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The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution

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Charles Darwin, whose 1859 masterpiece "On the Origin of Species" shook society to its core, would surely have raised an incredulous eyebrow at the controversy over evolution still raging 150 years later.

"The Greatest Show on Earth" is a stunning counter-attack on creationists, followers of "Intelligent Design" and all those who still question evolution as scientific fact. In this brilliant tour de force, Richard Dawkins pulls together the incontrovertible evidence that underpins it: from living examples of natural selection to clues in the fossil record; from plate tectonics to molecular genetics.

"The Greatest Show on Earth" comes at a critical time as systematic opposition to the fact of evolution flourishes as never before in many schools worldwide. Dawkins wields a devastating argument against this ignorance whilst sharing with us his palpable love of science and the natural world. Written with elegance, wit and passion, it is hard-hitting, absorbing and totally convincing.

470 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2009

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Richard Dawkins

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,084 reviews
Profile Image for Manny.
Author 29 books13.6k followers
October 22, 2013
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 the Origin of Species. When Darwin wrote it, pretty much everyone in the world was a Young Earth Creationist. Darwin had a great deal of sympathy for the Creationist position, and one of his own favorite books, which influenced him deeply, was the Creationist classic Natural Theology, by William Paley. Despite all this, Darwin found arguments which soon convinced a large part of his audience that their ideas about Young Earth Creationism were wrong.

Dawkins continually quotes Darwin. He shows that even though Darwin didn't understand how evolution works - no one knew about DNA yet, or even the basics of genetic theory - the evidence at his disposal produced an overwhelming case that evolution must be the the root cause of the huge diversity of observed species. The clearest and most unanswerable part of the argument is the geographical distribution of the different kinds of animals. Just stop and think for a moment about the single fact that sloths are only to be found in South America. If the story of the Biblical Flood were true, then those slow-moving, tree-dwelling sloths would somehow have had to migrate from Mount Ararat to Brazil in a few thousand years, leaving no colonies anywhere en route. Darwin's Victorian audience thought carefully about the sloths, and could not find a sensible answer. It was even more impossible for them to explain, not just that kangaroos only exist in Australia, but that many similar species - wallabies, koalas, wombats and other marsupials - also only exist in Australia. There were a thousand more pieces of evidence, and they gave up. Darwin did not try to humiliate them, and he honestly admitted that there were important parts of the story he did not yet understand. Even with those provisos, the case was unanswerable. Since Darwin's time, nearly all of the missing parts of his argument have been filled in, as Dawkins explains here. But that's less important.

As I said, start with Darwin. He's writing politely and respectfully for people like you, who are skeptical about evolution and want to be shown good reasons to believe it, and he is remarkably convincing.
Profile Image for diana.
51 reviews20 followers
November 9, 2009
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 paper on evolution. Many arguments are not at all clear or well made, the diagram labeling is irregular or completely non-existent, and he does not seem to grasp how to effectively use figures to add to the text. He contradicts himself at least once (but pretty majorly), but it seems that this is due more to a faulty simplification of the scientific explanation that to a lack of knowledge.

Ultimately, that's what it comes down to for me: all of the faults I found in the book should not have been there, because I KNOW that HE KNOWS BETTER. Not to mention that his goal would have been better served had he saved all of his half-assed, baseless speculations for beers with the fellas and used the space in the book to include more evidence for evolution. For example, one thing he did not address at all is morality/altruism, which would have been very relevant for creationists (who ARE his target audience) and for which there are some really interesting theories. Finally, while I understand the frustration, condescending anger is not generally a great tool for convincing people, regardless of how wrong they are.
Profile Image for A.J..
136 reviews51 followers
May 20, 2010
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 exploring the elegant mysteries and pathways of life on our lonely blue world. And what does he get in return? 44% of Americans––granted he's British––think that the earth and everything in it was specially created about ten thousand years ago, that man roamed the earth with dinosaurs, and that the whole of biology and evolutionary history are to be supplanted by a fairy tale about a couple of teenagers who were convinced by a talking snake to eat an enchanted apple. This state of affairs would be repugnant enough if it was a privately held fantasy; instead what Dawkins gets is constant bombardment from imbeciles who want creation 'science' 'theory' taught alongside evolution in schools, as if there was some competition between the two. By air, land, sea, or Trojan Horse (Intelligent Design, so called), biologists are incessantly having to deal with misrepresentation and ignorance on a profound and disturbing scale.

I personally, however, can't be too harsh. Not only was I once a creationist; I was the worst kind of creationist, a young earth creationist. Not only was I a young earth creationist; I was the worst sort of young earth creationist, a Kent Hovindiite. I was to science was the Philistines were to the Hebrews, what the Empire was to the Rebellion, what that kid with down syndrome is to Einstein. What I can do, though, is say with complete certainty is that education, not argument, is the antidote to creationism. Ignorance isn't a crime, and usually people aren't ignorant on purpose. For your average layman, it's not his fault that science education standards are so poor, or that lying snake oil salesmen like Ken Ham successfully peddle bullshit for a living.

Having considered all that, I'm fairly convinced that your typical creationist response to this book will be a glassy stare and a trickle of drool. Part of this will be the enormous amount of nonsense, misrepresentations, misunderstandings, outdated arguments, falsehoods, and outright lies that have until now occupied the six inches of space between their ears. Trying to explain the complexities of biology to someone who thinks that Big Bang Cosmology is 'darwinism' is a higher mountain than Dawkins book is likely able to climb. A lot of bad wiring had to be completely redone even for me to follow the major themes of this book, and I've put a lot of effort into it.

