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The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  32,634 Ratings  ·  1,473 Reviews
Charles Darwin’s masterpiece, On the Origin of Species, shook society to its core on publication in 1859. Darwin was only too aware of the storm his theory of evolution would provoke but he would surely have raised an incredulous eyebrow at the controversy still raging a century and a half later. Evolution is accepted as scientific fact by all reputable scientists and inde ...more
Hardcover, 470 pages
Published September 10th 2009 by Bantam Press (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

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Oct 21, 2013 Manny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To any Young Earth Creationist who happens to be reading this review

First, thank you for getting this far. It's to your credit: you're willing to find out something about what the other side has to say. You're probably expecting I'll tell you to read Dawkins's latest book. In fact, I'm not going to do that.

Don't read this book. Dawkins is disrespectful and arrogant about Young Earth Creationism, and he will only annoy you. Instead, I suggest that you might want to look at Charles Darwin's On th
May 20, 2010 A.J. rated it really liked it
There's a general feeling out there about Richard Dawkins that he's a little too shrill, a little too hard on people, and perhaps a tad too full of himself. I've had a couple of these thoughts from time to time, though not the last one, and would almost catch myself nodding in agreement until I put myself in the man's shoes. Professor Dawkins is brilliant with a capital B. He is fanatically devoted to science and his particular subject, evolutionary biology. He has spent his life researching and ...more
Nov 09, 2009 diana rated it it was ok
Two disclaimers before I begin my review:

1. I am an atheist.
2. I am a molecular biologist.

So, I am clearly not the target audience. That being said, I really wanted to like this book. I am so happy that there are people out there who are speaking out in defense of evolution and (although not in this book) atheism, and as such I want to support Richard Dawkins. However, the best way I can sum up my feelings about the book is to say that it resembles a very long version of an undergraduate's final
Jul 09, 2011 Maria rated it it was amazing
With the help of drawings, photos, cartoons, tables, diagrams & notes, an emphasis on extremely lucid step-by-step explanations, examples, iteration & reiteration & plenty of humor, R Dawkins shows that we are indeed so lucky to be witness to the Greatest Show on Earth -- this wonderful book is addressed not only to those interested in our natural world (and who'll maybe wish they'd majored in biology) but more particularly to the creationists and proponents of "intelligent design" - ...more
May 04, 2016 Caroline rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Caroline by: Steve aka Sckenda
Shelves: 5-star-books, science
What a stunning read. I have read several books by Dawkins, mostly concerning evolution, and I think this was the easiest to understand. This is partly because I skipped the most difficult bits! For instance I am never going to know how carbon dating is done - but I can live with that. For the most part the book was hugely readable and deeply fascinating. The one thing that marred my pleasure slightly was the stress throughout on proving the theory of evolution to creationists, but then he would ...more
Ahmad  Ebaid
Jun 29, 2016 Ahmad Ebaid marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
في جناح مكتبة الأسرة بمعرض القاهرة الكتاب
توقفت لأسأل عن الكتاب فجاء الرد بـ"مفيش" في لهجة تخلو من التذمر المعتاد للموظفين الحكوميين

أحسست حينها بشيء غير طبيعي
تسمرت مكاني بضع لحظات لالتقاط انتباهي الذي كان مازال مشتتا بين أرفف الكتب الكثيرة التي بحثت فيها عن الكتاب
فلاحظت أن الموظف صاحب السلوك الشاذ عن موظفينا الشرفاء, ذو سمت سلفي, من دقن طويلة دون شارب, وابتسامة تستر أضراسه دائما وأبداً
ولاحظت أيضاً أنه مازال يتجه بنظره نحوي, فأنا مازالت أسد الطريق إلى مكتبه

