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The Blind Watchmaker Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design

read & download Þ eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF Ú Richard Dawkins

On the unconscious automatic blind yet essentially non random process discovered by Darwin is the only answer to the biggest uestion of all why do we exi. Two summers ago I did myself the favor of reading The Selfish Gene Well I didn’t uite read it; rather I listened to Dawkins and his wife Lalla Ward narrate the book as I took long walks in the forest near my house Incidentally I think Dawkins and to a slightly lesser extent Lalla has a magnificent voice; it’s a pleasure to hear him speak But that’s a matter of taste; what is not a matter of taste is the uality of that book Agree or disagree with Dawkins one must admit that The Selfish Gene is a book of the finest uality Indeed I must say that I wasn’t uite prepared for how good it was I was expecting an entertaining book of popular science; what I got was an elouent subtle and powerful book which managed in a just a couple weeks of long walks to completely transform my understanding of animal behavior This book The Blind Watchmaker—also listened to in a few long walks—is not of the same caliber But it is uite good Well if it were written by almost anybody except Dawkins himself I would say it was very good—but I know the heights he can reach I know close to nothing about his advocacy of atheism and frankly I don’t much care but I think the public has a rare treasure in Dawkins; what other popular biology writer can compare Dawkins is to an almost remarkable extent as much a philosopher as a scientist This book as well as his first is jammed full of thought experiments; Dawkins simply can’t get enough of them This emphasis on philosophical argumentation allows him so to speak to take the reader inside the logic of Darwinism as well as inside the fuzzy logic of Darwinism’s opponents He doesn’t simply tell the reader things biologists think—like a reporter sending dispatches from the front lines—but tries to get the layreader to understand exactly why biologists think what they do As a result his books can actually be a bit dense and exhausting; but the patient reader is amply rewarded with a deepened understanding The main reason that this book wasn’t as enjoyable as his first was that Dawkins spends an awful lot of time dealing with contemporary controversies This was I believe a time of the famed ‘Darwin Wars’ when Gould and his followers had highly publicized debates with team Dawkins Apparently reporters were very eager to report anything even slightly critical of Darwinian theory—whether it be from taxonomists paleontologists or priests—so Dawkins was forced to spend a lot of time on material that to today’s reader may be of limited interest For example Dawkins becomes almost pedantic in his chapter on punctuated euilibrium as he argues again and again that Gould is not a ‘true’ saltationist but only a modified gradualist Having read Gould I was personally interested in this; but I would understand if others were not Perhaps I was not the book’s target audience as I needed no convincing that Darwinian evolution is both a well supported and a powerful theory Nonetheless Dawkins did manage to clear up some of evolution’s finer point for me I was particularly excited when not to take too much credit Dawkins confirmed a suspicion that I had expressed a few years back when I was learning about human evolution I was actually in Kenya studying with the Leakeys who—being the Leakeys—had plastic casts of several dozen important hominin fossils in their lab As my anatomy teacher enjoyed pointing out the vast majority of hominin fossils for any given species can fit inside a shoebox Most of the fossils are distorted broken or otherwise fragmentary Yet from these scant remains paleoanthropologists expend tremendous energy arguing about the hominin family tree Is this skull cap Homo erectus or Homo habilis Is this thigh bone from an early homo or a late autralopithecus Somewhat exasperated by all this ambiguity—about what appeared to me to be a matter of words—I got an idea what if the idea of ‘species’ itself breaks down in an evolutionary timescale After all if we believe that species change via gradual selection one to another it follows that there must be individuals intermediate between any two given hominin species and further individuals intermediate between the intermediates—and so on Eureka Well it turns out Dawkins as well as many other probably had the very same idea long before; it appears that convergent evolution is even prevalent among memes than genes As a side note if one believes like Gould in punctuated euilibrium then ‘species’ would still be valid in an evolutionary timescale Perhaps this is why the paleoanthropologists are still arguing I got sidetracked—back to the book Speaking of sidetracked Dawkins is the master of the interesting aside and the lengthy digression; and even impressively he always manages to tie his asides and digressions neatly back into the main theme under discussion Well I’m afraid I don’t have very much to say other than this if you find yourself with a supply of long walks and need an audiobook as accompaniment you might as well download Dawkins’s crisp dry whispery voice and deepen your understanding of the flora and fauna around you—whether it be this book or if you want a real treat his first

read & download The Blind Watchmaker Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design