The second drawback is a personal weakness of Dawkins' writing. It's unfocussed, not particularly well organized, and it lacks the ferocious punch of amateur youtubers like Thunderf00t and Aronra (whose video series 'The Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism' is balls-out awesome). Granted, the history of life on our planet and all the myriad means that we have of understanding it is not a topic suited to one book. I still maintain that the chapters could have been better ordered and more centered around a particular point, as opposed to the more conversational sprawl that is Dawkins' style. I find him a better speaker-communicator than writer-communicator, but a better writer than orator, if that makes any sense.

Despite that, I appreciate the effort, passion, and the expertise that Professor Dawkins brings to this book. It is in its way a powerful examination of this subject, and riddled with amazing discoveries and evidences that while they only manage to show a fragment of the deluge that is the evidence for evolution, still enriches the mind and helps non-scientists to explore the wonders of the natural world.

"Evolution is a fact. Beyond reasonable doubt, beyond serious doubt, beyond sane, informed, intelligent doubt, beyond doubt evolution is a fact...That didn't have to be true. It is not self-evidently, tautologically, obviously true, and there was a time when most people, even educated people, thought it wasn't. It didn't have to be true, but it is....Evolution is the only game in town, the greatest show on earth."

Profile Image for Kevin.
495 reviews83 followers
March 4, 2023
I can not emphasize enough how much I admire and respect Richard Dawkins. His books are veritable university courses on biology, anthropology and natural history, this one is no exception. If there's a knock on The Greatest Show On Earth, it's that you cannot read it when you're tired or sleepy. Richard is so passionate about his vocation that he sometimes forgets that some of us don't have his stamina, much less his vocabulary.

Dawkins excels at anticipating counter arguments, probably because he hears them frequently, and he is quick to offer rock solid scientific evidence to bolster his bullet points. He also has a knack for coming at issues from various angles. Just when you think two pages of zoology have sufficiently put a topic to rest (BAM!) here comes a paragraph of chemistry for good measure.

Dawkins is adamantly opposed to ignorance. This is not a tome for the obtuse or faint of heart. This is a study in academic truth.
Profile Image for WarpDrive.
272 reviews388 followers
December 23, 2019
An educational masterpiece of popular science, this is a brilliant, riveting page-turner written with eloquence, passion and competence.
I am almost embarrassed to admit that I waited until now to read this shining book, which comprises so many themes in disparate but related areas in the realms of biology, anthropology, natural history, molecular chemistry and, of course, evolution theory.

I am at a real loss to express how rewarding this reading experience has proved to be: after only 10% of the book I would not have hesitated to very highly recommend it to anybody interested in how life has evolved on this Planet.
And, after less than 20% of the book, I was completely hooked: yes, many items discussed by Dawkins are public common knowledge, but the author puts everything all beautifully and passionately together in a riveting, compelling and highly coherent narrative that does not fail to illustrate the beauty and the unmatched thrill of the process of scientific inquiry.

In particular, the case for evolution is proved with such an overwhelming overabundance of highly converging evidence, that only the most blinkered stupidity or close-mindedness can enable anybody to still promote a Creationist ideology in 2019.

Some reviewers have criticized the barbed witticism and the occasionally acerbic attacks on Creationism carried out by the author in a sustained and forceful manner. I personally think these criticisms are unwarranted, and I actually found that Dawkins is always well justified and quite balanced and moderate in his approach: in this world of political correctness, too many people are scared to call a spade a spade and I think that the sheer obtuseness, stupidity and ignorance that pervade many anti-science Creationist attitudes should be named and denounced for what they are and for the danger that they represent to the future of the next generations. Dawkins' disdain for Creationism and its fundamental ideological opposition to science, and for its "counter-arguments" to evolution theory, is always completely warranted.
Actually, i would have loved to see Dawkins highlight more explicitly how science is an integrated, coherent, cross-sustaining whole, similar to a gigantic epistemological crossword, and that you can't just pick and choose only the parts that do not conflict with your own religious or philosophical prejudices. This is precisely why climate change deniers, or "history-deniers" (using the apt term adopted by Dawkins to define Creationists) are not just dangerous for their own misguided "theories", but also because they implicitly jeopardize the position and progress of science "in toto". It is ironic that, given such an undeniable successes of modern science, even staunch Creationists hesitate to carry out a frontal attack on science, as some of them have at least some residual sense of ridicule: they prefer instead to promote pseudo-scientific misconceptions, (ab)using scientific terminology, or to promote the suggestion (like in the case of climate change) that the scientific community is divided on the issue. These attempts are as dangerous as any frontal explicit attack on science. Similarly dangerous, and similarly cowardly in their attempt to disguise the underlying ideology, are some of the s0-called "academic freedom" bills, which permit teachers to introduce creationist material into science classes. Science, truth and the natural world could not give a fig about the delusional ravings of ideologically inspired legislators: Nature is what it is, regardless of how we wish it to be. And Creationism, which has the same scientific credentials as Harry Potter, simply does not belong in a science class.

However, having said all of this, I would not want to convey the incorrect impression that this book is mainly aimed at polemical aims: on the contrary, all arguments are presented in a coherent, lucid, highly informative and very persuasive way, and the elements of criticism are more than balanced by the book's constructive side, as the author has a real gift for lucidly treating some not-so-straightforward topics in a way any layman with a modicum of prior scientific education can very easily understand.

