe was the start of time, time doesn't exist outside the universe. Anything outside the universe can have no effect on what is inside the universe. If some form of god exists outside the universe it doesn't matter because any being outside can have no effect on anything in the universe. It really is a tough one to get your head around.
As for aliens, that's more a question of probability than belief, given the number of worlds in the universe there is a very high probability some others contain intelligent life. Conversely, we have studied quite a large chunk of the universe in great detail and found not one single piece of evidence for a god or gods.(less)
Daniel Goodreads does not store copies of books for users to download. You can purchase a copy from one of the links under "GET A COPY" heading. You may be a…moreGoodreads does not store copies of books for users to download. You can purchase a copy from one of the links under "GET A COPY" heading. You may be able to borrow a copy from a library. Many libraries have systems for lending out ebooks online now. (less)

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Ahmad Sharabiani
‭The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True, Richard Dawkins

The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True is a 2011 book by the British biologist Richard Dawkins, with illustrations by Dave McKean. The book was released on 15 September 2011 in the United Kingdom, and on 4 October 2011 in the United States.

It is a graphic science book aimed primarily at children and young adults. Dawkins has stated that the book is intended for those aged around 12 years and upwards, and that wh
Mar 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
To be sure, I need to be clear as to WHY I like this book. It's not like any of the science or reasoning in it is new or unusual, or that I haven't heard many similar reasonings here or there all the way from high school physics courses all the way to certain and strange movies I've enjoyed.

Why I do love this book is simple: it's clear, concise, and it does a very admirable job of setting up magical thinking in all its flavors against the fundamentals of science.

It's a great primer. I think I wo
Brian Clegg
Sep 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A surprising number of scientists feel that Richard Dawkins does the public understanding of science real harm through his belligerent attacks on religion, which turn off a good half of his potential audience, but no one can doubt that he has a talent for getting science, particularly biology, across to a general readership. This is his first attempt at a children's book (or rather a 'family' book as it is aimed at a wider readership) and it has much to praise.

The Magic of Reality is a solid fee
Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone whose knowledge of science is a bit shaky.
I am still sizzling with delight over my latest Dawkins' read - having soaked up its information like a hungry sponge. It leaves the reader totally awed and dazzled with the world. I’m humming with it. The birds (plump with protons and neurons, atoms and molecules) are singing louder than ever in the garden, and that amazingly mysterious and wonderful star that we call the sun, (roaring away converting hydrogen to helium), shines even more brilliantly in the blue sky as we make a sedate path rou ...more
Sep 15, 2012 rated it liked it
I'm a big fan of Dawkins ever since reading The Selfish Gene many many years ago. However, I was very disppointed in this book, which is so basic that it shouldn't contain surprises for anyone who graduated from high school. There were no surprises and nothing really new - the most interesting part for me was how each chapter is introduced with an example of a myth that people have made up to explain some natural phenomenon, which the rest of the chapter then explains. I found the majority of it ...more
Oct 12, 2011 rated it liked it
I live in the United States in the 21st century. There is no greater danger to our species and our civilization right now than religious crazies. How can we ask our businesses to change the way they do business so as to prevent climate change if half of the country doesn't believe in scientific evidence? Or worse yet, if they expect a big bearded man to come down and bail us out if things get too bad?

What about the people who believe that the world will end, in the next few years, with a war in
Darian Onaciu
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As a wee child - no, I'm not Scottish, I just like how 'wee' sounds - I was introverted and could rarely feel at ease while playing with other children.
Unfortunately that was a problem because, being human, I also didn't enjoy being left out of activities. All that changed when I discovered the magic of reading books - no, I didn't turn into a robot from the Dungeon Dimensions.

Now, don't get me wrong, I wasn't a hermit and got my periodic dose of socialization - yup, sounds cringeworthy - it's j
Hanum Salsabila
Aug 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 ⭐
I already read too much fiction this month, so i would try with some academic book. This book is so good. Dawkins made it quite fun, most parts of this book aren’t boring at all. The way he narrated this book is really humble, he isn’t patronized us the reader, and he admitted that he still didn’t understand some part and somehow made himself equal to the reader (of course he isn’t).

