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Richard Dawkins transformed our view of God in his blockbuster, The God Delusion, which sold more than 2 million copies in English alone. He revolutionized the way we see natural selection in the seminal bestseller The Selfish Gene. Now, he launches a fierce counterattack against proponents of "Intelligent Design" in his New York Times bestseller, The Greatest Show on Earth.

"Intelligent Design" is being taught in our schools; educators are being asked to "teach the controversy" behind evolutionary theory. There is no controversy. Dawkins sifts through rich layers of scientific evidence—from living examples of natural selection to clues in the fossil record; from natural clocks that mark the vast epochs wherein evolution ran its course to the intricacies of developing embryos; from plate tectonics to molecular genetics—to make the airtight case that "we find ourselves perched on one tiny twig in the midst of a blossoming and flourishing tree of life and it is no accident, but the direct consequence of evolution by non-random selection." His unjaded passion for the natural world turns what might have been a negative argument, exposing the absurdities of the creationist position, into a positive offering to the reader: nothing less than a master’s vision of life, in all its splendor.

Topics: DNA, Illustrated, Evolution, Atheism, Creationism, Genetics, Animals, Essays, Flowers, Dinosaurs, Dogs, and British Author

Published: Free Press on Sep 22, 2009
ISBN: 9781416597780
List price: $13.99
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Dawkins at his best.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
At first sight the focus of this book - the evidence for evolution - seems a bit strange. To anyone with basic knowledge of bilology, evolution is simply the modern scientific explanation of the way plants and animals appear and disappear in nature. The evidence for it is something you think about a bit when you first learn about it in school, in the same way that you learn about Rutherford's evidence for the existence of atoms, for example, and that's that. If you continue to have a keen interest in biology, you see with your own eyes how perfectly everything in nature makes sense in light of the theory of evolution by natural and other forms of selection (e.g., sexual), and wonder how it was possible that it took so long before scientists discovered it. On the face of it, no-one with a serious interest in biology should need a book about this evidence, whereas those who do need it are probably very unlikely to read a book like this.Well, I personally, certainly, didn't need a book to convince me about the evidence for evolution, but I found it a very interesting and enjoyable book nevertheless. As usual, RD presents a huge amount of fascinating data from a wide range of biological areas, and as usual it is written in an brilliant and enjoyable (even beautiful and entertaining) way. The theme of "evidence for evolution", then, for me served mainly as a thread (or backbone) binding the different parts of the book together into a coherent, argumentative, logical whole. Having said that, it is a sad fact that there is an industry of religiously motivated deniers of evolution, and this has had particularly strong influence in the USA. The book's appendix refers to various opinion surveys indicating, for example, that 44% of Americans think the earth is less than 10,000 years old. The situation in Europe is better, but even here about 22% seem to take a similar view.So the book probably serves a good purpose in strengthening the resolve of educated people against this kind of reversal to pre-scientific ignorance.As a final point, RD makes a clear effort to focus strictly on the evidence of evolution here, without linking it to advocation of atheism. In other words, this should not be an uncomfortable read for those who are happy to reconcile an educated understanding of biology with religious beliefs. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they are the main target audience for this book.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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!read more
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Dawkins at his best.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
At first sight the focus of this book - the evidence for evolution - seems a bit strange. To anyone with basic knowledge of bilology, evolution is simply the modern scientific explanation of the way plants and animals appear and disappear in nature. The evidence for it is something you think about a bit when you first learn about it in school, in the same way that you learn about Rutherford's evidence for the existence of atoms, for example, and that's that. If you continue to have a keen interest in biology, you see with your own eyes how perfectly everything in nature makes sense in light of the theory of evolution by natural and other forms of selection (e.g., sexual), and wonder how it was possible that it took so long before scientists discovered it. On the face of it, no-one with a serious interest in biology should need a book about this evidence, whereas those who do need it are probably very unlikely to read a book like this.Well, I personally, certainly, didn't need a book to convince me about the evidence for evolution, but I found it a very interesting and enjoyable book nevertheless. As usual, RD presents a huge amount of fascinating data from a wide range of biological areas, and as usual it is written in an brilliant and enjoyable (even beautiful and entertaining) way. The theme of "evidence for evolution", then, for me served mainly as a thread (or backbone) binding the different parts of the book together into a coherent, argumentative, logical whole. Having said that, it is a sad fact that there is an industry of religiously motivated deniers of evolution, and this has had particularly strong influence in the USA. The book's appendix refers to various opinion surveys indicating, for example, that 44% of Americans think the earth is less than 10,000 years old. The situation in Europe is better, but even here about 22% seem to take a similar view.So the book probably serves a good purpose in strengthening the resolve of educated people against this kind of reversal to pre-scientific ignorance.As a final point, RD makes a clear effort to focus strictly on the evidence of evolution here, without linking it to advocation of atheism. In other words, this should not be an uncomfortable read for those who are happy to reconcile an educated understanding of biology with religious beliefs. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they are the main target audience for this book.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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!
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
great round up with good modern examples as well as well-rehearsed scientific argument
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Another masterpiece from the 'rotweiler of Darwin'. Intellligent and amazing book about the greatest show on Earth (evolution). Sometimes incredibly funny (when he debates with creationist) and easy to understand to everyone with an IQ higher than 50 (yes, it excludes most of the creationist and/or ID believers... :-) )
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An excellent, approachable treatment of the topic. Dawkins does best when on home turf.
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