The last chapter of the book is very sobering, illustrating how almost half the Americans (42%, according to a 2008 poll) reject evolution and believe that the Universe, the Earth and all current forms of life were created less than 10,000 years ago. Sadly, things cannot have improved much since, especially in the sad spectacle represented by today's post-truth and anti-science Trump's America, and this is all the reason to publish and promote books by the likes of Dawkins (the real solution would be to fundamentally overhaul and rebuild the public educational system, as there must be something terribly wrong and dysfunctional in a system that generates a population of which half believe in a "Young Earth" - but this is a different subject, I guess).

Totally recommended, this book should be made compulsory reading in all high schools. 5 stars.

PS: a couple of quotes from the book:
- it would be nice if those who oppose evolution would take a tiny bit of trouble to learn the merest rudiments of what it is that they are opposing
- (as a consequence of the Young Earth Creationist views) stars whose distance from us is more than a few thousand light years must have been created with ready-made light beams stretching almost all the way to us
Profile Image for Maria.
132 reviews36 followers
July 10, 2011
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" -- as evidence for evolution it's one of the most fascinating books I've ever read. It's a beautifully detailed and concisely written effort (albeit a bit repetitious at times) that's full of extraordinary facts both serious and silly, a real experience. It's TERRIBLY witty. It filled me with joy. It should be read by everyone everywhere.
Profile Image for Peiman E iran.
1,394 reviews703 followers
July 24, 2019
دوستانِ گرانقدر، از دیدگاهِ من، این کتابِ 580 صفحه ای، یکی از ارزشمندترین و آموزنده ترین کتابهایِ تاریخ است... «ریچارد داوکینز» این استاد و دانشمندِ خردمند و فرهیخته، با نوشتنِ این کتاب، نه تنها همچون گذشته با نوشته هایش دهانِ بیخردان و آفرینش باورانِ بیسواد را بسته است، بلکه اعتماد به نفسی به خوانندۀ این کتاب میدهد، که با آگاهی از موضوعاتِ گوناگونِ علمی، بتواند در جمع هایِ مختلف، با سری بالا از آنچه آموخته است، سخن بگوید
این ریویو را در دو بخش برایِ شما عزیزان مینویسم.. بخشِ نخست در موردِ این کتاب و درونمایۀ آن است و بخشِ دوم در موردِ تکامل و مسائلِ مربوط به آفرینش میباشد
ریچارد داوکینز، این اندیشمندِ بزرگ، با زبانی گویا، حقایق و کشفیاتِ به روزی از: دانشِ ژنتیک، زمین شناسی، شیمی، زیست شناسی، میکروب شناسی، دانشِ مربوط به شناختِ سلولها و کاراییِ آنها، باکتری شناسی، کیهان شناسی، فسیل شناسی، گیاه شناسی، جانور شناسی، شناختِ آنزیم ها و پروتئینها، را در این کتاب به شما آموزش میدهد.... از تکامل به شکلی تازه سخن میگوید.. و در ادامه به مواردی همچون شکل دادن به خزانۀ ژن در موجودات، پرورشِ طبیعی، پرورشِ انتخابی، اهلی کردنِ جانواران به وسیلۀ طبیعت، انتخابِ طبیعی، ساعتهایِ گوناگونِ وقایع شمار همچون ساعتهایِ تکاملی، حلقه هایِ درختان، ساعتهایِ رادیواکتیوی، ساعتهایِ مولکولی و استفاده از کربن در محاسبۀ زمانِ تکامل، اشاره میکند و سپس با مثالهایی جذاب ثابت میکند که تکامل در برابرِ چشمانِ ما در حالِ رخ دادن است و آفرینش باوران نسبت به آن آگاهی ندارند و نمیخواهند بپذیرند.. شکافها و حلقه هایِ تکاملی را نشان میدهد و در موردِ ماهی هایی که نیاکانِ ما بوده اند توضیح میدهد که چگونه نیاکانِ ما از آب به خشکی آمدند و جریانِ شش و آبشش داشتنِ موجودات چیست.. در موردِ نهنگ و دلفین و تفاوتِ آنها با دیگر آبزیان مینویسد.. در موردِ تمامیِ شاخه هایِ انسانهایِ نخستین سخن میگوید و نشان میدهد که موجوداتِ موهومی همچون آدم و حوا، جایگاهی در چرخۀ تکاملِ دانش نداشته و ندارند و همگی داستانهایِ ساختگی توسطِ ادیان میباشند.. داوکینز با دانش و مواردِ اثبات شده، نشان میدهد که قرار نیست هماهنگ کننده ای در جهان وجود داشته باشد.. این طبیعت است که از همان اول همه چیز را پیش برده و به این روند ادامه میدهد.. از مدل سازی هایِ سلولی و تشکیلِ سیستمِ عصبی و لوله هایِ عصبی برای شما مینویسد و نقص هایِ ما انسانها و دیگرِ موجودات را نشان میدهد .. که این گویایِ این حقیقت است که اگر به خیالِ باطلِ آفرینش باوران، خالقی وجود داشته که موجودات را خلق کرده، آن خالق در مهندسی هایش اشتباهاتِ بیشماری داشته و کلی نواقص در بدنِ موجودات باقی گذاشته است.. موجوداتِ مختلف، ایراد و نقص هایِ احمقانۀ زیادی در وجودشان دارند... ریچارد داوکینز، این آموزگارِ خوش سخن، رمزهایِ ژنتیکی و همتاسازی هایِ مولکولی را به ساده ترین شکل به خوانندۀ کتاب آموزش میدهد... داوکینز از حرکتِ قاره ها در طولِ تاریخ میگوید و نشان میدهد که چگونه پوسته و ورقه هایِ زمین حرکت کرده و موجوداتِ زنده در این قاره ها و مناطق پراکنده شده و تکامل یافت�� اند، که این موضوع نشان میدهد داستانِ نوح و کشتیِ نوح و سوار شدنِ حیوانات در کشتی، داستانی بسیار بسیار کودکانه و ابلهانه میباشد... یعنی واقعاً در گودریدز، چند کتابخوان به این داستانِ احمقانۀ کشتی نوح باور دارند؟ خودشان به این داستان و باورهایشان نمیخندند؟
این دانشمندِ گرامی، با زبانی ساده، جهشِ ژنتیکی را به ما می آموزد و سرانجام به سراغِ مسابقۀ تسلیحاتی در طبیعت و تمامیِ جانداران میرود.. موجوداتی که به شکلی زیرکانه و حتی ستمگرانه از دیگر موجودات استفاده میکنند تا بقا پیدا کرده و تکامل یابند.. زنبورهایی که تخمشان را در هزارپاها و کرمهایِ زنده میگذارند تا بچه هایشان زنده زنده از درون، این کرمها را بخورند و بزرگ شوند.. گوزن و آهوها و بزهایِ کوهی که سعی میکنند سرعتشان را افزایش دهند، نه برایِ دویدنِ سریعتر از یوزپلنگ، بلکه برایِ سریعتر دویدن نسبت به دوستان و خواهر و برادرهایشان.. تا آنهایی که عقب می افتند، اسیرِ یوزپلنگ شوند!! آنها فرصت فرار داشته باشند ... اینها همه از کارها و قوانینِ طبیعت است، یا یک آفریدگارِ سادیسمی و روانی آن را برنامه ریزی کرده است؟؟ مشخص است که این طبیعت است که با قوانینش سببِ تکاملِ موجوداتِ گوناگون بر رویِ زمین بوده و میباشد
