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richard dawkins and doing what you love

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A friend of mine continuously recommends books to me, predominantly ones that deal with the interface between religion and science, most of which so far have been rubbish. They’ve finally recommeded one that I like, ‘The God Delusion’ by Richard Dawkins. The main reason that I like this book, is that it doesn’t get any science obviously wrong and I can both agree and disagree with many parts of it (I like books that force me to think for myself).

The strongest parts of the book are the sections where Dawkins writes about both the wonder of science and about scientific explanations of how things are. I think that the biggest reason why these are the strongest parts of the book is that Dawkins, who is the Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, is passionate about his job. He has developed a career specialising in explaining the modern science of evolutionary biology in much the same way that Stephen Hawking has developed a career specialising in explaining the modern science of cosmology. Dawkins wants us to understand the scientific method and how it applies to biology and you get the distinct impression that he would want us to understand it even if he wasn’t paid to do so. He is an excellent example of a person who is in exactly the right career for himself at this moment in time.

Being happy, is I think more important than being wealthy. Being in a job that you would want to do, even if it didn’t pay you is an extremely good way of being happy and one that is open to everyone. I don’t think that I could take as much flak as Dawkins in the line of duty so to speak, but I find my own job deeply satisfying. Getting your job right, really taking the time to find something that you are passionate about is highly recommended.

PS The next book I plan to read is ‘The Dawkins Delusion’ by Alastair McGrath, lest anyone accuse me of not being open minded.

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10 comments for “richard dawkins and doing what you love”

  1. Plonkee, I like you more by the minute.

    Posted by shadox | September 13, 2007, 3:53 am
  2. Dawkins’ “Selfish Gene” is my very favorite book. :)

    Posted by paidtwice | September 13, 2007, 4:01 am
  3. This is a subject of some moderate obsession for me since I don’t love what I do for a living - corporate governance - and I’m always impressed by people who do (like you, plonkee). Dawkins or anyone who is staking out a relatively controversial position for the sake of passion about that position are always interesting.

    Probably unrelated to the main thrust of your post, but you made me think of it anyway - it seems to me that Dawkins is part of an unfortunate trend of increasingly harsh attacks by partisans against other partisans. In the US the antipathy between science and religion is getting stronger and stronger (or so it seems to me). It’s unfortunate that the title of Dawkins’ book is usually thrown around in fury by religious people, who I doubt have read it, just as many non-religious people have not read the Bible (or the Koran, etc.). I am not religious, but I have read the Bible, the Koran, the Buddhist Scriptures, etc. Not that I’m anything special, but to make a bad analogy I don’t want to tell people I don’t like Thai food if I’ve never eaten it myself.

    All I’m getting at is that it’s admirable that you’re going to go through two books on diametrically opposed sides of an issue - having an open mind is not the easiest thing to do, but it’s a worthwhile goal.

    Posted by Brip Blap | September 13, 2007, 10:32 am
  4. @bripblap
    Its interesting that you should mention the attacks between some scientists and religious folk. Dawkins is of course British, and therefore somewhat of an anomaly as there is a deep and abiding apathy towards religion in the UK. He’s generally perceived as getting over excited about nothing in this particular book.

    I personally think that having an open mind is a really important quality, and one that I struggle with daily. Its probably just as well that I practice on books.

    Posted by plonkee | September 13, 2007, 10:54 am
  5. I agree. “The Selfish Gene” is one of my favorite books on evolutionary biology. I’m glad my old bio teacher made me read it 12 years ago. :)

    Posted by Wallet Rehab - Ways to make money on-line | September 16, 2007, 7:45 am
  6. I have a buddy who is a high school teacher and he *LOVES* his job (at the end of the summer he’s excited to go back to work).

    I envy him greatly.

    Posted by Mr. Cheap | September 18, 2007, 12:35 am

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