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The Blind Watchmaker (Audiobook)

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The Blind Watchmaker, knowledgably narrated by author Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward, is as prescient and timely a book as ever. The watchmaker belongs to the 18th-century theologian William Paley, who argued that just as a watch is too complicated and functional to have sprung into existence by accident, so too must all living things, with their far greater complexity, be The Blind Watchmaker, knowledgably narrated by author Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward, is as prescient and timely a book as ever. The watchmaker belongs to the 18th-century theologian William Paley, who argued that just as a watch is too complicated and functional to have sprung into existence by accident, so too must all living things, with their far greater complexity, be purposefully designed. Charles Darwin's brilliant discovery challenged the creationist arguments; but only Richard Dawkins could have written this elegant riposte. Natural selection - the unconscious, automatic, blind, yet essentially nonrandom process Darwin discovered - is the blind watchmaker in nature.


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The Blind Watchmaker, knowledgably narrated by author Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward, is as prescient and timely a book as ever. The watchmaker belongs to the 18th-century theologian William Paley, who argued that just as a watch is too complicated and functional to have sprung into existence by accident, so too must all living things, with their far greater complexity, be The Blind Watchmaker, knowledgably narrated by author Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward, is as prescient and timely a book as ever. The watchmaker belongs to the 18th-century theologian William Paley, who argued that just as a watch is too complicated and functional to have sprung into existence by accident, so too must all living things, with their far greater complexity, be purposefully designed. Charles Darwin's brilliant discovery challenged the creationist arguments; but only Richard Dawkins could have written this elegant riposte. Natural selection - the unconscious, automatic, blind, yet essentially nonrandom process Darwin discovered - is the blind watchmaker in nature.

30 review for The Blind Watchmaker (Audiobook)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    I should explain the point about the watchmaker. A SMALL ROCK If you’re walking along in the countryside and you come across a rock, you don’t say, well, where the hell did that come from and who made it? It’s a rock. No one cares. There’s no notices stuck on trees or printed in local free newspapers anywhere saying “have you seen this rock? Description – roughly three inches by four by three; last seen in the Dorchester area; undistinctive grey colouring; answers to the name of “rock”; reward – I should explain the point about the watchmaker. A SMALL ROCK If you’re walking along in the countryside and you come across a rock, you don’t say, well, where the hell did that come from and who made it? It’s a rock. No one cares. There’s no notices stuck on trees or printed in local free newspapers anywhere saying “have you seen this rock? Description – roughly three inches by four by three; last seen in the Dorchester area; undistinctive grey colouring; answers to the name of “rock”; reward – please call this number; WE MISS YOU ROCK” . It’s a rock. ON THE OTHER HAND, A GOLD WATCH Now, if you saw a beautiful gold watch on your walk in the countryside, you would say – lo! a watch – I deduce that someone has lost a watch and it is here; also, I furthermore deduce that there must be a God.” Richard Dawkins says that watches, or indeed anything complicated, do not infer the existence of a watchmaker. Or, to use a different analogy, a book, which can be a complicated thing, does not infer the existence of an author. You could say well, here’s a book called The Blind Watchmaker and it says it’s by Richard Dawkins, so we see that Richard Dawkins is the author and he wrote this book, but Richard Dawkins would say NO! it doesn’t, have you not been paying attention, have you been giggling and passing notes in the back row again? EVOLUTION OF THE SEMICOLON What happened is that gradually, over many billions of years, language formed, inconceivably slowly, for instance it took ten million years for commas to evolve out of a full stop, and another ten million for the exotic semi-colon to evolve out of the comma. So this book The Blind Watchmaker (like all other books) evolved slowly. We have fossils to prove this. They show the missing links. We have, for instance, copies of the book which are called The Blond Watchmaker dating from the Devonian period – it took several millions of years for the Blond to evolve into the Blind, you see. I read that Mexican paleontologists recently unearthed a copy called The Bland Watchmaker. Going back further , we find all sorts of evolutionary byways that, because of natural selection, died out eventually. One manuscript from the late Pleistocene period which is currently on display at the University of East Anglia shows a strange hybrid between an early version of The Blind Watchmaker and Alice in Wonderland in which the famous teaparty scene features a pterodactyl, a plesiosaur (so very unlikely) and a crazed archaeopteryx. This unviable literary form did not survive, as we know. Natural selection, although brutal from our limited human perspective, explains the evolution of complex things. RELIGION CANNOT EXPLAIN WHY TWILIGHT IS POPULAR God cannot explain why the book species “Stephanie Myers” and “Dan Brown”, for instance, proliferate wildly in many varied habitats, whilst arguably more beautiful forms like Henry James, Proust, and the Golden Tamarin dwindle to the point where human intervention from libraries and literary professors are the only thing keeping them from sinking into oblivion – no, God cannot explain this. But Richard Dawkins (also known as "Science") can. Sorry, that should be “Richard Dawkins”.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design, Richard Dawkins The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe without Design is a 1986 book by Richard Dawkins, in which the author presents an explanation of, and argument for, the theory of evolution by means of natural selection. عنوانها: ساعتساز نابینا؛ ساعتساز کور؛ نویسنده: ریچارد داوکینز؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز نخست ماه دسامبر سال 2014 میلادی عنوان: ساعتساز نابینا؛ نویسنده: ریچار The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design, Richard Dawkins The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe without Design is a 1986 book by Richard Dawkins, in which the author presents an explanation of, and argument for, the theory of evolution by means of natural selection. عنوانها: ساعتساز نابینا؛ ساعتساز کور؛ نویسنده: ریچارد داوکینز؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز نخست ماه دسامبر سال 2014 میلادی عنوان: ساعتساز نابینا؛ نویسنده: ریچارد داوکینز؛ مترجم: محمود بهزاد؛ شهلا باقری؛ تهران، مازیار، 1388؛ در 383 ص؛ چاپ دوم 1389؛ شابک: 9789645676757؛ چاپ دوم 1389؛ موضوع: تکامل - انتخاب طبیعی - زیست شناسی - سده ی 20 م عنوان: ساعتساز کور؛ نویسنده: ریچارد داوکینز؛ مترجم: ایرج والی پور؛ تهران، ایرج والی پور، 1390؛ در 394 ص؛ شابک: 9789640476932؛ چاپ دوم 1389؛ عنوان کتاب به شکلی متاثر از تشبیهی است، که: کشیش سده ی هجدهم میلادی: «ویلیام پالی»، به کار برده است. تشبیه «پالی» چنین بود که: «حتی اگر شما ندانید که ساعت چه چیزی هست، طراحی چرخ دنده‌ ها، و فنرها، و طرز چینش آنها، در کنار همدیگر، برای یک مقصود خاص، شما را وامی‌دارد که نتیجه بگیرید که: این ساعت باید سازنده‌ ای داشته باشد، کسی که آنرا به منظوری خاص طراحی کرده‌ است؛ سازنده‌ ای که از سازوکار آن آگاه‌ است، و کاربردی برای این طراحی داشته‌ است. اگر این نتیجه‌ گیری در مورد یک ساعت ساده درست باشد، پس آیا کاملاً درست نیست که در مورد چشم، گوش، کلیه، مفصل آرنج، و مغز هم گفته شود، که طراحِ هوشمند و هدفمندی دارند؟ این ساختارهای زیبا، پیچیده، ظریف، و آشکارا طراحی‌شده به مقصود خاص هم باید طراحی، ساعت‌سازی، داشته باشند - که همانا خداست». پایان نقل از کشیش ویلیام پالی. ا. شربیانی