معمولی ترین تاکتیکی که دیندارانِ آفرینش باور و منکرانِ تاریخ در موردِ تکامل به کار میبرند، این است که این وِرد را مدام به صورتِ احمقانه ای تکرار میکنند که: فسیلها را به من نشان بدهید، این فسیلها کجا هستند؟.... این موجوداتِ بیخرد فسیلهایِ استرالوپیتکوس، هومو هیبیلیس، هومو ارکتوس، هومو ساپینس، هومو ساپینسِ باستانی و هومو ساپینسِ امروزی را ندیده اند... اینها فسیلِ «پسرِ تورکانا» یا همان «پسر ناریوکوتومی» که مشهورترین نمونۀ هومو ارگاستر است را ندیده اند... این بیسوادها، جمجمۀ «خانم پلس» که مربوط به 3.6 میلیون سال پیش است را ندیده اند.. این ناباورانِ بیسواد، جمجمۀ «لوسی» را ندیده اند تا نیاکانِ ما در 3 میلیون سالِ پیش را بشناسند، آنهم نیاکانی که در آن زمان بر خلافِ شامپانزه ها، مستقیم راه میرفتند.. اینها جمجمۀ «تانگ کوچولو» را که در 2.5 میلیون سال پیش چشمانش توسطِ عقاب از کاسه بیرون آورده شده را نمیبینند... البته شاید این بیخردان تمامیِ این شواهد را دیده اند، ولی ایمانِ و تعصبی ابلهانه به داستانهایِ آفرینشِ دینی دارند و تصور میکنند در 6 هزار سال پیش، آدم و حوایی موهوم به یکباره از گل به وجود آمدند و در سوراخِ آنها روح دمیده شد!!! .... گفتن این نکته بسیار مسخره است، ولی متأسفانه 40 درصد از جمعیتِ آمریکا و بیش از 90 درصد از جمعیتِ مسلمان نشینِ آسیا، داستانهایِ کودکانۀ کتاب هایِ مقدس را واقعی میپندارند و به داستانِ آفرینش و داستانِ ابلهانۀ آدم و حوا و داستانِ طوفانِ نوح و وجودِ کشتیِ نوح در کوهِ آرارات، ایمان دارند ... فکر کنید که پراکندگیِ جغرافیاییِ جانوران چگونه به نظر میرسید، اگر همۀ آنها از کشتیِ نوح پراکنده میشدند!! آیا نباید یک قانونِ کاهشِ تنوعِ گونه ها، همانطور که از مرکزِ آن یعنی کوهِ آرارات دور میشویم، وجود داشته باشد!!؟ نیازی نیست به شما خردگرایانِ اهلِ دانش و تکامل باوران بگویم که این چیزی نیست که ما در جهان و در سرزمینهایِ گوناگون میبینیم ... کانگورو و کوآلا و بیلبیِ بزرگ گوش، چگونه در زمانِ نوح، از آرارات به استرالیا مهاجرت کردند؟؟؟؟ چه مسیری را در پیش گرفتند؟؟؟ چرا در میانِ راه در هندوستان و یا چین و دیگر مسیرِ جادۀ ابریشم توقف نکردند و تعدادی از آنها در این سرزمینها ساکن نشدند؟؟؟ چرا تمامیِ راستۀ بی دندانیان، مثلِ آرمادیلو و یا شش گونۀ اسلات، و یا چهارگونۀ مورچه خوارها، بی هیچ خطایی و تغییرِ مسیری به آمریکایِ جنوبی رفته و در بینِ راه هیچگونه اثری از خود به جا نگذاشته اند؟؟ چرا تمامِ پنگوئن ها در سفرِ طولانی که خدایِ آفرینش باوران برایشان تعیین کرده بود، به قطبِ جنوب رفتند و حتی یک نفر از آنها به قطبِ شمال نرفت؟؟؟؟ با آنکه قطبِ شمال هم به همان میزان که قطبِ جنوب میهمان نواز است، برایِ آنها مناسب بوده است!!! چرا موجوداتی همچون: آگوتی، پاکا، مارا، کاپی بارا، چین چیلا و بسیاری دیگر از راستۀ جوندگان، فقط مختص به آمریکایِ جنوبی هستند؟؟ یا در مسیرِ سفرِ عجیب به دستورِ خدایِ دین باوران، از آرارات به آمریکایِ جنوبی، هیچکدام نباید در جاهایِ دیگر یافت شوند!!! چرا میمونهایِ پخ بینی، فقط در آمریکایِ جنوبی هستند و در آسیا و یا آفریقا و اروپا دیده نمیشوند؟ بسیاری از موجوداتِ عجیبی که در ماداگاسکار میبینیم، در کجایِ این کره خاکی دیده شده اند؟؟ باور کنید نوح حتی روحش از این موجودات با خبر نبوده، چه برسد تمامیِ آنها را در کشتی جای دهد.. حتماً این همه موجوداتِ ماداگاسکار و میلیونها میلیونها حشرات و جانورانِ عجیبی که در سطحِ این کرۀ خاکی پراکنده هستند، به تخته پاره هایِ کشتیِ نوح چسبیده پخش شده اند.. چقدر این دینداران و آفرینش باوران، میتوانند ساده لوح باشند... اعتقاداتِ دین باورانِ مسلمان، مسیحی و یهودی، همچون فندقی کوچک شکننده است، کافیست پُتکِ دانش را بر رویِ آن بکوبید، آنگاه به سرعت پودر و تکه تکه میشود... ما باید دینباورانی که در مدارسِ ما هم همچون ویروس نفوذ پیدا کرده اند و این داستانهایِ ابلهانه را در مغزِ فرزندانمان ��رو میکنند را نادیده بگیریم و به دانشورزیِ خودمان ادامه دهیم
اگر منکرانِ تاریخ و دینداران، که به حقیقتِ تکامل و دانش، شک میورزند، نسبت به زیست شناسی نادان و جاهل هستند، آن دیندارانی که فکر میکنند جهان کمتر از ده هزار سال پیش از این آغاز شده است، بارها و بارها از آن منکران تاریخ، نادان تر و جاهلتر میباشند.. آنها بدتر از جاهل هستند و تا حدِ فساد، فریب خورده و اغفال شده اند.. آنها نه تنها حقایقِ زیست شناسی، بلکه حقایقِ فیزیک، زمین شناسی، کیهان شناسی، باستان شناسی، تاریخ و شیمی را هم انکار میکنند
تمامیِ موجوداتِ زنده بر رویِ کره زمین، همگی از یک نیایِ مشترک و واحد ریشه گرفته اند.. یعنی رمزِ ژنتیکیِ جهان شمول بینِ همۀ جانوران، گیاهان، قارچ ها، باکتری ها، باستانیان و ویروسها، تقریباً همانند است و از آن فرهنگ 64 واژه ای که آن را با کلماتِ سه حرفی «دی اِن اِی» میشناسیم، ریشه گرفته است.. (البته یک میکروبِ عجیب و غریب و غیر عادی به نام «هارومسکاریوت» وجود داشته که اصلا از دی ان ای و یا پروتئین ها برای تکاملش استفاده نکرده است)... اگر زنده یاد داروین از ژن و دی اِن اِی باخبر بود و در زمانِ حیاتِ او این مسائلِ مهمِ امروزی کشف میشد، شاید داروین میتوانست در آن زمان ساده تر نظریه اش را اثبات کند.. ولی مهم این است که اگر داروین زنده بود، امروز در پوستِ خویش نمیگنجید، وقتی متوجه میشد که نظریۀ تکامل اش امروزه دیگر یک نظریه نیست، بلکه به یک قانون و یک واقعیت تبدیل شده است
امیدوارم این ریویو برایِ شما دوستانِ خردگرا و اهلِ دانش، مفید بوده باشه
«پیروز باشید و ایرانی»
Profile Image for Caroline.
503 reviews562 followers
May 4, 2016
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 give us the statistics about how many creationists there are in the world......and his preoccupation became understandable.

