I’m currently reading this book. My second Richard Dawkins title, the first being “The God Delusion”. “An Appetite for Wonder” is an intimate memoir of the childhood and development of iconic scientist and renowned atheist, Richard Dawkins.
The book covers the first half of his life up until the publishing of his first book and masterpiece, “The Selfish Gene”. Richard Dawkins is a bit of a controversial character especially here in Malaysia where “God” and religion are very much part of our daily life. He provides an alternate look at things, looking at our very existence from a scientific manner.
Born in Nairobi, he studied zoology at Oxford and taught at Berkeley before returning to Oxford as a professor. The publication of The Selfish Gene in 1976 sparked a revolution in biology and made Dawkins a celebrity well beyond his field of study. The autobiography itself offers a revealing look at a man, rather than an established celebrity, searching for the course his life will take; but the book is much more than that, thanks to the wealth of fascinating asides. Even a simple thing like discussing his grandparents becomes, in Dawkins’ hands, a launching pad for a discussion of linguistics and evolutionary history. As he moves through his life, Dawkins glides along for a while and then, suddenly, stops to take a really good look at an idea that appeals to him (such as, for example, how we recognize an object as solid, as opposed to markings on a two-dimensional surface). More than a fascinating life story, the book delivers a revealing glimpse of a mind in action.
If you are ready to challenge your beliefs, pick up The Selfish Gene or The God Delusion. You can also watch some of his debates especially with John Lennox on YouTube.