  3. 5 out of 5

    Manny

    Dawkins loves explaining evolutionary theory, and this is one of his best books. My favourite bit is the section on long-tailed birds (peacocks, etc). From the point of view of simple utility, they are rather baffling. What use could you possibly have for that long, stupid tail? But, as Dawkins keeps reminding us, it's not about survival of the species, or even of the individual, but rather of the gene. Suppose there's a sex-linked male gene that disposes towards long tails, and a sex-linked fema Dawkins loves explaining evolutionary theory, and this is one of his best books. My favourite bit is the section on long-tailed birds (peacocks, etc). From the point of view of simple utility, they are rather baffling. What use could you possibly have for that long, stupid tail? But, as Dawkins keeps reminding us, it's not about survival of the species, or even of the individual, but rather of the gene. Suppose there's a sex-linked male gene that disposes towards long tails, and a sex-linked female gene that disposes towards finding long tails attractive. A child born of a union between two individuals carrying these genes will be likely to have both of them. Hence, if it's male, it'll have a long tail, and if it's female it will prefer males with long tails. If this combination becomes common, long-tailed males will have a larger and larger advantage in terms of being preferred by females. Tails will lengthen until the practical downside (being unable to fly, avoid predators, etc) counterbalances the upside of efficiently attracting potential mates. I read this, and suddenly looked at supermodels in a new light. God, they're hot! In fact, if they were any hotter they'd be dead.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Riku Sayuj

    It is a good thing that Dawkins himself takes the trouble to think about which chapters of his books will be of vanishing interest in the near future. Of course, he turned out to be more accurate than he must have wished for. This must be the most boring of all Dawkins’ books, but I do not want to give up on him till I read ‘The Extended Phenotype’ which just might prove to be the best (scientifically) of all his works. With whole chapters devoted to the driest taxonomy problems and to disprovin It is a good thing that Dawkins himself takes the trouble to think about which chapters of his books will be of vanishing interest in the near future. Of course, he turned out to be more accurate than he must have wished for. This must be the most boring of all Dawkins’ books, but I do not want to give up on him till I read ‘The Extended Phenotype’ which just might prove to be the best (scientifically) of all his works. With whole chapters devoted to the driest taxonomy problems and to disproving outdated theories, the book was a massive waste of time once I went past the mildly interesting first half. But, it still provides an opportunity to use Dawkins’ own method of caricature-based argument to paint a caricature of his own positions in ‘The God Delusion’ based on his own vitriolic stands in this book. I will try to examine in detail how Dawkins has betrayed his own principles of scientific grounding and rational rigorousness in The God Delusion by using arguments and structures from this book in the review. Hopefully that will happen by tomorrow...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    As the title's extension spells out, this is a definitive (as of '87) rebuttal against all comers in favor of Darwinism, but don't let my saying so prove it. Read it for yourself. All his arguments are crystal clear, but he takes extra time to caricature the caricature of Darwinists, pointing out exactly how the ad absurdum argument really works while also elucidating the fine points of what Darwinism IS versus what it is NOT. He steps us through the first third of the book showing us how Selectio As the title's extension spells out, this is a definitive (as of '87) rebuttal against all comers in favor of Darwinism, but don't let my saying so prove it. Read it for yourself. All his arguments are crystal clear, but he takes extra time to caricature the caricature of Darwinists, pointing out exactly how the ad absurdum argument really works while also elucidating the fine points of what Darwinism IS versus what it is NOT. He steps us through the first third of the book showing us how Selection works: from an energy standpoint, a competition standpoint, and a sexual standpoint... from the basic building blocks of proteins to more and more complex forms of DNA and the combo cells that collect all the wonderful multicellular creations, including bacteria, that eventually wind up creating us. The descriptions are quite beautiful and clear and all the while, we've got all the foundations for life... without Intelligent Design. The argument is simple, of course. If we can explain everything, and I mean everything that is life and physics, then what purpose does adding a superfluous layer to the explanation serve? This is ten years worth of hate mail for the author, people. He has been beset on all sides with genuinely curious and well-meaning seekers of the god-fearing sort and inundated with screaming lunatics telling him he'll burn in hell for his first book, The Selfish Gene, which, by the way, didn't really give a rat's ass about creationism or the people who support it. It just laid out a very cogent theory that fit all the copious mountains of data in biology. And yet, after that point, a Mr. Dawkins who professes not to want or need a PR team or lawyers, decides to put his foot down and tackle the problem that has reared its muti-angled head in his direction and DEFEND Darwinism. He does so beautifully, I might add. Every step of the way, he defines the complaints with due diligence and proceeds to demolish them sonar-producing batlike grace, with light humor, sharp intellect, and sometimes he makes of his opponents an overzealous meal. Can you blame him? Granted, by this point it's only been a decade of Creationist hate. Give it a decade or a decade and a half more before we see a truly flame worthy attack from Mr.Dawkins. I'm looking forward to seeing some of it in his books. I hope it's there and not just in his interviews which I still haven't seen. Alas. Seriously, though, this book is pretty wonderful for its lucid and quoteworthy passages and vivid descriptions of how Darwinism works, from gene level to the kinds of time-spans that can only be described as geological when it comes to real changes in evolution. I particularly loved the fact that he used computer terminology to describe how our genes are nothing more than complex computers. I've heard this before, of course, but the way he laid it out was particularly enlightening. This stuff is pretty damn great. Just from the science viewpoint, even leaving out the whole defense, it's well worth reading and not nearly as acerbic or rabid as certain other mass-produced troll-attacks make him appear. But then again, I've only read one of his later books, the The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True, which was just a charming bi-modal description of science versus magical thinking which also happened to "gently" draw people away from having to add that extra layer of explanation to reality. :) I guess I'll see what the other books bring, no?

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amirography

    A rather well-written book. I like the writing style of Pr. Dawkins. It was not as challenging as "Selfish gene". But I guess its complexity is pretty relevant to the level of articulation many have. However, it was a great read and made me think more about the topic.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mostephl

    wow and double wow. i read this through and turned back to p.1 to read it again. blind watchmaker has been amazingly influential in the way i think about just about everything- the world, existence, life forms, physics- down to the micro, myself and my craft. it's sent chills down my spine, made me euphoric and angry. the first for finally addressing questions that have long been in my mind (but receive no echo in society as i've known it), the second for the willful repression of information an wow and double wow. i read this through and turned back to p.1 to read it again. blind watchmaker has been amazingly influential in the way i think about just about everything- the world, existence, life forms, physics- down to the micro, myself and my craft. it's sent chills down my spine, made me euphoric and angry. the first for finally addressing questions that have long been in my mind (but receive no echo in society as i've known it), the second for the willful repression of information and large-scale institutionalized dumb-down that is the public school system i grew up in. it makes me want to cry to think that i didn't learn about evolution until i already had a master's degree. i am learning now, though, largely through dawkins, stephen j. gould and others who've been able to bring the complexities of this subject to the laypeople. still angry that whatever my daughter learns about evolution, she'll have to learn from me, a social scientist and by no means an authority. nonetheless, in a college classroom if her professor asks if anyone's heard of darwin, her answer will be a resounding, "yeah!!". small victory, but something. p.s. there's a great, great BBC documentary on Galapagos- highly worth checking out.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Roy Lotz

