A Devil's Chaplain by Richard Dawkins; DNA: The Secret of Life by James D Watson - review by A C Grayling

A C Grayling

Evolutionary Minds

A Devil's Chaplain

By

Weidenfeld & Nicolson 264pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

DNA: The Secret of Life

By

Heinemann 446pp £20 order from our bookshop
 

IT WAS WITH relief that I found one thing to disagree with in Richard Dawkins's A Devil's Chaplain. He is sceptical about the value of juries, having thrice served on one. My own experience in this respect suggests that an almost random grouping of twelve adults produces a heartening aggregate of good sense, responsibility and concern, and I would rather entrust my safety to a jury than to a judge, who is one member of a self-selected group too likely to have been made cynical and cross by over-exposure to bad people and bad occurrences.

But this is a mere aside. In every other way Dawkins's book is outstandingly good. It is a collection of sane, educative essays, their various subjects illuminated by a warm sense of humour, a profound love of science and the natural world it investigates, and a trenchant opposition to nonsense

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