هممت بقطع الصمت الغير مبرر, فسارع لسرقة ا
Nov 28, 2009 Marvin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Richard Dawkins has taken his seat along with Stephen Hawking and Carl Sagan as a great populist of science. In all of his science books and especially in The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence For Evolution, He has taken a complex subject and presented it with clarity to a population that usually gets lost in the seemingly foreign language of most scientists. Yet he does not "dumb down" neither. He has a gift for beautifully explaining difficult topics in a way a layman can understand. He sav ...more
Kris Madaus
Jan 06, 2010 Kris Madaus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Wow! This is definitely one of those books that makes you look at the world a little differently after reading. Richard Dawkins writes so well on the subject. He is extremely thorough in his description of the fact of evolution, but he doesn't dumb down his explanations either. If you are interested in a particular subject, he often references places you can go to continue the story. He paints a beautiful picture of how evolution really works and why that helps you appreciate this amazing world

Jan 21, 2010 Catie rated it it was amazing
Dawkins arguments for evolution are elegant and, in some cases, simply breath-taking. As a psychology professor myself, and as one who has had to contend with "history deniers" for years, I especially liked his description of Lenski's research on the evolution of bacteria. Although facts have always been denied by those who claim Intelligent Design as a valid explanation for all nature, Dawkins painstakingly and elegantly lays out unassailable facts in support of the theory of evolution. He stak ...more
Tag Riggs
May 20, 2011 Tag Riggs rated it it was ok
After reading this book, I quickly realized that it was targeted for a particular audience--the choir complete with holy robes and clapping hands shouting, "...Preach it brother Dawkins, preach it my brother, Evolution AMEN!, Hallelujah!" I honestly think that it is required that you be a Dawkinite and part of the Dawkins Tabernacle Choir in order for you to take this book seriously.

I was fully expecting some kind of scientific treatise yet it ended up being like a bunch of guys on the dock lau
Kat Kennedy
Oct 15, 2014 Kat Kennedy rated it it was amazing
A really well written, interesting, logical discussion on evolution. I quite enjoyed this book.
The greatest show on earth, indeed.

Dawkins may be an annoying, islamphobic/religiophobic, sexist prick, but there's no denying that he's a brilliant scientist.

Evolution is a scientific fact. The evidence supporting it is just so overwhelming for it to be otherwise. From fossils (we've got transitional fossils, like Tiktaalik roseae , and Homo erectus ), to evolutionary leftovers (in humans, for instance, there are the appendix, wisdom teeth, and goose bumps, to name a few), and most recently
Dec 09, 2012 Des rated it it was amazing
Shelves: british, science
Most of what Dawkins explains in this book was not yet known when I went to school.
My jaw was dropping several times during this most pleasurable trip through the physical evidence of evolution.
In 4 billion years we went from a single cell to a fully developed human, and now each of us has repreated it in the 9 months we are in the womb of our mother. The wonder of epigenisis without a blueprint!

But the funniest part in it was his quote of Monty Pythons 'All things dull and ugly':
All things dul
Tyler Franklin
Aug 28, 2012 Tyler Franklin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Clearly, this is a love story. Dawkin's passion for his subject is contagious. It is the locus of his expertise, the focus of his joy. He can't help himself at times, asking the reader's forgiveness and veering off-task to mention some obscure fact that blossoms into its own microchapter or multi-page footnote. And it is all really quite fascinating.

Many despise Dawkins. He's one of those guys people love to hate. In my experience, religious persons of any stripe collectively agree that his is a
I wish I'd had engaging and interesting texts like this to read when I had to take science classes in high school. I always wanted to like science so much, but I always got bogged down in minutae, in questions the text or teachers didn't address, and in the boredom of rote memorization. This book really made me like biology. Not only does it explain concepts in an intelligent and cohesive way, it has pictures! Color pictures, even. Much like the ones I stared at in biology or earth science inste ...more
Mohamed Elmasry
Jul 09, 2015 Mohamed Elmasry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
- بدأ الأمر بالنسبة لي في مارس على الأغلب، مجلة "ناشيونال جيوجرافيك" العالمية أصدرت ملفها الرئيسي بعنوان "حرب على العلم"، وبجانبه عناوين فرعية: "الأرض مسطحة لا تدور" "الهبوط على القمر أكذوبة".. إلخ، اشتهر العدد لأن النسخة العربية من المجلة حذفت عند الطبع أحد العناوين الجانبية: "التطور لم يحدث"