    Two summers ago, I did myself the favor of reading The Selfish Gene. Well, I didn’t quite read it; rather, I listened to Dawkins and his wife, Lalla Ward, narrate the book, as I took long walks in the forest near my house. Incidentally, I think Dawkins (and, to a slightly lesser extent, Lalla) has a magnificent voice; it’s a pleasure to hear him speak. But that’s a matter of taste; what is not a matter of taste is the quality of that book. Agree or disagree with Dawkins, one must admit that The Two summers ago, I did myself the favor of reading The Selfish Gene. Well, I didn’t quite read it; rather, I listened to Dawkins and his wife, Lalla Ward, narrate the book, as I took long walks in the forest near my house. Incidentally, I think Dawkins (and, to a slightly lesser extent, Lalla) has a magnificent voice; it’s a pleasure to hear him speak. But that’s a matter of taste; what is not a matter of taste is the quality of that book. Agree or disagree with Dawkins, one must admit that The Selfish Gene is a book of the finest quality. Indeed, I must say that I wasn’t quite prepared for how good it was. I was expecting an entertaining book of popular science; what I got was an eloquent, subtle, and powerful book which managed, in a just a couple weeks of long walks, to completely transform my understanding of animal behavior. This book, The Blind Watchmaker—also listened to in a few long walks—is not of the same caliber. But it is quite good. (Well, if it were written by almost anybody except Dawkins himself, I would say it was very good—but I know the heights he can reach.) I know close to nothing about his advocacy of atheism, and frankly I don’t much care, but I think the public has a rare treasure in Dawkins; what other popular biology writer can compare? Dawkins is, to an almost remarkable extent, as much a philosopher as a scientist. This book, as well as his first, is jammed full of thought experiments; Dawkins simply can’t get enough of them. This emphasis on philosophical argumentation allows him, so to speak, to take the reader inside the logic of Darwinism (as well as inside the fuzzy logic of Darwinism’s opponents). He doesn’t simply tell the reader things biologists think—like a reporter sending dispatches from the front lines—but tries to get the layreader to understand exactly why biologists think what they do. As a result, his books can actually be a bit dense and exhausting; but the patient reader is amply rewarded with a deepened understanding. The main reason that this book wasn’t as enjoyable as his first was that Dawkins spends an awful lot of time dealing with contemporary controversies. This was, I believe, a time of the famed ‘Darwin Wars’, when Gould and his followers had highly publicized debates with team Dawkins. Apparently, reporters were very eager to report anything even slightly critical of Darwinian theory—whether it be from taxonomists, paleontologists, or priests—so Dawkins was forced to spend a lot of time on material that, to today’s reader, may be of limited interest. For example, Dawkins becomes almost pedantic in his chapter on punctuated equilibrium, as he argues again and again that Gould is not a ‘true’ saltationist, but only a modified gradualist. Having read Gould, I was personally interested in this; but I would understand if others were not. Perhaps I was not the book’s target audience, as I needed no convincing that Darwinian evolution is both a well-supported and a powerful theory. Nonetheless, Dawkins did manage to clear up some of evolution’s finer point for me. I was particularly excited when (not to take too much credit) Dawkins confirmed a suspicion that I had expressed a few years back, when I was learning about human evolution. I was actually in Kenya, studying with the Leakeys, who—being the Leakeys—had plastic casts of several dozen important hominin fossils in their lab. As my anatomy teacher enjoyed pointing out, the vast majority of hominin fossils for any given species can fit inside a shoebox. Most of the fossils are distorted, broken, or otherwise fragmentary. Yet from these scant remains, paleoanthropologists expend tremendous energy arguing about the hominin family tree. Is this skull cap Homo erectus or Homo habilis? Is this thigh bone from an early homo or a late autralopithecus? Somewhat exasperated by all this ambiguity—about what appeared to me to be a matter of words—I got an idea: what if the idea of ‘species’ itself breaks down in an evolutionary timescale? After all, if we believe that species change via gradual selection one to another, it follows that there must be individuals intermediate between any two given hominin species, and, furthermore, individuals intermediate between the intermediates—and so on. Eureka! Well, it turns out Dawkins (as well as many other, probably) had the very same idea long before; it appears that convergent evolution is even more prevalent among memes than genes. (As a side note, if one believes, like Gould, in punctuated equilibrium, then ‘species’ would still be valid in an evolutionary timescale. Perhaps this is why the paleoanthropologists are still arguing?) I got sidetracked—back to the book. (Speaking of sidetracked, Dawkins is the master of the interesting aside and the lengthy digression; and, even more impressively, he always manages to tie his asides and digressions neatly back into the main theme under discussion.) Well, I’m afraid I don’t have very much more to say, other than this: if you find yourself with a supply of long walks, and need an audiobook as accompaniment, you might as well download Dawkins’s crisp, dry, whispery voice, and deepen your understanding of the flora and fauna around you—whether it be this book or, if you want a real treat, his first.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Simon Cleveland, PhD

    Dawkins is one of my top picks for the most articulate, engaging and proficient scientists I've read to date. The Blind Watchmaker turned out to be a very prolific piece. I was baffled by his logical analogies, most excellent examples and extremely engaging vernacular. In this work, one learns much about the evolutionary adaptations of numerous species, of which the sonar technology of baths, dolphins and other mammals seemed most shocking. His reasoning of what constitutes miracles, probability Dawkins is one of my top picks for the most articulate, engaging and proficient scientists I've read to date. The Blind Watchmaker turned out to be a very prolific piece. I was baffled by his logical analogies, most excellent examples and extremely engaging vernacular. In this work, one learns much about the evolutionary adaptations of numerous species, of which the sonar technology of baths, dolphins and other mammals seemed most shocking. His reasoning of what constitutes miracles, probability theory and reasoning behind the drawback of the Lamark's theory of acquired characteristics is exceptionally enticing. The book should be a required high-school reading. A very, very high recommendation.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This book was okay, but since I already am convinced evolution occurs by natural selection, I felt like he was not preaching to the choir, but trying to convince the choir. Of course, I got tired of it after a while (but I had to keep going, because I had to read it for a class). He comes up with many different arguments/theories for how evolution/natural selection could occur, many of which are interesting, but I would just rather read a science book rather than a philosophical book on evolutio This book was okay, but since I already am convinced evolution occurs by natural selection, I felt like he was not preaching to the choir, but trying to convince the choir. Of course, I got tired of it after a while (but I had to keep going, because I had to read it for a class). He comes up with many different arguments/theories for how evolution/natural selection could occur, many of which are interesting, but I would just rather read a science book rather than a philosophical book on evolution. For instance, I recommend The Beak of the Finch by Jonathan Weiner, which shows how scientists study evolution and natural selection in action.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Max