I will end with some notes of the delights I found in the book - most of them taken verbatim from the book.

Like the many other thousands who have read this, I enjoyed it enormously.
Profile Image for Kris Madaus.
31 reviews4 followers
January 6, 2010

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 we live in just a little more.

I won't get into some of the details he shares, but based on the facts that Dawkins reveals in his appendix about the exceedingly high percentage of people that believe in a creationist view, I thing every high school student should have to read this book. But it doesn't matter what you believe. The evidence shared in this book is fascinating. Long term lab experiments that shows us evolution before our very eyes, sea turtles that evolved from the sea to land to sea to land to sea again, our distant ancestor named the lungfish, how DNA and mitochondria are used to trace ancestors, the evidence for evolution across all branches of science - it is all simply intriguing.

I appreciate people like Dawkins that can share such amazing things. I especially appreciate how he is more than willing to face creationists head on. If you don't believe in evolution, look at the evidence and then see if you feel the same way afterward - that is, if you are truly interested in answers to the big questions of life. You can say that Dawkins seems a bit aggressive in his books at times, but think about it this way. If you had a group of people constantly questioning questioning that the earth revolves around the sun, and you collected layers and layers of evidence to answer the question beyond reasonable doubt, but they still believe the sun revolved around the earth after all of the years of research, wouldn't you be a bit frustrated too? Dawkins is not only confronting creationists. He is confronting irrationality. Irrationality affects our quality of life. I commend Dawkins for saying enough is enough. He doesn't sugar coat the issue. He says is like it is.