علاقتي بالتطور سطحية جداً جداً، تتوقف على الأغلب عند أقاويل أن النظرية سقطت، وربما "الإنسان أصله قرد"، افتتاحية "كوبريك" في أوديسا الفضاء كانت أعمق ما أعرفه عن التطور، جَهل شديد، لذلك كان من المُلفت بالنسبة
David S. T.
May 04, 2011 David S. T. rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011, science
This isn't the best introductory book I've read on evolution, Dawkins loves to insult the people who don't hold his views, goes way to far sometimes to get his point across and has a tendency to ramble on and mention interesting but irrelevant stuff. Once you get past the flaws this actually is a pretty good book, oddly by the end some of those qualities I hated about the book in the beginning, I started to appreciate more in the end (I kind of enjoy the almost pointless side stories and facts). ...more
Oct 24, 2013 Cherie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, science
Richard Dawkins has crafted a masterpiece dedicated to explaining evolution in a way that the layman can understand, providing excellent examples of evidence from fossil evidence to observable evidence, genetic evidence, and so on. My personal favorite chapter was on the geographic distribution of animals and speciation. It is really like an extraordinary puzzle that fits together so beautifully. Richard Dawkins uses the detective analogy to describe the study of evolution. And I can't think of ...more
Jamie Franklin
Jan 20, 2013 Jamie Franklin rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Almost no one
It's hard to put into words how unlikable and transparently arrogant a man is Richard Dawkins. So arrogant and pompous is he that he writes a book of almost 500 pages on the topic of 'The Evidence for Evolution' and, instead of providing us with the juicily promised evidence, what he actually provides is a series of self-congratulatory anecdotes, endless digressions into irrelevant subject areas in order to show off his scientific erudition, and asides to his Z-grade celebrity atheist zero frien ...more
Marius Masalar
This is a challenging book to assess. My first question, upon finishing it, is "who is this for?"

The science is too involved for a scientifically illiterate fundamentalist creationist audience, the sardonic tone likewise off-putting to them, and the atheists like me who share his broad perspective hardly need a hand-held walk through the garden of nature's wonders and weirdnesses.

Then again, maybe we do: it should be emphasised that this book makes for a fantastic full spectrum look at the subje
Mohamed Eshawaf
بعيدًا عن النبرة المُتسلّطة لدوكنز، ورغبته الزائدة عن الحد في اعتراف الجميع بالتطور، إلا أن تفويت كتاب مُبسّط عن التطور مثل هذا الكتاب خسارة كبيرة، فليس فقط الطريقة البديعة التي يمارس بها التطور سلطانه هي محفّز قوي للقراءة عنه، لكن أيضًا هناك كم مدهش من المعلومات التي تم إهمالها بجُرم أنها معلومات تطورية.
أيضًا كون هذا الكتاب هو المدخل الأول الحقيقي لي في هذا العلم، فقد بدأته متحفّزًا بأسئلة ظننت أنها مُعجزة ، لكن مع الوقت أدركت أن مثل هذه الأسئلة ليست مُعجزة كما ظننت وإنما هي نتاج جهل وعدم معرفة
Steven Peterson
Dec 04, 2011 Steven Peterson rated it really liked it
Bookmarks begins its review of this book by saying: "'Like a detective reconstructing a crime' (San Francisco Chronicle), Dawkins amasses a mountain of evidence in this richly illustrated, enormously readable explanation of the theory of evolution." This book is Dawkins' effort to lay out the evidence for evolution. His target is the "intelligent design" approach to explaining why species end up as they are--explicitly rejecting Darwinian evolutionary theory.

The book features many fascinating ex
M.G. Mason
Aug 18, 2012 M.G. Mason rated it it was amazing
Dawkins latest book finally tackles creationism in a not-so-head-on collision. Always vowing to never answer a challenge directly, Dawkins does it in the best way he possibly could, by demonstrating why evolution is true.

He seemingly leaves no stone uncovered in the challenge, often tackling direct claims made by creationists and demonstrating why they are false. He also covers how speciation has been observed and the whole "show me your transitional fossils" non-argument is handled masterfully.
Feb 28, 2015 Charbel rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, science
Evolution is one of my favourite subjects, and it saddens me how many people refuse to see the beauty of it, let alone give it a chance. I've never been one to push my opinions on others, and I consider myself an open minded person, but I feel that people don't believe in evolution, simply because they don't want to believe in it.