    Having thoroughly enjoyed Dawkins’ outstanding The Selfish Gene, my initial impression of The Blind Watchmaker was a bit of a letdown. Dawkins wrote the book to counter creationist thinking, but for a firm believer in Darwinian evolution, his lengthy arguments were unnecessary. However, if Dawkins converted any creationists, I would consider the book a great success. With that said, there were a number of things I did like. Below are some items that caught my attention. Darwin’s concept of gradua Having thoroughly enjoyed Dawkins’ outstanding The Selfish Gene, my initial impression of The Blind Watchmaker was a bit of a letdown. Dawkins wrote the book to counter creationist thinking, but for a firm believer in Darwinian evolution, his lengthy arguments were unnecessary. However, if Dawkins converted any creationists, I would consider the book a great success. With that said, there were a number of things I did like. Below are some items that caught my attention. Darwin’s concept of gradual evolution overturned the ideas of the catastrophists, who believed the earth and its creatures were formed by sudden drastic changes. Gradual evolution was then challenged by saltationists who believed large genetic changes or macro-mutations could explain much of evolution. A more refined view is that of Stephen Jay Gould who posited punctuated equilibrium. This view recognized varying rates of change, periods of relative stasis with intervals of rapid modification. Keep in mind rapid was on a geologic time scale where 50,000 years is a short time. Thus Gould’s rapid change could still have evolved step-by-step in line with Darwin. The effect of gradualism that struck me was the notion that speciation is contingent on the demise of intermediate individuals. Otherwise one could not tell where one species began and another ended. An upshot of Dawkins’ idea concerns our own connection with our ancestors. The view of chimpanzees as property is made more acceptable because there are no living intermediaries that show our close relationship. This made me wonder how Neanderthals would be treated if some were found alive. Would they be treated like chimpanzees as a different species? Since they are beings who can successfully interbreed with Homo sapiens, would they be given the same rights? Would Christians consider them as individuals with souls that should be saved? I enjoyed Dawkins explanation of the development of the eye in support of gradualism. The book’s title comes from a pre-Darwin argument that if one found a watch, one would have to assume someone made it. The watch is too intricate to have formed naturally. Post-Darwin, like the watch, some held that the eye was so complex as to defy gradual evolution. Dawkins counters. He takes us from a cell with a light sensitive spot to a creature with several such cells that is helped by this sense of light or dark. Then if the light sensitive cells are recessed, the creature can tell the direction of the shadow. If the recess takes on a cuplike shape, this sense of the light’s direction is enhanced. Next if the walls of the cup build up and protrude partially over the cup, a pinhole camera is formed casting an image on the cup. Then, protecting the cup by extending a membrane over the pinhole forms a lens. And so on… I enjoyed the section on bats and echolocation. Dawkins also offers a reasonable explanation of how this seemingly amazing ability could develop. Dolphins, whales and some birds have independently developed this use of sound showing such development not to be quite as extraordinary as one might think. Dawkins pondering of how bats experience this sense I found fascinating. Do the nerve impulses get mapped by the brain to a model similar to the one we experience as vision? And then there is the fish that senses its environment from disruption to an electrical field – elctrolocation. How is this sense perceived? Another intriguing topic was how sexual selection augments natural selection. Unlike environmental factors which wax and wane in intensity, sexual selection forms a positive feedback loop. A female bird’s preference for long tails in her mate not only promotes the gene for long tails but the gene for the desire for long tails. As both genes proliferate tails will grow longer until a practical limit is reached. The bird still has to be an able flyer to survive. One’s mind quickly turns to how this idea works in humans. This book will mean different things to different readers. Every creationist should read it although I suspect few will. For the rest of us, the book is still worthwhile just to get Dawkins’ unique views on odd and end topics, a few of which I covered. If you get bored reading why creationism is wrong, keep in mind the book is written to be easily read, so you can get through those sections quickly.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Seth Hanson

    At the time, this was a tough book for me to read. Considering the way I was raised - in a heavily religious atmosphere - it was hard for me to accept the theory of evolution. However, Dawkins very clearly lays out the theory in a way that anyone can understand if they are willing to open their mind just a little and put in just a little effort. It might be hard to accept but its even harder to dispute. Reality is like that. I think everyone should be required to read this book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jose Moa

    This book is a more nail in the coffin of creationism. It develops the darvinian theory of evolution,change and selection,but at a more deep level than the original Darwins theory,the deeper level of molecular biology and molecular genetics,subjects this unknown in the Darwins time as the quantum electrodinamics was unknown in the Maxwells time but explains at a deeper level the electromagnetic fenomenology. The first chapters explains the incredible aparition of wonderful organs as the human eye This book is a more nail in the coffin of creationism. It develops the darvinian theory of evolution,change and selection,but at a more deep level than the original Darwins theory,the deeper level of molecular biology and molecular genetics,subjects this unknown in the Darwins time as the quantum electrodinamics was unknown in the Maxwells time but explains at a deeper level the electromagnetic fenomenology. The first chapters explains the incredible aparition of wonderful organs as the human eye as a long series of very small changes and steps as consecuence of mutations by chance each step selected between many others possibles by efficacy and supervivence along unimaginable for the human mind long period of time,millions of years,as the human mind is unable of make a idea of what a light year is in distance.He also explains the deep work of evolution making software models resembling the working of genes. In the mid chapters underlined the mportance of the fact of the cooperation of the genes in the evolution throught the relation with epigenetics and embriology,also explains the concept of punctuated equilibrium as a long standby followed by a fast evolution and it important role in the peciation and the existence of molecular clocks for measuring times and distances in evolutionary processes. In the final chapters confronts the different schools of taxonomy in clasifyng species and discuss the other failed schools of explanation of the origen of the species : creationism,saltationism,Lamarckism ( inherited features ) and some other. A excelent book in giving another perspetive of darvinian evolution,full of subtle concepts and reasonings that dismantle the creationism and other wrong theories.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    ...one of my aims in the book is to convey something of the sheer wonder of biological complexity to those whose eyes have not been opened to it. But having built up the mystery, my other main aim is to remove it again by explaining the solution... He managed the above, but I didn't enjoy this as much as The Selfish Gene or The God Delusion. It delves deeper & wanders around Darwinian Evolution & other theories more than I want or need. I hadn't planned to read this since I understood thi ...one of my aims in the book is to convey something of the sheer wonder of biological complexity to those whose eyes have not been opened to it. But having built up the mystery, my other main aim is to remove it again by explaining the solution... He managed the above, but I didn't enjoy this as much as The Selfish Gene or The God Delusion. It delves deeper & wanders around Darwinian Evolution & other theories more than I want or need. I hadn't planned to read this since I understood this from his updated edition of The Selfish Gene, but I found it cheap & needed to bump my Amazon order a bit for free shipping. I'm glad I did. My interest varied & I don't think I would have gotten through a text version without a lot of skimming. He addresses issues/controversies in great detail that I didn't know existed nor was I particularly interested in them, so I found the long refutation boring. Often he digressed to build the knowledge & logic which proves why the other theory or claim is wrong. I find about half of these wanderings interesting, while some just beat the particular subject to death. He starts the preface with the following: This book is written in the conviction that our own existence once presented the greatest of all mysteries, but that it is a mystery no longer because it is solved. Darwin and Wallace solved it, though we shall continue to add footnotes to their solution for a while yet... So, I was easily able to finish it & even wanted more due to the wonderful narration &, for all that my interest flagged occasionally, there was plenty of fascinating material. That's incredible in light of the age of this book. Quite a few of the science books & articles I've read that were half as old were terribly dated, but Dawkins is dealing with the theory itself, how genetic change & natural selection works over long time periods to build complex systems, instead of details which may have been superseded as technology runs on. Some of the best parts are his opinions of other scientists. He's very fast to give credit to others where it is due. He touts other books & scientists as better or more thorough on some points while he is obviously incensed at a few. At one point, he finished a particularly scathing denunciation & said perhaps he should go out & dig up the garden. He didn't try for a lot of humor, but when it popped up like that it was great. Even when he's peeved, he is polite & gives them their due, though. His ability to simplify & make sense of large numbers & statistical probability is absolutely masterful. It was great to be able to fiddle with the biomorph program. A search for "Biomorph Breeder Program" brings up several interesting ones similar to those Dawkins wrote & used. I understood Dawkins' explanations just fine, but actually playing with the program is really worth it. The extreme effects of random change over time are amazing. He's right, we aren't equipped to really understand large numbers or long times, the obvious problem with Young Earth Creationists' beliefs. Of course, those I know somehow make intentional ignorance & a belief in magic a positive attribute. I find their intellectual dishonesty infuriating, especially so when they try to foist them on me, especially in matters of public policy. (Beliefs should remain private. Public discourse requires facts & logic or there can be no reasoning with each other.) One thing I really missed was an explanation of what a species is. (Does he address speciation in The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene?) For years I thought the criterion was simply the ability to breed with the result of fertile offspring. Then I read this article: https://thelogicofscience.com/2017/08... IOW, I was certain in my ignorance & now that I know more, I'm unsure & somewhat bewildered - a good thing from a scientific point of view, but the lack weakened his arguments a bit for me simply because I spent too much time wondering about it. Still, it had no real bearing on his argument even in the chapter on taxonomy. I had no idea taxonomists disagreed so much. I thought I was the only person who made such a muddle of filing. I loved Dawkins' comparisons to library science. It really made a lot more sense of clades & the various other organization schemes. Table of Contents Chapter I: Explaining the very improbable Chapter 2: Good design Chapter 3: Accumulating small change Chapter 4: Making tracks through animal space Chapter 5: The power and the archives Chapter 6: Origins and miracles Chapter 7: Constructive evolution Chapter 8: Explosions and spirals Chapter 9: Puncturing punctuationism Chapter 10: The one true tree of life Chapter 11: Doomed rivals It was an excellent read & I'll be referring to parts of it the rest of my life. He says that Explaining is a difficult art. You can explain something so that your reader understands the words; and you can explain something so that the reader feels it in the marrow of his bones... He manages the latter most of the time. A truly gifted educator.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brit Cheung