Acclaimed as the most influential work on evolution written in the last hundred years The Blind Watchmaker offers an inspiring and accessible introductio. Dawkins loves explaining evolutionary theory and this is one of his best books My favourite bit is the section on long tailed birds peacocks etc From the point of view of simple utility they are rather baffling What use could you possibly have for that long stupid tailBut as Dawkins keeps reminding us it's not about survival of the species or even of the individual but rather of the gene Suppose there's a sex linked male gene that disposes towards long tails and a sex linked female gene that disposes towards finding long tails attractive A child born of a union between two individuals carrying these genes will be likely to have both of them Hence if it's male it'll have a long tail and if it's female it will prefer males with long tails If this combination becomes common long tailed males will have a larger and larger advantage in terms of being preferred by females Tails will lengthen until the practical downside being unable to fly avoid predators etc counterbalances the upside of efficiently attracting potential matesI read this and suddenly looked at supermodels in a new light God they're hot In fact if they were any hotter they'd be dead

read & download Þ eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF Ú Richard Dawkins

N to one of the most important scientific discoveries of all time A brilliant and controversial book which demonstrates that evolution by natural selecti. As the title's extension spells out this is a definitive as of '87 rebuttal against all comers in favor of Darwinism but don't let my saying so prove it Read it for yourselfAll his arguments are crystal clear but he takes extra time to caricature the caricature of Darwinists pointing out exactly how the ad absurdum argument really works while also elucidating the fine points of what Darwinism IS versus what it is NOTHe steps us through the first third of the book showing us how Selection works from an energy standpoint a competition standpoint and a sexual standpoint from the basic building blocks of proteins to and complex forms of DNA and the combo cells that collect all the wonderful multicellular creations including bacteria that eventually wind up creating us The descriptions are uite beautiful and clear and all the while we've got all the foundations for life without Intelligent Design The argument is simple of course If we can explain everything and I mean everything that is life and physics then what purpose does adding a superfluous layer to the explanation serveThis is ten years worth of hate mail for the author people He has been beset on all sides with genuinely curious and well meaning seekers of the god fearing sort and inundated with screaming lunatics telling him he'll burn in hell for his first book The Selfish Gene which by the way didn't really give a rat's ass about creationism or the people who support it It just laid out a very cogent theory that fit all the copious mountains of data in biology And yet after that point a Mr Dawkins who professes not to want or need a PR team or lawyers decides to put his foot down and tackle the problem that has reared its muti angled head in his direction and DEFEND DarwinismHe does so beautifully I might add Every step of the way he defines the complaints with due diligence and proceeds to demolish them sonar producing batlike grace with light humor sharp intellect and sometimes he makes of his opponents an overzealous meal Can you blame him Granted by this point it's only been a decade of Creationist hate Give it a decade or a decade and a half before we see a truly flame worthy attack from MrDawkins I'm looking forward to seeing some of it in his books I hope it's there and not just in his interviews which I still haven't seen AlasSeriously though this book is pretty wonderful for its lucid and uoteworthy passages and vivid descriptions of how Darwinism works from gene level to the kinds of time spans that can only be described as geological when it comes to real changes in evolution I particularly loved the fact that he used computer terminology to describe how our genes are nothing than complex computers I've heard this before of course but the way he laid it out was particularly enlighteningThis stuff is pretty damn great Just from the science viewpoint even leaving out the whole defense it's well worth reading and not nearly as acerbic or rabid as certain other mass produced troll attacks make him appear But then again I've only read one of his later books the The Magic of Reality How We Know What's Really True which was just a charming bi modal description of science versus magical thinking which also happened to gently draw people away from having to add that extra layer of explanation to reality I guess I'll see what the other books bring no

  • Hardcover
  • 358
  • The Blind Watchmaker Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design
  • Richard Dawkins
  • English
  • 10 January 2017
  • null