There is no doubt that Richard Dawkins has an appetite for wonder. The title of his memoir tells us so. If that’s too cheeky, then let me hasten to add that I have no doubt he does have an appetite for wonder. While I haven’t read Dawkins’ memoir, I have read several of his other books and he is a writer who narrates his wonder at existence not merely with eloquent prose, but with an intoxicating giddiness that borders on the spiritual.
So if the concern is the processes and structures of the material universe — that which is conventionally described as “nature” — Dawkins’ appetite for wonder can stand with the best of them.
Here’s the problem: when it comes to matters that transcend the precincts of nature — including the fields of ethics, metaphysics, and theology — Dawkins’ wonder seems to hit a brick wall. Suddenly, the same individual who is intoxicated by the wonder of one sphere of existence, exhibits a bewildering confidence about, and disinterest in, the nature of existence beyond this realm.
In my book, that still qualifies as an appetite for wonder, but it is an appetite that is tragically limited.