    Some parts of the book are quite intriguing while a few chapters carry some ponderousness, leaving me in a bewilderment of what Dawkins intends to convey . Just put aside the evolutionary theory and natural selection and find something amusing. In the female birds' preference for a long tail section, it seems the female birds were in a dominant position in choosing what kind of male birds she likes, be they long tails or short tails. This reminds me of a hilarious essay of James Thurber which he Some parts of the book are quite intriguing while a few chapters carry some ponderousness, leaving me in a bewilderment of what Dawkins intends to convey . Just put aside the evolutionary theory and natural selection and find something amusing. In the female birds' preference for a long tail section, it seems the female birds were in a dominant position in choosing what kind of male birds she likes, be they long tails or short tails. This reminds me of a hilarious essay of James Thurber which he wrote for The New Yorker in 1939 called Courtship Through the Ages. "Surely nothing in the astonishing scheme of life can have nonplused Nature so much as the fact that none of the females of any of the species she created really cared very much for the male, as such. For the past ten million years Nature has been busily inventing ways to make the male attractive to the female, but the whole business of courtship, from the marine annelids up to man, still lumbers heavily along, like a complicated musical comedy. I have been reading the sad and absorbing story in Volume 6 (Cole to Dama) of the Encyclopedia Britannica. In this volume you can learn about cricket, cotton, costume designing, crocodiles, crown jewels, and Coleridge, but none of this subject is so interesting as the Courtship of animals, which recounts the sorrowful lengths to which all males must go to arouse the interest of a lady.” I don't know why this essay suddenly occurred to me but I confess it is Quite an amusing story to read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Charles

    Enchantingly beautiful fiction, 23 Mar 2007 Musings of a fideist (a materialistic fideist). Richard Dawkins has a breathtaking gift for expressive, catchy writing. His handling of illustration and narrative flow like silk. Yet he reminds me of an eloquent 19th century clergyman. His persistent dedication to the high altar of gradualistic explanation, however incredibly improbable, stretches credulity to breaking point. Take for example his extraordinary leap on p.134, para 1, where self-replica Enchantingly beautiful fiction, 23 Mar 2007 Musings of a fideist (a materialistic fideist). Richard Dawkins has a breathtaking gift for expressive, catchy writing. His handling of illustration and narrative flow like silk. Yet he reminds me of an eloquent 19th century clergyman. His persistent dedication to the high altar of gradualistic explanation, however incredibly improbable, stretches credulity to breaking point. Take for example his extraordinary leap on p.134, para 1, where self-replicating RNA will almost magically come into being - 'all so utterly simple and automatic'. There it is by fiat - Dawkins wishes and so it must be! Abracadabra! Those who have worked in the field know how fasitidious and temperamental RNA and enzymes can be even in the best conditions - yet here it is in rock pool. There are some problems even billions of years won't solve - ask the mathematicians. Or take his extraordinary and uncharacteristically rambling tautology about the peacock's tail, pp 203-206, which boils down to an unexplained discrepancy in tail length (p204) and majority female taste (p205)! This is no cogent defence of evolution of an extraordinarily complex structure, just a mystical will-of-the-wisp-like weaving of concepts to meet his desired end. He reiterates Darwin's acid test of his own theory, on p 91, but if really believed what he wrote there, he would have abandoned neo-Darwinism years ago - I have long since published one very clear example of what he seeks, and his written answer to me was that he couldn't answer it, and there are myriad more. Dawkins is a magician with words, though not as self critical and cautious as he ought to be with scientific argument.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ergun Coruh

    The Blind Watchmaker is probably one of the best introductory books on evolution. Dawkins takes his time, explaining step by step how Darwinian evolution works. Dawkins explains at great length, how species that look like a "complex design" evolve with accumulating small changes via natural selection, why natural selection is "blind"; ie. it lacks purpose, how random mutations combined with non-random natural selection is necessary for evolution to take place, and why a "complex design" does not n The Blind Watchmaker is probably one of the best introductory books on evolution. Dawkins takes his time, explaining step by step how Darwinian evolution works. Dawkins explains at great length, how species that look like a "complex design" evolve with accumulating small changes via natural selection, why natural selection is "blind"; ie. it lacks purpose, how random mutations combined with non-random natural selection is necessary for evolution to take place, and why a "complex design" does not necessarily mean a "good design" (such as ganglion cells which make the electronic wiring interface between the photocells and the brain, face light directly, whereas photocells sit away from the light source in human eye; compared to octopus eye that has photocells facing the light source). Then the structure of genetic blueprint (DNA) is explained; how DNA archives are being copied from cell to cell and from individual to individual, how copy errors are made, and how mutations can occur. In developing his argument that natural selection can explain the complex adaptations of organisms, Dawkins' first concern is to illustrate the difference between the potential for the development of complexity of pure randomness as opposed to that of randomness coupled with cumulative selection. He demonstrates this by the example of the Weasel program. Dawkins then describes his experiences with a more sophisticated computer model of artificial selection implemented in a program also called The Blind Watchmaker, which was sold separately as a teaching aid. If you are curious about evolution and choose the best introductory book on the subject this is the one.

  18. 4 out of 5

    David

    I enjoyed this book very much, despite the difficulty of reading the very small typeface. Dawkins' style is almost folksy, and not at all the arrogant, condescending style that some reviewers mention. The first chapter, about echolocation in bats, is fascinating. I also enjoyed reading about the different philosophies involved in taxonomy, the classification of species. Some reviewers mention that Dawkins' explanations are "old hat", and that the computer simulations are primitive; but they do n I enjoyed this book very much, despite the difficulty of reading the very small typeface. Dawkins' style is almost folksy, and not at all the arrogant, condescending style that some reviewers mention. The first chapter, about echolocation in bats, is fascinating. I also enjoyed reading about the different philosophies involved in taxonomy, the classification of species. Some reviewers mention that Dawkins' explanations are "old hat", and that the computer simulations are primitive; but they do need to keep in mind that the book is already 25 years old! While I do appreciate the arguments Dawkins puts forward against saltationists and punctuationalists, I found them to be repetitive and boring after a while.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Navid Asmari Saadabad

    I suggest everyone interested in the origin of life and especially those who were born fundamentalist creationists, to read this book. I would like to quote a paragraph from the book: “A physicist certainly doesn’t need Darwinism in order to do physics. He might think that biology is a trivial subject compared with physics. It would follow from this that, in his opinion, Darwinism is of trivial importance to science. But he could not sensibly conclude from this that it is therefore false!” Underst I suggest everyone interested in the origin of life and especially those who were born fundamentalist creationists, to read this book. I would like to quote a paragraph from the book: “A physicist certainly doesn’t need Darwinism in order to do physics. He might think that biology is a trivial subject compared with physics. It would follow from this that, in his opinion, Darwinism is of trivial importance to science. But he could not sensibly conclude from this that it is therefore false!” Understanding how Darwinian evolution works can change your attitude toward life and self, substantially. What we learned about Darwin at high school is inadequate. This book provides you with simplified biochemistry, biology, math, physics, and reasoning so that you can easily conceive why Darwinism is the most reasonable answer to world's complexity. I would like to quote another part: “In Darwin’s view, the whole point of the theory of evolution by natural selection was that it provided a non-miraculous account of the existence of complex adaptations. For what it is worth, it is also the whole point of this book. For Darwin, any evolution that had to be helped over the jumps by God was not evolution at all. It made a nonsense of the central point of evolution. In the light of this, it is easy to see why Darwin constantly reiterated the gradualness of evolution.” This way of thinking is not just confined to the past. Evolutionary-based science is taking over a lot of fields. The Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard University is a leading one. You can find out more at: http://ped.fas.harvard.edu/

