A Devil's Chaplain
First edition cover
|Published||2003 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin)|
|Media type||Print, e-book|
|LC Class||QH366.2 .D373 2003|
|Preceded by||Unweaving the Rainbow|
|Followed by||The Ancestor's Tale|
A Devil's Chaplain, subtitled Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science, and Love is a 2003 book of selected essays and other writings by Richard Dawkins. Published five years after his previous book Unweaving the Rainbow, it contains essays covering subjects including pseudoscience, genetic determinism, memetics, terrorism, religion and creationism. A section of the book is devoted to Dawkins' late adversary Stephen Jay Gould.
The book's title is a reference to a quotation of Charles Darwin, made in reference to Darwin's lack of belief in how "a perfect world" was designed by God: "What a book a devil's chaplain might write on the clumsy, wasteful, blundering low and horridly cruel works of nature!"
- This was written in 1857 as Darwin worked towards the publication of his theory, and has been related to his memories of his time at university when an "Infidel home missionary tour" by the Reverend Robert Taylor warned Darwin of the dangers of dissent from church doctrine. While Taylor was subsequently nicknamed "the devil's chaplain," the term goes back further, and Geoffrey Chaucer has his Parson say "Flatereres been the develes chapelleyns, that syngen evere placebo" in a reference to Placebo (at funeral)."
- "Darwin's child", profile by Simon Hattenstone, The Guardian, 10 February 2003.
- McKie, Robin (9 March 2003). "Dawkins versus the priests and New Age shamans? No contest". The Observer.