However, i found a few other parts of the book is a little bit boring. Like the atom part, the explanation is
Nihal Vrana
Aug 25, 2013 rated it did not like it
This was the worst popular science book that I have read. It was lazily-written with no real structure rather than flimsy chapter beginnings with myths. The information in it was extremely random and superficial. I'm sorry to say this but it is nothing more than a rant of a famous person than a popular science book with an aim to inform its audience.

I used to enjoy Dawkins' books back in the day; when they were about topics which he has a good grasp of (i.e. evolution). But I really don't like
Charlie Hasler
Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this read very much. I have read The God Delusion but that is the only other Dawkins book I have read.

I enjoy Dawkins "right between the eyes" style of writing. This is a superb read, very interesting and complicated science is broken down so even knuckle draggers like me can understand it.

Oct 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
Great book: clear and accessible (not sure of the best age group, though). Kids are naturally curious and fascinated by how the world works. They're also susceptible to all kinds of nonsense, of course. This much-needed book fill s a gap between simplistic kids' books and adult science books. Also, we need books that help kids understand, not just the facts of the world, but how we know them and, more generally, how do we know whether something's true or not? And I should think this book would b ...more
I actually wanted to give this book a 2 and a half but it didn't work haha, This is pretty good but you must be really concentrated and thats kinda hard to not think of other things when you read it. Maybe i am to young to understand everything so i think i will try again in a couple of years! ...more
Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
Jun 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jeanette (Ms. Feisty) by: Caroline
Shelves: science, nonfiction

A good dose of reality for any youngster patient enough to read it. It's written in a style that is meant to help early adolescents make sense of the things they've been taught, and determine which ones are fact-based. It's a nice introduction to critical thinking, with a lot of science, a little history, and a smattering of myth. Be prepared to have your religious teachings challenged. This IS Richard Dawkins, after all.
Sep 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science, evolution
A note for all my goodreads friends, if you like my review please go to Amazon and click the like button. It would help my "reviewer cred". Thanks and enjoy this wonderful book.

The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True by Richard Dawkins

"The Magic of Reality" is the latest contribution by evolutionary-biologist icon Richard Dawkins. Professor Dawkins is on a mission of education and in this enlightening book he reaches a younger audience by introducing science like only he can. In one
Camelia Rose
In these days it's easy to find good factual science and technology books, but hard to find good scientific reasoning books, especially for young readers. I am glad to have found The Magic of Reality : How We Know What's Really True. Richard Dawkins is a British biologist. The book includes 12 chapters. Topics include evolution, natural selection, biology, cosmology and physics, but mostly importantly, what is scientific reasoning and how to tell reality from myth and imaginations.

The message is
Jason Mills
Sep 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dawkins fans, inquisitive young folks
Dawkins here seeks to enthuse young minds about science: not only with its discoveries but as an approach to the world that is far more thrilling and fascinating - not to say productive - than the idle stories and easy answers of myth and religion. Indeed, it is inherently an encouragement to learn and to challenge one's intellect, rather than to remain ignorant.

Each chapter addresses a question about the world: What are things made of? What is a rainbow? Dawkins commences in each case by recoun
Aug 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I don't think I can put it any better than the quote from Ricky Gervais on the back of this book:

"I wanted to write this book, but I wasn't smart enough. Now that I've read it, I am."

This is an excellent book even for those who like me, were generally familiar with most of the concepts tackled within it already. The trick to knowing whether you really understand something or not is whether or not you can explain it to someone else and have them understand it too. Before reading this book I'm not
Cassandra Kay Silva
Jan 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science
I didn't like the approach of this book. I liked the God Delusion and I liked some of his other books on evolution especially The Greatest Show on Earth, but this one is kind of a bad combo of the two. He basically pits Religious and Mythical tradition against "the Magic of Science and the reality of Nature". Whether he meant to do that or not this is definitely the way it comes across and I think this is a terrible approach. I am a great lover of reading religion and mythical tradition for what ...more
Mar 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
Whilst I would not dare to fault Dawkins' science, to describe his grasp of the role of myth and story in social evolution as 'limited' would, yet again, be generous.

Philip Pullman is quoted in the cover: 'The clearest and most beautifully written introduction to science I've ever read.' Perhaps Mr Pullman read a pre-publication edition in which the writing wasn't dominated by a 1950's avuncular style, peppered with complex concepts and language, the understanding of which is assumed. Also to c
Christian McKay
May 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science
Hmm . . .