Excellent book!

Profile Image for Marvin.
1,414 reviews5,324 followers
November 28, 2009
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 saves his famous disdain, which was in abundant display in The God Delusion, for only when it is deserved. Much is made of Dawkins' supposed arrogance yet when he writes something that can be seen as arrogance, it is more of a sense of amazement that his fellow man can totally dismiss the evidence of evolution. There is a hilarious transcript of this in the book where Dawkins patiently sets out the evidence of intermediate fossils, and where this evidence can be seen, to a Creationist and the Creationist totally ignores it saying "Show me the evidence" like a mantra. Dawkins states he is aiming this book at the people who believe in creationism, which according to recent polls is 40 percent of the American population. I doubt that those people will give this book the time of day. Yet I also think that the 40 percent number includes a good number of people who on "on the fence" so to speak, those who simply haven't seen the evidence for evolution presented in such a clear and understandable manner. I think that is a reasonable audience for this book along with the ones, like me, who have a reasonable knowledge of evolution but wish to learn more.
Profile Image for Jaya.
435 reviews222 followers
June 7, 2018
3.75 stars.
Felt a bit too technical for an un-science-y person like I. Nevertheless, 'twas bloody brilliant.
Have a few unresolved queries, guess I have to find answers, somewhere else...
Profile Image for Paul Weiss.
1,221 reviews167 followers
August 12, 2022
“The evidence for evolution grows by the day,”

“and has never been stronger. At the same time, paradoxically, ill-informed opposition is also stronger than I can remember. This book is my personal summary of the evidence that the ‘theory’ of evolution is actually a fact – as incontrovertible a fact as any in science.”

To summarize the intent and content of Richard Dawkins’ THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH, it’s tough to beat Dawkins’ own words in the opening paragraph of his preface.

It’s instructive, it’s entertaining, it’s educational, it’s informative and, perhaps most important of all, it’s persuasive and convincing beyond any reasonable shadow of a doubt that evolution exists, that it always has, and that, even today, it operates in real time, and occasionally causes changes at speeds that can best be characterized as jaw-dropping!

My rather niggardly award of only three stars as opposed to a four- or five-star rave review stems from the fact that I have never been a lover of biology in my reading, no matter how accomplished the writing might be. Personal preference only. But the fact is, that THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH deserves your time if you’re a lover of popular science.

If you’re a believer in a young earth or creationism, give it a shot! You never know where it might take your thinking.

Paul Weiss
Profile Image for Nemo ☠️ (pagesandprozac).
865 reviews397 followers
Shelved as 'put-down-for-now'
December 29, 2017
*sharp inhale*

i'm religious. i'm a Catholic. and i'm not a creationist and i believe in evolution and i want to read this book because evolution is really interesting to me and i, too, want to take on Young Earth Creationists.

however, dawkins has a Most terrible habit of dissing not only creationists, but anyone who believes in God, and tarring us all with the same brush and just generally being that One Specific Sort of Atheist who is very arrogant and thinks that all religious people are stupid.

also, i'm not entirely sure why you would write a book that claims to want to convince creationists that they're wrong with such a strident tone, but i suppose dawkins just can't resist being annoying, can he.

i'm going to read it, though, because evolution. and also, because even though dawkins can be terribly obnoxious, he is definitely a genius and very good at his field.

oh, sweet Knowledge, look what i put up with in search of you.

anyways to lighten the mood here's my favourite cover+article combo ever:
17 reviews
January 22, 2010
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 stakes his claim early in the book ("...evolution is a fact. Beyond reasonable doubt, beyond serious doubt, beyond sane, informed, intelligent doubt....

That said, I doubt seriouly that his book will challenge those who view evolution as only a theory, precisely because they would never open their minds to such a text as this!
Profile Image for Tag Riggs.
22 reviews5 followers
May 20, 2011
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 laughing and drinking beer talking about how the big one got away. It is amazing how he comes forth in every chapter in bold declarative sentences without justifications or support (support other than being anomalous tautologies) to conclude in mealy mouthed suppositions and suggestions.

I have done a chapter by chapter review on my Facebook page so if interested, you may look for my opinions over there.

For a guy who claimed many books on evolution under his belt yet forgot to give evidence to all his previous ones until TGSOE (He even admits this), I am amazed at what people are willing to believe simply because someone says it to be thus. Dumbing down has reached a new low on this one. I cannot see how anyone who approaches the subject from a scholarly viewpoint can take this book seriously.

Profile Image for Des.
92 reviews6 followers
December 9, 2012
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 dull and ugly
All creatures short and squat
All things rude and nasty
The Lord God made the lot

Each little snake that poisons
Each little wasp that stings
He made their brutish venom
He made their horrid wings

All things sick and cancerous
All evil great and small
All things foul and dangerous
The Lord God made them all

Each nasty little hornet
Each beastly little squid
Who made the spiky urchin?
Who made the sharks? He did
All things scabbed and cancerous
All pox great and small
Putrid, foul and gangrenous
The Lord God made them all.

And if you ever want to marvel at nature, look at this virus, that looks like a lunar lander.

And this is just a single cell?

I did not know that the skeleton of all mammals is identical in the structure and sequence of bones. Just the size and shape differs.

What an eye-opening book.

