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Paperback Blind Watchmaker (Penguin Science) Book

ISBN: 0140144811

ISBN13: 9780140144819

Blind Watchmaker (Penguin Science)

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. Richard Dawkins is not a shy man. Edward Larson's research shows that most scientists today are not formally religious, but Dawkins is an in-your-face atheist in the witty British style: I want to...

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

The most comprehensive answer to Intelligent Design theory

Dawkins has said that if you are going to read only one of his books, make it "The Extended Phenotype". That statement has merit but I would say the following. If you are going to read only one book to see how theory of evolution responds to the creationist arguments, make it "The Blind Watchmaker". The argument Dawkins is dealing with is the well-known argument of Intelligent Design. The basic tenet of the proponents of intelligent design is the assertion that the complexity existing in the nature can not come about without an intelligent designer. Dawkins is primarily dealing with that assertion in this book, explaining how the process of natural selection gives rise to the complexity. "The Blind Watchmaker", in my personal opinion, is one of the most successful books written by evolutionists. The success of the book lies in the fact that it deals with a very difficult question in a very readable manner. Dawkins prose is flawless and his skill at presenting arguments is unmatched. Most of the book, obviously, deals with the creationist argument of design but towards the end of the book, Dawkins moves his focus to the other theories that can be considered rival theories of the theory of evolution like neutral Lamarckism, mutationism etc. My only complaint about this otherwise marvelous book is its rather limited index. That may not sound like a genuine complaint but once you have read the book, you will realize that Dawkins has dealt with a plethora of things and the index of such a book should enable you to look up those things for quick reference. Beside that one shortcoming, this book is nothing but perfect.

Reviewers who don't read the books under review

The reviewer on 25 December 2004 is being deeply disingenuous, if not downright dishonest, as anyone who's read even the first few chapters of Dawkins' book will know that he devotes a great deal of time to answering every single one of these points, and backing up his detailed arguments with considerable evidence. For instance, he devotes the better part of an entire chapter to the question of the evolution of the eye, citing numerous examples of still-extant species who rely on far more primitive (i.e. less 'evolved') light-sensitive devices to back up his assertions. Rather more pertinently, one of the first things that Dawkins discusses - again, in considerable depth - is this whole question of chance and probability, specifically the fact that evolution is categorically NOT a product of random occurrences and statistically unfeasible coincidences. And the reason why he devotes so much space to this is because he knows that people who fail to grasp this point won't be able to understand Darwin's theories at all. So there are three possible explanations for our anonymous friend to have written the review that he did. The first is offensive: he has read the book, but he's too stupid to understand or even remember its main points. The second is sinister: he has read the book, but wishes to dissuade others from reading it because the arguments are dangerously persuasive, so he makes it sound as though Dawkins ignores these issues when the exact opposite is true. The third is the easiest to grasp, and therefore probably correct: he hasn't read the book at all. Read it yourself, and draw your own conclusions.

Why other people give this book 1 star

Hi, for the un-informed, I'd recommend a search of the phrase "Richard Dawkins" in google.com, which should answer all questions asking if he is a scientist or not.The book, is an excellent book. I am not an atheist. The reviews with "one" starts have one goal: To prevent you read this book. Because the review writers know - and fear - that people would understand the point of view of Dawkins. "It is not science". "Evolution Theory is wrong".. These sentences, are nothing but dogmatic claims. Whole books have been written discussing what is science and what is not, and rather comprehensive books have been written to disprove evolution. But as an open-minded person, I'd suggest you to be informed abouth both approaches to the subject, before making an ill-informed judgement about the issue. Don't listen to people who try to prevent you from reaching knowledge.The book?Oh, yes... It is excellent, I'm still amazed by his ability to deconstruct complex topics and discuss them in a simple way.

A Desert Island Book.

It's pretty obvious that a fair few people criticising this book have not read it - and have no intention to. Or if they have attempted to read it they simply haven't grasped the most basic concepts. General assumptions that a pro-evolution stance is just an "opinion", or that evolution is "just a theory" (a complete misunderstanding of the meaning of the word in a scientific context), or statements like "given enough time, dirt can turn into people." show that clearly. One person even takes one of the central aims of the book - where Dawkins takes Paley's watchmaker analogy and attempts to show how a complex object like an eye could evolve by selection - and berates Dawkins because because he apparently doesn't grasp the fact that because a watch or computer has a designer, that life must have a designer as well! Awe-inspiring. If I remember he also accuses Dawkins of circular reasoning! The whole case of the book is that this "it's all chance" thing is precisely the opposite of what Darwin and Wallace said. As Dawkins writes in the prologue "The trouble with evolution is that everyone *thinks* they understand it". If one thing should be taken from this book, it is the realisation that Natural Selection is *anything* but chance.I used to think I understood evolution. I did Biology as an elective at university but I didn't really begin to understand the subtleties and elegance of the theory until I first read this book 10 years ago. It's genuinely one of the milestone books of my life - and not because I already had an opinion before I read it - unlike the creationists.To paraphrase Dawkins in this book: If I don't understand Quantum Mechanics or Relativity the last thing I should reasonably expect to be able to do is get away with criticising it as though my opinion had as much weight as that of a person who spent a professional lifetime studying it. Yet, alone amongst the sciences, the theory of evolution is considered fair game for criticism by people of any level of ignorance. In the middle ages at least people had an excuse for such ignorance. In this age of high technology and scientific breakthoughs, the ingrained, bigoted and ill-thought out repostes to evolution can only be described as willful ignorance. And that's the worst kind.
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