  20. 5 out of 5

    Inanc Gumus

    This book was a real eye opener for me. I couldn't understood what the evolution was and was finding it non-sense. When they say: 'the nature designed this creature like this.', 'it gave them wings' etc. etc. I was thinking: 'how non-sense this is that the nature designed them, it is not possible, the nature is not a smart thing to do that'. But, I was all wrong. Because, the nature doesn't have to be smart to design such creatures. It even doesn't need to design. They don't emerges by luck or ch This book was a real eye opener for me. I couldn't understood what the evolution was and was finding it non-sense. When they say: 'the nature designed this creature like this.', 'it gave them wings' etc. etc. I was thinking: 'how non-sense this is that the nature designed them, it is not possible, the nature is not a smart thing to do that'. But, I was all wrong. Because, the nature doesn't have to be smart to design such creatures. It even doesn't need to design. They don't emerges by luck or chance but from necessity. Small and gradual steps makes them climb mount improbable of highly designed looking creatures. I recommend this book to anyone who would have an open mind about how the living creatures emerged by natural laws only. Not by a grand designer. Cause, if that was the case, the designer should have been designed too, and it is even not a probability. Therefore, as the book shows, there is no design, only emergence. Only you need to have an open mind, that's it. Think logically, you will find the truth. The true way not always resides within your gut instincts and common sense.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    I have only ever read one other Dawkins book before, The God Delusion, and really didn't like the style or attitude of the writing, so was not completely looking forward to this one. The primary aim of the book is to look at all the evidence and theories that make up the Darwinian theory of evolution and natural selection. He considers all the evidence from real life examples, in particular the eye, and buy using a computer program that he wrote, demonstrates how new variants of a species can evo I have only ever read one other Dawkins book before, The God Delusion, and really didn't like the style or attitude of the writing, so was not completely looking forward to this one. The primary aim of the book is to look at all the evidence and theories that make up the Darwinian theory of evolution and natural selection. He considers all the evidence from real life examples, in particular the eye, and buy using a computer program that he wrote, demonstrates how new variants of a species can evolve with very simple initial amendments. Later on in the book he looks at how DNA works, the effects of positive feedback on evolution and the way that mutations works of evolution and selection. He also considers the complexity of trying to document the tree of life. Overall I thought this book was a better read than the previous one I had read. Bearing in mind it was written originally in 1986 most of it is still valid, though we now understand far more than we did then. He can get on his high horse quite often, but thankfully not so much in this book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Aurélien Thomas

    NO! life on Earth has nothing to do with chance and, NO! the alternative to chance is not God. NO! the complexity of some organs is not a proof for the existence of an intelligent design. NO!, natural selection doesn't work like a monkey playing Shakespeare with a typewriter... Should I go on? Read Dawkins, he will tell you about it all! With a contagious passion and a load of patience (because, quite frankly, you need a massive amount of it to face the rubbish circulating on such topics!) the b NO! life on Earth has nothing to do with chance and, NO! the alternative to chance is not God. NO! the complexity of some organs is not a proof for the existence of an intelligent design. NO!, natural selection doesn't work like a monkey playing Shakespeare with a typewriter... Should I go on? Read Dawkins, he will tell you about it all! With a contagious passion and a load of patience (because, quite frankly, you need a massive amount of it to face the rubbish circulating on such topics!) the biologist is once again enchanting us. In fact, we feel like a little child holding his hand, admiring all the wonders he's pointing at: nature is wonderful as it is; don't be afraid to toss God (or whatever you want to call it) in the bin. I was already convinced before reading him (hence four stars only) but for all of you unable to see how evolution can be a smack in the face of intelligent design then read it. Urgently.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Brian Cloutier

    The good part: Dawkins is a great writer. His style is very conversational and the book very quotable. His arguments follow a defined path but still manage to meander through welcome asides. He uses metaphors and thought experiments well, most of the book was very easy to follow. And what arguments he makes! The probability of miracles, potential precursors of RNA, the importance of gradual change. His goal is to show that it's possible to explain the rise of complexity from a simple world and he The good part: Dawkins is a great writer. His style is very conversational and the book very quotable. His arguments follow a defined path but still manage to meander through welcome asides. He uses metaphors and thought experiments well, most of the book was very easy to follow. And what arguments he makes! The probability of miracles, potential precursors of RNA, the importance of gradual change. His goal is to show that it's possible to explain the rise of complexity from a simple world and he spectacularly succeeds. However, I'm likely not the intended audience of this book. He spent more time arguing against alternative theories than I would have liked. I had no idea what Mutationism was before he explained it but it sounded dumb within the first few sentences; he didn't need to spend as many pages dismissing it as he did. Same with the entire chapter on Punctuationism. The first few pages went over some really cool notes on speciation and how some large mutations fit into darwinism that the book wouldn't have been complete without. The rest of the chapter tried to defend darwinism from a media I had never paid attention to in the first place. The last third of the book is worth reading because it contains a few insights. But, finishing it is true drudgery and tarnishes my impression of the book as a whole.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Catalin Negru

