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The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe without Design (Reissued in 2006 and 1996) Paperback – September 17, 1996
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I want to persuade the reader, not just that the Darwinian world-view happens to be true, but that it is the only known theory that could, in principle, solve the mystery of our existence.
The title of this 1986 work, Dawkins's second book, refers to the Rev. William Paley's 1802 work, Natural Theology, which argued that just as finding a watch would lead you to conclude that a watchmaker must exist, the complexity of living organisms proves that a Creator exists. Not so, says Dawkins: "All appearances to the contrary, the only watchmaker in nature is the blind forces of physics, albeit deployed in a very special way... it is the blind watchmaker."
Dawkins is a hard-core scientist: he doesn't just tell you what is so, he shows you how to find out for yourself. For this book, he wrote Biomorph, one of the first artificial life programs. You can check Dawkins's results on your own Mac or PC.
“As readable and vigorous a defense of Darwinism as has been published since 1859.” (The Economist)
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've been a fan of Dawkins since reading the Selfish Gene in college biology class. This book confirmed my opinion that no "designer" is needed to explain our universe &... Read morePublished 2 days ago by Violet Bunny
This just like all of Dawkins books is easy to understand. I ordered one in very good condition. It is more like good condition. Read morePublished 1 month ago by King
More than you ever wanted to know about evolution. Really detailed, dense with information, but so long you can hardly stand it. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Thomas Adams
Very learned, extremely insightful although sometimes the author gets carried away and dives and dwells a little too much in academic infighting and details. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Carlos Alonso De Prada
Richard presents an in-depth study of evolution with a special bent toward DNA and gene propagation. Read morePublished 4 months ago by David Carter
This book is classic. Richard Dawkins is a masterful writer and defender of the Neo-Darwinian synthesis. Read morePublished 4 months ago by william cole
The goal of this book is to explain how evolution works, but rather than using fossils or DNA evidence, it instead gives explanations of the process of evolution on features of... Read morePublished 5 months ago by StarSearcher