Profile Image for Megan.
393 reviews7 followers
March 9, 2010
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 instead of paragraphs of text. It absolutely engaged my visual approach to learning.

I really enjoyed the way various bits of evidence for evolution were put forth, and weaved into other parts. This book has so much information beyond just the fossil record, it's awesome. Many disciplines of science, from paleontology to astronomy to genetics, are pulled in to all establish evidence for the evolutionary theory. And Richard Dawkins writes in such an engaging manner. I really enjoyed this one.
Profile Image for Христо Блажев.
2,206 reviews1,419 followers
September 1, 2022
ЕВОЛЮЦИЯТА е “Най-великото шоу на Земята”, доказва смазващият Ричард Докинс\

Това е Книга, която не би трябвало да има нужда да бъде писана. Но както Докинс посочва още в началото, потискащо много хора са се вкопчили в безумната идея за планета на няколко хиляди години, едновременно сътворение на всички живи същества на планетата, че и въртене на Слънцето около Земята пътем. Всичко, заради което трябваше да се напише и величествената “Делюзията Бог”. И заради което се налага да съществува “Най-великото шоу на Земята”. Може би трябва да сме благодарни на креационистите с вяра вместо мозък – те са движещата сила на интелектуални гиганти като Докинс и борбата с религиозната агресия към децата (и не само) мотивира създаването на такива книги.
Profile Image for Ana.
805 reviews595 followers
December 21, 2016
Oh, Dawkins. Tell me more of evolution, please. Speak to me of genes and their ways. Teach me things about the world. I could read this stuff for hours. I am endlessly fascinated and the more I understand of evolution, the more I am aware of how unbelievably lucky I am that I exist, that anything exists, that I can learn about it.
Profile Image for Cherie.
31 reviews26 followers
October 25, 2013
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 anything more fitting. Because of course we weren't there and we can't see macro evolution in action, but we can see the clues (evidence) left behind and see that evolution is indeed a fact of nature.

I thought it was excellently paced. Richard Dawkins takes it slow at first, leading up from artificial and sexual selection to get the reader accustomed to the idea of natural selection. Then before he talks about fossil evidence he first makes sure the reader understands how dating methods work and how accurate they are. It's just fantastic, I learned so much and it was very interesting. Richard Dawkins writes with a passion and devotion that is difficult to understand for creationists. They ask how an atheist can be filled with awe and wonder with life if they believe it was all an accident. The answer is because nature in its entirety is chaotic and unusual... It's cruel and harsh, and very uncaring... But it's also beautiful and magnificent and completely fascinating. To say it all was created by a god is a mockery of the complexity that is shown in life.

This should honestly be required reading. So many people lack a basic understanding of evolution or even a respect of science in general. I have already recommended this book to several friends and some creationists that I've debated, but I encourage everybody to read this at some point in their life.
Profile Image for Mohamed al-Jamri.
174 reviews116 followers
May 31, 2019
For those looking for evidence supporting evolution, either because they themselves doubt it or want more evidences to argue for it, these two books can do the job extremely well.

I bet the vast majority if not all of those who read "The Greatest Show on Earth" & "Why Evolution is True" with an open mind and understand them, will regard evolution as true and be able to argue in its favor strongly.

Both authors maintain that evolution is compatible with #religion although they do not elaborate on that. In fact, Dawkins -who is notorious for his criticism of religion- goes on and lists a number of British #bishops and public figures who call for teaching of evolution in publicly-funded schools.

I recommend reading Dawkins book first since he explains what is evolution and natural selection in detail before moving to the evidence while Coyne presents a lot of evidences and details.

For books that try to reconcile between religion and evolution, I hear that "Finding Darwin's God" & "The Language of God" are good, although I haven't read them yet.
Profile Image for Bruce Hatton.
460 reviews62 followers
May 13, 2020
Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins is one of those rare scientists who is capable of addressing his specific area of science to the layperson (and I certainly am such – biology wasn’t even on the syllabus at my school) in a lucid and enlightening manner without ever having to “dumb down”. His unwavering enthusiasm for the subject is evident throughout, as is his often wicked sense of humour.
This certainly isn’t a book one can rush through. However, I found a careful study revealed many of the wonders of evolution by natural selection and explained why there were so many “flawed designs” (including humans) as individual creatures very gradually adapted in order to survive changing environments.
The reading process is helped enormously by plenty of illustrations, diagrams and some beautiful colour photographs. Each chapter had its own breathtaking revelations. Although it took me a while to get through, overall I found this an extremely enlightening and rewarding read.
Profile Image for David Rubenstein.
804 reviews2,536 followers
April 3, 2010
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 ever found in the wrong geological strata, one would immediately have to conclude that evolution is false. But although tons of fossils have been discovered all over the world, not a single one has ever been found in the wrong geological layer.
Profile Image for David S. T..
126 reviews18 followers
May 5, 2011
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).

When I started reading this book, I put it down for a while because I got tired of the creationist rants, which apparently the high number of people who deny evolution is why this book is written. Dawkins even goes as far as comparing an evolution denier as the equivalent of someone denying the existence of the roman civilization or even worse a holocaust denier. I'm sorry but lacking the understanding or denying evolution is nothing like denying the holocaust. For one thing we've never really witnessed one animal evolving into another completely different species, meaning one "kind" into another "kind", in our lifetime (which is far too short of a time scale) or even more a bacteria evolving into a mammal, this doesn't mean evolution is false (its not), but it is far different than denying the holocaust. Anyways eventually I picked the book back up and it was far better as I got further into it. Also expect to hear the word “history-deniers” every few pages, I guess he wants us to remember just how terrible the evolution deniers are. Since this book is written to convince the 40% of American who deny evolution, Dawkins should realize by now that insulting your target audience isn't the best way to get them to listen to you. If anything his books do more help to the young earth creationist movement and intelligent design.