Okay, let's get this out of the way first. Dave McKean's art is, as always, on point. It's worth the price of admission. I do find it strange to see a man, who brought so many of Neil Gaiman's fantastical works to life, turn around and help another guy DISPROVE FAIRIES FOR SOME REASON. But he's unbelievably good at lending visuals to big ideas. His illustrations of the myths Dawkins is shitting all over are just as captivating as his illustrations of scientific principles.

Dawkins' pros
Udit Nair
Apr 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
After a long period of time I picked up Dawkins's work and it was indeed a delightful reading. Though largely the book is catering to younger audiences but still has learning for all ages. He delves into the magic of reality which is indeed the science. Here is an opening to the book:-
" The third meaning of magic is the one I mean in my title: poetic magic. We are moved to tears by a beautiful piece of music and we describe the performance as ‘magical’. We gaze up at the stars on a dark night wi
Dyary Abubakr
Mar 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: richard-dawkins
Magic is a slippery word: Dawkins wrote it is commonly used in three different ways, and the first thing I must do is distinguish between them. I'll call the first one 'supernatural magic', the second one 'stage magic' and the third one (which is my favourite meaning, and the one I intend in my title) 'poetic magic' What I hope to show you in this book is that reality – the facts of the real world as understood through the methods of science – is magical in this third sense, the poetic sense, t ...more
Aug 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
I enjoy reading and learning about myths. I devour a good ghost story. I actively seek out tales of the supernatural. But I also believe that the greatest magic of all is the magic of reality, and for that reason, I love science.

This was a library copy, but after reading, it's one I'll purchase if only so I can have it around for the kids to thumb through. In fact, it is written in such a basic and easily digestible format that I am considering using in my home school curriculum.

This beautifully
Kacey Kells
Aug 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
« We should always be open-minded, but the only good reason to believe that something exists is if there is a real evidence that it does ».
Richard Dawkins’ aim is to promote rationalism and the scientific method (i.e. proposing a model and then testing it), rejecting myths and the supernatural. Hence, he addresses key issues such as: the evolution of species and natural selection, organic chemistry and Carbon based life, atoms (“what things are made of”), rainbows and the dispersion of light, t
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent book by Dawkins narrated by him & Lalla Ward, one of my favorite narrating teams. Dawkins covers a lot of basic science with its history. He tells a few of the legends about what various peoples around the globe have thought about natural phenomena & how science has found out what really takes place. It really is magical, in a poetic sense & he shows that very well. The universe is a fascinating place with a lot of questions remaining to be answered.

He doesn't beat on religion
Feb 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book covers a lot of basic science topics in brief, serving as a good, clear, basic introduction to evolution, natural selection, genetics, molecular physics, cosmology, astronomy, plate tectonics and probability. While the stated audience for this book is 12-year olds, I would say it also makes a good read for intelligent adults whose science grounding is poor. The biggest current danger isn't kids not getting some education, but rather growing up into adults who falsely believe in religiou ...more
Jim Whitefield
Sep 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Armed with the foreknowledge that this book is written to appeal to quite young readers as well as other ages, you will not feel Dawkins is as condescending in tone as you might otherwise be drawn to conclude. In my opinion, he does a marvellous job of writing in a fashion that will entertain and retain the interest of youngsters, whilst at the same time enthralling those of us who are of a much older generation. Beautifully illustrated throughout and with numerous wonderful photos as well, the ...more
I'm not entirely sure why I still read Dawkins' work. I think he's an extremely intelligent person, of course, and I've enjoyed reading books that focus on science by him -- I love The Ancestor's Tale, for example. But I hate the way that he cannot stop poking at religion, and I expected to hate it even more in a book called The Magic of Reality.

Actually, he's more respectful than usual. It all seems rather toned down, since it's aimed at a younger audience than his other books (which is somewha
Nov 14, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: phd-studies
A handbook for junior sceptics and parents not wanting their children growing up deluded about gods, myths or magic, Dawkins covers a lot of ground from earliest traces of life on earth to the reason rainbows appear in the sky, plus how the planets and stars maintain their relative position to our rotating/revolving peppercorn. There are a few fields he dares not enter, such as quarks and other subatomic processes, which he leaves out of the book. Most chapters seem as backwards as the title: in ...more
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