Reader reviews for The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution

Another classic by Dawkins, lots of eye opening facts about crazy crazy nature!
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Richard Dawkins has done it again! In a followup to his 2006 bestseller, The God Delusion, Dawkins hits religion again. This time, he compares the religious who deny evolution to Holocaust deniers, calling them 'nuts.' The Greatest Show on Earth is life: the beauty, elegance and evolution of life. Dawkins delves deep into his science background to show how life has evolved and how it is still evolving. Beautiful full color pictures accompany the text.
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Fascinating. Very clearly sets out, chapter by chapter, the case for evolution, based on evidence from plant and animal breeding, fossil records, geographical distribution, "design" failures, comparisons between modern animals and lots more.
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Excellent book which shows that evolution is a fact, not fiction, and not a theory. I will use arguments from this book to naysay people who spout creationism.
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Useful review of arguments for evolutionary science. Arm yourself against the zealot idiots. Discusses geology, palaeoecology and biology.
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This is Dawkins' latest book, a love story to evolution that clearly, painstakingly, and non-combatatively lays out the evidence for evolution. It's very well-written, and it is definitely a book meant to explain to people - reasonable people, who are open to science - why evolution is a fact. This is long-overdue, honestly, and Dawkins shows up a lot of his critics by being able to step back from the religous arguments and say (and this is a paraphrase, because I don't have the book with me, but it's close to a direct quote): "I already wrote a book about why I don't believe in god, so we're not talking about it here. Believe what you want about how the universe started, but now follow me on a journey about how life has transformed."He still retains the Dawkins fire and punchiness, and makes no bones about his ... almost, I don't know, disbelief that there are so many people out there who are young-earth creationists (you and me both, Mr Dawkins!), but he has a specific purpose to this book and sticks with it. It's delightful, and well-done, and the joy of science shines through. This has surpassed The Selfish Gene as my intro-to-evolution go-to book now, which says a lot!
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Richard Dawkins, one of the foremost proponents of the “new atheism,” has returned to his first profession, evolutionary biologist. In this fascinating work, he lays down, in clear terms for the non-professional, all of the evidence from DNA to skeletal structure to behavior proving Darwin’s theory of evolution.He starts off with some things I have argued for years. People who do not believe in evolution misunderstand the use of the term theory in that connection and fail to grasp the immense time scales involved. In fact, Dawkins describes quite a few things about evolution, which seemed to be mere common sense to me. Bi-lateral symmetry and similar skeletal structures for example.Near the end, he sums all this up in a neat little package. Dawkins writes,“What Darwin didn’t – couldn’t – know is that the comparative evidence becomes even more convincing when we include molecular genetics, in addition to the anatomical comparisons that were available to him.Just is the vertebrate skeleton is invariant across all vertebrates while the individual bones differ, and just as the crustacean exoskeleton is invariant across all crustaceans while the individual ‘tubes’ vary, so the DNA code is invariant across all living creatures, while the individual genes themselves vary. This is a truly astounding fact, which shows more clearly than anything else that all living creatures are descended from a single ancestor. Not just the genetic code itself, but the whole gene/protein system for running life,…is the same in all animals, plants, fungi, bacteria, archaea [microbes that live in extreme environments] and viruses. What varies is what is written in the code, not the code itself. And when we look comparatively what is written in the code – the actual genetic sequences in all these different creatures -- we find the same kind of hierarchical tree of resemblance. We find the same family tree [emphasis by Dawkins] – albeit much more thoroughly and convincingly laid out – as we did with the vertebrate skeleton, and indeed the whole pattern of anatomical resemblances through all the living kingdoms. (315)On one or two occasions Dawkins does become a bit overly technical, and some passages required a slower and repeat reading, but overall this is a thoroughly readable and enjoyable account of the present state of the theory of evolution. (5 stars)--Jim, 1/14/11
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A pretty good read in itself with some good examples of evolution in action. All written in Dawkins' brilliant style with his wonderfully lucid metaphors.The chapter on carbon dating, although probably the most dry, was my favourite as I genuinely learned something new.My only reservation is that anyone who has read much of Dawkins' work, or has a more than passing interest in evolution will find this a little dissapointing....I felt I knew much of this stuff before, if not the specific examples, then the principles or similar examples.A good introduction to Dawkins, but not for a reader well versed in the great man. This is not a negative review in any way. It is an excellent book for the right reader.
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An excellent, approachable treatment of the topic. Dawkins does best when on home turf.
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Do you want to know where you came from, do you want to know who your real ancestors are, do you want to know who your closest cousins are, and do you want to know how every animal on this planet is connected to another, read this book. This book is not just for all those skeptics who doubt evolution; it’s for everybody who wants to understand themselves better.
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