    Target audience: Common people, not necessarily trained in biology. The purpose of the book is to make everybody familiar with the theory of evolution. About the author: Richard Dawkins is a British author, biologist, and ethologist. He was born on March 26, 1941, in Nairobi, Kenya. He embraced Christianity as a young boy. However, during his teens, he embraced Darwinism instead. Dawkins is claimed to be the “world’s most famous atheist.” He opposes religion, criticizes creationism and intelligen Target audience: Common people, not necessarily trained in biology. The purpose of the book is to make everybody familiar with the theory of evolution. About the author: Richard Dawkins is a British author, biologist, and ethologist. He was born on March 26, 1941, in Nairobi, Kenya. He embraced Christianity as a young boy. However, during his teens, he embraced Darwinism instead. Dawkins is claimed to be the “world’s most famous atheist.” He opposes religion, criticizes creationism and intelligent design. He is one of the main founders of the New Atheism movement. He describes Islam to be the greatest force of evil in today’s world. He is the author of seven books. Structure of the book: The book is divided in 11 chapters with a unique title. Overview: The book has the suggestive subtitle “Why the evidence of evolution reveals a universe without design.” One of its purposes is to refute the criticisms to his previous book, The Selfish Gene (1976). Although The Blind Watchmaker was originally published in 1986, more than 30 years ago, this is still a great piece of evolutionary theory that patiently and persuasively addresses the topic of how nature achieved its complexity and variety. It is full of bright metaphor and happy analogies that express Dawkins passion and enthusiasm. The Blind Watchmaker is a name taken from the watchmaker analogy in William Paley’s Natural Theology (1802). Paley, an advocate of creationism, basically said that the evolution of life on earth is like a watch in its complexity and consequently it is necessarily the work of an intelligent designer or watchmaker. Dawkins, on the other hand, is an evolutionist. And in this book he responds to Paley’s argument. Dawkins explains the theory of evolution using terms that are understandable to the public not trained in biology. He describes how complex biological structures (such as the eye), as well as behavior (such as echolocation in bats), could have originated from random mutation of every DNA and protein systems that is caused by natural selection. In the case of the eye, he argues, it started in a simple organism as an organ that could merely distinguish light and dark. Then, through some small modifications, it could finally reach the mammalian eye with its complexity. The creatures in between these extremes have eyes that represent intermediate levels of complexity. All organs evolve and this evolution of organs increases our chances of survival. Therefore, the evolution and existence of life do not require a designer. Dawkins also argues that natural selection occurred with various random mutations in a very long period of time. Mutations create new possibilities, while natural selection removes the bad ones. This is in fact evolution, not pure genetic randomness. However, evolution stops at a point where the benefit of arm races gets uneconomical. For example, if cheetahs continue to evolve and run faster, their muscles will have to grow bigger and consume more energy. Thus cheetahs won’t have much energy left for anything else to do. In most cases, the preys will continue to develop more ability for arm races since they need them for their lives. Dawkins also introduces the concept of “hierarchical reductionism,” which can be used for explaining complex systems. These systems should be divided into subcomponents, and these subcomponents should, in turn, be divided into sub-subcomponents until we reach the elementary particles of these systems. Dawkins presents a computer model of artificial selection to show evolutionary possibilities. He performed experiments where evolutionary modeling program generated two-dimensional shape (“bimorphs”) that looked like spiders, scorpions and bats. However, the computer could not select the direction. He shows how cumulative random mutations can lead to the occurrence of adaptations. Dawkins also discusses miracles that he describes as a set of natural events (rather than supernatural) but they fall on the extreme far end of improbability. The main miracle in the book is that of the origin of life. The author discusses the statistics involved in miracles and how we can compute the probability that we, as humans, may not be the sole intelligent creatures in the universe. Quote: That the watch must have had a maker: that there must have existed, at some time, and at some place or other, an artificer or artificers, who formed it for the purpose which we find it actually to answer; who comprehended its construction and designed its use. Strong points: Dawkins is an atheist, but his book offers a careful consideration of the various sides of the debate. He moves gradually to the big picture. He has many fascinating things to discuss and you can sense his enthusiasm and passion for the topic as you read his work. He also uses terms that can be understood by nearly anyone and thus the book can have a wide target audience. Dawkins tackles the topic head on. He shows the reader how to find out things on his own. We can even still check the results of his computer experiments nowadays on our computers. Weak points: If you are a strong believer and an adept of creationism, the book itself can be easily perceived as a weak point. Some might argue that the book could not strongly refute the presence of a designer on scientific grounds, but rather on philosophical grounds. The author chose to accept only those things that can be explained as true, so he described the presence of creating and designing God to explain nothing and therefore he discarded this assumption. The book also refused to consider miracles to be supernatural events but Christians believe them to be God’s way of revealing himself. _______________ ★★★ Follow us on Goodreads ★★★ Visit our website www.reasonandreligion.org

  25. 5 out of 5

    Arvind

    3.5/5 Am I right in saying that Darwin is relatively less famous than Einstein and Newton ? What a mind-boggling theory of such astonishing scope and implications, it is almost inconceivable that a single human being could have given us the theory of evolution. I think I studied it in class 9 and read it as another scientific theory. The conflict with religion didnt even enter my mind. Haa bhai hum evolve hue hai, Ok. Realised recently it is crucial for believers in Abrahamic religions to prove i 3.5/5 Am I right in saying that Darwin is relatively less famous than Einstein and Newton ? What a mind-boggling theory of such astonishing scope and implications, it is almost inconceivable that a single human being could have given us the theory of evolution. I think I studied it in class 9 and read it as another scientific theory. The conflict with religion didnt even enter my mind. Haa bhai hum evolve hue hai, Ok. Realised recently it is crucial for believers in Abrahamic religions to prove it false. Darwinism is a gr8 leap towards atheism. And one of its most known advocates is the author of the book Richard Dawkins. This was my fifth book by the author and contrary to public perception, you can feel that Dawkins is really in love with science. His writing is lucid as he really wishes to share his joy with you. And I think he is kinder than me to bullies n bullshitters :) In this book too, some chapters are a joy to read and some concepts related to evolution are explained very well. After "The Selfish Gene" which dealt with how genes and not individual organism is the unit that drives evolution, and "The Greatest Show on Earth" which described experiments that show how evolution is actually happening. This was more focused on showing how there is no divine intervention in evolution but unfortunately in some chapters it got repetitive and with excessive jargon. Also, I was unconvinced by the chapter on the origin of life. Still, a good read to understand about evolution and will be reading more by the author.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Arjen

    This is the third book by Richard Dawkins I read and another winner. The other two being The God Delusion and The Selfish Gene. Whereas The God Delusion is an angry book and The Selfish Gene a book of insight, The Blind Watchmaker is a book of calm and lucid explanation. Dawkins explains Darwins theory of evolution in his trademark clear, witty and highly readable style. He has the talent to break down complex concepts in understandable bits and often uses enlightening analogies to clarify his re This is the third book by Richard Dawkins I read and another winner. The other two being The God Delusion and The Selfish Gene. Whereas The God Delusion is an angry book and The Selfish Gene a book of insight, The Blind Watchmaker is a book of calm and lucid explanation. Dawkins explains Darwins theory of evolution in his trademark clear, witty and highly readable style. He has the talent to break down complex concepts in understandable bits and often uses enlightening analogies to clarify his reasoning. One of the things I especially liked about this book is that it not only provides an explanation and insight about the inner working of Darwinian evolutionary theory, it also shows why, where and how rival or opposing theories are wrong. Or even cannot be right. Dawkins does this in a most respectful way. With one exception, my favourite chapter, chapter 10: The One True Tree of Life; it starts with about 25 pages of explanation of the interesting science of taxonomy and classification and treats all schools of thought with depth and respect. Until you arrive at the final pages of the chapter where you can just feel the anger seeping through the pages. It builds up a brilliant tension towards the conclusion in which he absolutely crushes Nelson and Platnicks sensationalism in the most British of ways, only the end the chapter with the genius sentence: "Now I'd better go out and dig the garden, or something"

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tyauvinon

    There was a lot of interesting items in the book, but it became a bit tedious at times. I suppose since I did not need convincing on the validity of evolution, i was ready to move onto the next section, but Dawkins continued to expound the argument, way beyond what I felt was required. Also it was very dated, the computer analogies were so out of date. (Many people would have no idea about computer tape, or the reference to it lying on the floor). My feeling was that both genetics and computers There was a lot of interesting items in the book, but it became a bit tedious at times. I suppose since I did not need convincing on the validity of evolution, i was ready to move onto the next section, but Dawkins continued to expound the argument, way beyond what I felt was required. Also it was very dated, the computer analogies were so out of date. (Many people would have no idea about computer tape, or the reference to it lying on the floor). My feeling was that both genetics and computers are advancing very rapidly, and i was left concerned that the genetics information may be as out of date as the computer information, but I do not have the background know. There was some interesting information in the book, but if you are OK with the principle of evolution and you just was to get more detailed information, I do not think this is the book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ericthehamster

    "I don't agree with Dawkins much of the time (I find his atheism as fanatical as the religions he criticises), but find him an intelligent and entertaining read. He posits the other side of the coin to the argument for ""intelligent design"". Some very funny correspondence in the Guardian this month (October 2005), included one query that GWBush might be evidence against intelligent design."

