Blind Watchmaker Paperback – Apr 25 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Oxford zoologist Dawkins (The Selfish Gene, The Extended Phenotype trumpets his thesis in his subtitlealmost guarantee enough that his book will stir controversy. Simply put, he has responded head-on to the argument-by-design most notably made by the 18th century theologian William Paley that the universe, like a watch in its complexity, needed, in effect, a watchmaker to design it. Hewing to Darwin's fundamental (his opponents might say fundamentalist) message, Dawkins sums up: "The theory of evolution by cumulative natural selection is the only theory we know of that is in principle capable of explaining the evolution of organized complexity." Avoiding an arrogant tone despite his up-front convictions, he takes pains to explain carefully, from various sides, why even such esteemed scientists as Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould, with their "punctuated equilibrium" thesis, are actually gradualists like Darwin himself in their evolutionary views. Dawkins is difficult reading as he describes his computer models of evolutionary possibilities. But, as he draws on his zoological background, emphasizing recent genetic techniques, he can be as engrossing as he is cogent and convincing. His concept of "taming chance" by breaking down the "very improbable into less improbable small components" is daring neo-Darwinism. Line drawings.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Dawkins, author of The Selfish Gene ( LJ 12/1/76), persuasively argues the case for Darwinian evolution. He criticizes the prominent punctuationist school, and takes issue with the views of creationists and others who believe that life arose by design of a deity. Using the evolution of various animals as examples and drawing parallels from improvements in modern technology, Dawkins demonstrates the logic of the selection process and of an incremental evolution whose end products are the highly complex, functional organisms we know today. This provocative work is likely to generate further controversy in the scientific community. Recommended for informed laypersons, undergraduates, and scholars. Joseph Hannibal, Cleveland Museum of Natural History
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Dawkins aims to persuade the reader that only the Darwinian world-view can account for the facts of biology. By 'Darwinian world-view' he means the modern synthesis based not only upon the classical Darwinian idea of natural selection but also upon Mendelian genetics, molecular biology and other disciplines. I henceforth use the term 'Darwinism' in this sense. Dawkins never succeeds in persuading me that Darwinism is any more than a plausible speculation. The FACT of evolution seems beyond doubt, but I think there is ample room for questioning whether Darwinism provides a satisfactory account of the MECHANISM of evolution.
According to Paley's classic treatise on natural theology, a man ignorant of the genesis of watches, finding one on a heath, could justifiably conclude from its intricacy and ostensible purposiveness that it was the product of design. But intricacy and ostensible purposiveness are even more pronounced in biological organisms than in a watch. Hence we must infer a Designer of organisms, a Divine Watchnmaker. Whereas Paley sees organisms as instances of ACTUAL design, Dawkins sees them merely as instances of APPARENT design. The semblance of design is due to the intricacy of adaptive adjustment between organism and environment. Such adaptation strikes awe and wonder into the human heart and cries out for explanation. In CHAPTER 2 ("Good Design") Dawkins bids fair to outdo even Paley in conveying this awe and wonder through his fascinating account of bat "sonar".Read more ›
That's a brilliant argument, and it sure would have convinced me. Dawkins takes that argument, and smashes it to pieces. (He does not insult Paley, of course. Neither did Einstien insult Newton).
Dawkins explains how an object (or plant or animal) can be "designed" by the simple process of natural selection, without anyone to do the selecting. All it takes is replication (sexual reproduction) and limited resources. The laws of physics do the rest. The species that are most successful at surviving tend to survive -- it sounds so simple when you think of it that way. So, each generation has more of the successful models and less of the unsuccessful ones.
Once in a while random copying errors occur. Most of these make the plant or animal less successful, and those genes are not passed on. Once in a while, however, the error leads to a better design, and the new gene wins out. Over long, long periods of time, very efficient and very complicated designs can and will show up, even though they have not been designed by anyone. Just as the Grand Canyon was created by a long slow process, so were we.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Timeless arguements to spport the facts of evolution. Sometimes a little long-winded and easy to put downPublished 4 months ago by Brian Talbot
Typical Darkins. Not written in laymans language. Thank god, pardon the pun, for kindle dictionaryPublished 8 months ago by Cec
Good author and strong arguments. Currently starting another Richard Dawkins book.Published 15 months ago by Deniz Hassan
You can't be a lazy reader with this one. You will be forced to think and understand, and you'll be grateful for it.Published 20 months ago by Joseph Csaszar
Highly recommended, produced by an enlightened secular Humanist populist pioneer.
Resplendent writing style that provided lucid concepts. Read more
I can't decide, I think he is right in most of this theories but genetics only can account for so much in my view. Gifted write though. I could be proved wrong of course lolPublished on Nov. 26 2012 by Dean Wirth
Excellent. A marvelous read. In _The Blind Watchmaker_, Richard Dawkins explains how evolution works, touches on how it doesn't work, and he does so in a way in which just about... Read morePublished on July 22 2010 by Hex1a4
I actually read this book 5 years ago. It's a book full of imagination! Of the numerous scientific books I have ever read, this is the one that I will never forget. Read morePublished on Oct. 11 2001