However, I am happy to say that once again Richard Dawkins has presented the unifying theory of evolution convincingly. Unfortunately, the only people that would be
Apr 02, 2010 David rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful book! I've enjoyed several other books by Richard Dawkins, and this is his best. The chapter named "History Written All Over Us" could have been called, "Unintelligent Design". It is just one of many arguments, why evolution is a proven theory.

Dawkins makes a point that a good scientific theory must be falsibiable. That means, that if certain evidence were ever collected, or observations made, then one must conclude that the theory is false. He describes how if fossils were eve
Mar 26, 2010 Merilee rated it it was amazing
I am almost sad to finish this excellent book, my fifth of Dawkins'. It ranks right up there with Climbing Mount Improbable and River out of Eden. Dawkins writes beautifully, especially for a scientist, with a combination of erudition and wit. I have a fairly strong background in science, but I don't think that this book would be too much of a slog for the intelligent humanities-based reader. The book's subtitle is The Evidence for Evolution, and the case he makes is cogent and convincing (altho ...more
In the present spirit of literary descendent-drawing, allow me to assure you that, in its wordplay, erudite references, and plethora of pleasingly flagrant diversions, Dawkins' book is tantalizingly close to the kind of volume on evolutionary biology that we'd expect from Tristram himself, had Tristram been a different person in so many ways as to make the comparison completely meaningless.
Jan 14, 2015 emile rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Evolution : The only game in town, the greatest show on earth.
فتحي سرور
Apr 12, 2016 فتحي سرور rated it really liked it
صدر الكتاب في في سياق الأحتفال بالذكرى المئتين لميلاد داروين والمئة والخمسين لنشر "أصل الأنواع" ،يدل عنوان الكتاب الفرعي(أدلة التطور)على طبيعة محتواه،حيث قدم دوكنز على مدى فصول الكتاب ال عرضاً لطبيعة الأدلة التي تؤكد حقيقة التطور وصحة نظرية الأنتخاب الطبيعي.

دعونا نسأل:هل تتوقع أن ترى كتاباً بعنوان"أدلة حدوث الأنزياح القاري؟”أو"لماذا معادلات الحركة لنيوتن صحيحة؟"؟...بالطبع لا..فالتطور هو الحقيقة العلمية الوحيدة التي مازالت في حاجة لتأليف الكتب لتفهيمها بالتفصيل للعامة وعرض أدلتها وبيان لماذا هي
Mar 23, 2010 Terry rated it liked it
Ironically a book on evolution would be a chimera of textbook, polemic, and panegyric it does none of those things particularly well. Too informal to be authoritative and too casual to be something one could refer someone to this book fits into the wide middle of Dawkins book which are summed up as "nice but someone else has done it better".

Dawkins' books seem to grow out a nagging urge to yell something at the world and "the point" is poorly spread across sprawling chapters that reference acros
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صدر حديثا - كتب و...: أعظم استعراض فوق الأرض : أدلة التطور.الجزء الأول - ريتشارد دوكنز 1 33 Jul 17, 2015 03:46PM  
Monkey 1 29 Jan 02, 2015 08:03AM  
Chimp 7 107 Aug 07, 2014 01:36AM  
Update some present science concepts... 2 98 Oct 09, 2012 10:05AM  
  • Why Evolution Is True
  • Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design
  • The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution
  • Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters
  • Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life
  • Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea
  • Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul
  • Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution
  • The Counter-Creationism Handbook
  • The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God
  • Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes: Further Reflections in Natural History
  • What Evolution Is
  • The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us
  • Letter to a Christian Nation
  • Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body
  • The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions
  • Nature Via Nurture: Genes, Experience and What Makes Us Human

Share This Book

“Evolution could so easily be disproved if just a single fossil turned up in the wrong date order. Evolution has passed this test with flying colours.” 132 likes
“Why would an all-powerful creator decide to plant his carefully crafted species on islands and continents in exactly the appropriate pattern to suggest, irresistibly, that they had evolved and dispersed from the site of their evolution?” 88 likes
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