  29. 5 out of 5

    Pink

    Another good Dawkins book. This is one of his older ones, but very interesting to see where technology was coming into his ideas. Worth a read if you enjoy his writing.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Science (Fiction) Comedy Horror and Fantasy Geek/Nerd a.k.a Mario

    One of the best and most understandable arguments for evolutionary theory and natural selection Please note that I put the original German text at the end of this review. Just if you might be interested. In the spirit of Darwin, Dawkins argues soundly, comprehensively, in this form of a non-fiction book rhetorically above average and merely correct. In contrast to his later work "The God Delusion," which is so full of polemics, he refrains from doing so. He endeavors to provide factual and scient One of the best and most understandable arguments for evolutionary theory and natural selection Please note that I put the original German text at the end of this review. Just if you might be interested. In the spirit of Darwin, Dawkins argues soundly, comprehensively, in this form of a non-fiction book rhetorically above average and merely correct. In contrast to his later work "The God Delusion," which is so full of polemics, he refrains from doing so. He endeavors to provide factual and scientifically sound reasoning. Thus he celebrates the breathtaking emergence of highly sophisticated systems such as the human body with the apparent enthusiasm of an evolutionary biologist, who burns for his profession and also does not hesitate to lead various theses against the theory of evolution in the field. Mind you only around, to feed his lines, then enjoyable to dismantle piece by piece and to intone on their ruins a song of praise to the fantastic, developmental severe history of life. Ironically, the title of the work also refers to a book by the creationist pioneer William Paley, who wanted to use God in the form of a watchmaker to depict the "production" of all worldly components. Understandably, Dawkins could not resist alienating this clear image of his natural adversary for his purposes and turning the chronograph maker into an unconscious, a meaningless and blind metaphor for natural selection. As an illustration, object to be drawn through the book, the human eye was chosen. Its origins, shapes, and history of development make the reader pause in astonishment with fascinating insights into out of which amazing creatures our windows to the world have watched world eons of years ago. As long as Dawkins lingers in his field of study, the soundness of his lines of reasoning can hardly be counteracted, and until nowadays, this literature, which was published in 1986, cannot be compared with the writing of equal value. Unfortunately, an inappropriate and meanwhile more than obsolete attempt to show a kind of evolution based on the development of computer technology is to be found among the examples. This is a well-intentioned approach, to make the own theses seem even more comprehensive and to use artificial adaptations in as many subjects as possible to provide evidence. However, as in this case, it inevitably fails because of the dry basis and comprehensibility of the theses, which are too constructed and, funny enough, very much reminiscent of the custom of religious fanatics. These try to bend over and put a concept on everything. Also, the all specific too, rather short inserts on medicine and genetics are correct, but in contrast to the rest of the book exhausting to read. One notices that the actual primary operating field is left shortly. In general, the work would do a small renovation in the direction of the current state of research very well, so that the critical minds of the 21st century to have both well-founded and current reasoning for the hopefully eventually ended, meaningless dispute with ignorant people. Despite the small points of criticism an epochal work that seeks its equal in its timeless correctness and the significant, underlying concerns of the Enlightenment. It testifies to the enthusiasm to which professional occupation with the miracle of the creation of life can become. A fortunate coincidence, too, when this gift falls into the hands of a talented narrative man whose tactical acumen dictates that he should not encourage the prevention of water on the mills of his opponents. By withdrawing any basis of existence on a purely factual basis of any religious embarrassment, creation myth, and Genesis. Now the hard facts only have to flow into the consciousness of the people. Dropwise and very slowly. Sticky droplets. Eine der besten und verständlichsten Argumentationsführungen für Evolutionstheorie und natürliche Selektion Ganz im Sinne Darwins argumentiert Dawkins stichhaltig, umfassend, in dieser Form für ein Sachbuch rhetorisch überdurchschnittlich gut und schlichtweg richtig. Er hält sich dabei im Gegensatz zu seinem späteren Werk Gotteswahn, das vor Polemik nur so strotzt, zurück. Er ist bemüht, eine sachliche und wissenschaftlich fundierte Argumentation abzuliefern. So feiert er die die atemberaubende Entstehung höchst diffiziler Systeme wie dem menschlichen Körper mit der spürbaren Begeisterung eines Evolutionsbiologen, der für sein Metier brennt und auch nicht davor zurückschreckt, verschiedenste Thesen gegen die Evolutionstheorie ins Feld zu führen. Wohlgemerkt nur um, sich selbst geschickt den Ball zuspielend, sie anschließend genussvoll Stück für Stück zu demontieren und auf ihren Trümmern ein Loblied auf die erstaunliche, seriöse Entwicklungsgeschichte des Lebens anzustimmen. Ironisch ist auch der Titel des Werks zu verstehen, der sich auf ein Buch des kreationistischen Vordenkers William Paley bezieht, der anhand Gottes in Form eines Uhrmachers die „Fertigung“ sämtlicher weltlicher Bestandteile darstellen wollte. Verständlich, dass Dawkins nicht widerstehen konnte, dieses krasse Bild seines natürlichen Gegners für eigene Zwecke zu entfremden und aus dem Chronographenhersteller eine unbewusst, ohne Sinn und blind arbeitende Metapher für die natürliche Selektion zu machen. Als ein sich durch das Buch ziehendes Veranschaulichungsobjekt wurde das menschliche Auge gewählt. Dessen Ursprung, Formen und Entwicklungsgeschichte lassen mit den faszinierenden Erkenntnissen, aus welch unerwarteten Kreaturen unsere Fenster zur Welt vor Äonen von Jahren geblickt haben, den Leser vor Erstaunen innehalten. Solange Dawkins in seinem Fachbereich verweilt ist der Stichhaltigkeit seiner Argumentationsketten kaum etwas entgegenzusetzen und man kann diesem 1986 erschienen Werk bis heute wenig gleichwertige Literatur zur Seite stellen. Leider ist auch ein unpassender und mittlerweile mehr als nur veralteter Versuch, anhand der Entwicklung der Computertechnik eine Art von Evolution aufzeigen zu wollen, unter den Beispielen. Das ist ein gut gemeinter Ansatz, die eigenen Thesen noch umfassender erscheinen zu lassen und künstliche Adaptionen in möglichst vielen Themenkreisen zur Erbringung von Belegen heranzuziehen. Es scheitert aber, wie in diesem Fall, zwangsläufig an der unzureichenden Basis und Nachvollziehbarkeit der Thesen, die allzu konstruiert sind und lustigerweise sehr an den Usus der religiösen Fanatiker erinnern. Diese versuchen auch auf Biegen und Brechen ein Konzept über alles zu stülpen. Auch sind die allzu fachspezifisch ausgeführten, eher kurzen Einschübe über Medizin und Genetik zwar richtig, aber im Kontrast zum Rest des Buches anstrengend zu lesen. Man merkt, dass das eigentliche Hauptbetätigungsfeld kurzfristig verlassen wird. Generell täte dem Werk eine kleine Renovierung in Richtung des aktuellen Standes der Forschung sehr gut, damit auch die kritischen Geister des 21. Jahrhunderts sowohl wohlfundierte als auch aktuelle Argumentationen für den hoffentlich irgendwann beendeten, sinnbefreiten Disput mit ignoranten Mitmenschen haben. Trotz der kleinen Kritikpunkte eine epochales Werk, dass in seiner zeitlosen Richtigkeit und dem hehren, dahinterstehenden Anliegen der Aufklärung seinesgleichen sucht. Es zeugt von der Begeisterungsfähigkeit, zu der die berufliche Beschäftigung mit dem Wunder der Entstehung des Lebens werden kann. Ein glücklicher Zufall auch, wenn diese Gabe in die Hände eines noch dazu erzählerisch talentierten Mannes fällt, dessen taktischer Scharfsinn ihm gebietet, der Prävention des Wassers auf die Mühlen seiner Gegner keinen Vorschub zu leisten. Indem er auf einer rein sachlichen Basis jeglicher Art von religiöser Verbrämung, Schöpfungsmythos und Entstehungsmären jegliche Existenzgrundlage entzieht. Jetzt müssen die harten Fakten nur noch ins Bewusstsein der Menschen einfließen. Tröpfchenweise und sehr langsam. Klebrige Tröpfchen.

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