The subtitle of this book is “The Evidence for Evolution”, which is kind of an unfitting title, I found that Coyne's Why Evolution is True contains far more evidence in far fewer pages and is overall a better introduction to evolution. You see Dawkins often goes off on rants which do not to move the evidence along. For example in a chapter he discusses the age of the earth, he spends several pages discussing getting the age from tree rings. You see you can match the width of tree rings with others and go back to earlier dates, but then he says that the chain of tree rings goes back 11,000 years only, well the pages he spent on this argument do nothing to convince a young earth creationist of the age of the earth, in fact the argument works in their favor. The book is full of these little side notes and stories which causes the page numbers to go up, but the relevant information doesn't follow. Also expect tons of foot notes with mostly rants about TV shows he wants to be on, his childhood, or why we should call the Beijing Man, the Peking fossil, ect.

I know I've complained some but don't get me wrong, this book, once you look past the flaws, is still very interesting and worth reading (assuming that you're not a creationist). Many of the side stories which I complained about are actually interesting if you don’t mind frequent diversions and he goes into DNA a little more than the other non DNA specific evolution books I've read. So in the end I do think its pretty good, just not as a first book on evolution.
Profile Image for paper0r0ss0.
649 reviews46 followers
August 22, 2021
Divertita e divertente escursione nel vasto campo della Teoria dell'Evoluzione darwiniana. Il tono e' leggero ma rigoroso e puntiglioso, gli aneddoti non mancano e le frequenti notazioni curiose non annoiano il lettore. Ben presto ci si accorge pero' che il vero intento del libro non e' semplicemente quello di esporre la suddetta teoria evoluzionistica, ma di contrastare e contraddire tutte quelle correnti negazioniste religiose che propugnano la visione creazionista della vita. A ben vedere e' proprio questo il limite del libro, che vede sacrificata la possibilita' di focalizzare tutti punti controversi del darwinismo (specie in relazione al principio di selezione naturale, vedi ad es. Lewontin, Gould, Piattelli Palmarini) presentandolo come un Moloch inattaccabile (e cosi' non e').
Profile Image for Nicky.
4,138 reviews1,009 followers
August 16, 2016
Richard Dawkins is, from my point of view, a fairly unpleasant man even when I agree with him. He sets out to make this book an explanation of how evolution works (but for that, I would go with Coyne’s Why Evolution is True), and why it is the correct explanation for various phenomena we can observe around us. It’s not as bad as The God Delusion for anti-theist statements, though there are a few speckled in there, and he makes a fairly good line of argument.

Of course, since I think evolution is an obvious conclusion, so I’m not exactly the audience he was hoping to convince — and it’s likely I didn’t notice instances of his usual arrogant attitude that would bother someone who doesn’t already believe in the same things. I think you’re probably safer with Coyne’s book.

Or this set of logical steps:

1. There are creatures who are better adapted to their environment than others of the same species.
Because they are better adapted, they will be more successful in survival and, consequently, breeding.
2. These traits, when heritable, can be passed on the creature’s offspring — and they can have many offspring.
3. These offspring will be better adapted, and will meet others who are also well adapted to breed with.
4. Good adaptations accumulate over the course of generations.
5. The environment is not stable and changes over time. Adaptation is necessary to allow a species to survive in the same area, and species do survive in the same area.
6. Over a long period of time, enough changes will accumulate that individuals of that species would not be able to breed with the original species, or with a branch of the species that adapted differently.
7. Evolution via natural selection has necessarily occurred.

Plus extra evidence like shared DNA, the fact that we can artificially (and in a very short space of time) cause a species to evolve by selecting traits we want (e.g. high milk yield in cows), and the fossil record which contains plenty of examples of transitional fossils… You don’t need Dawkins; go back to Darwin. Even without the evidence we have now, he saw the necessary chain of events, and he was much more sympathetic to other views, and meticulous about his evidence.

Nonetheless, Dawkins’ book is clear and pretty well-written; I just don’t like his attitude, and I don’t think he will reach the desired audience.

Originally posted here.
Profile Image for A.L. Buehrer.
Author 9 books49 followers
May 8, 2019
I have to see both sides. I’m really not content to only read what reconfirms what I already believe. Even if I doubt that anything could change my mind on a subject (sometimes facts are facts) I want to be able to see what the other person sees and understand how they think.

I was in this objective sportsmanly mood when I picked this book up. By the end of chapter one I was struggling to maintain that attitude. Why? Because Dawkins has absolutely no interest in playing fair. I like to think that even people who disagree with me can still be intelligent intellectually honest people. Dawkins clearly doesn’t.

I took issue with a lot more than just the science in this book. Overall, it was well constructed—I think he went over the subjects that he needed to cover. But…I don’t know. Maybe I’m out-growing pop science, but for me, he wasted so much time on prose explaining obvious things, and trying to keep us poor non-scientists interested.

I didn’t notice his writing voice in The Selfish Gene. I vastly prefer that book. The Selfish Gene had something that actually took some page-time to explain. In this book his style felt like somebody desperately trying to write a lot of words. A lot of chains of adjectives and repeated ideas. I found myself skimming large sections because he had made his point and it was time to start connecting it to the next one, but he was in no hurry.

He did a lot of things I never would have done writing a similar book. He claimed in the beginning he was writing for both evolutionists who wanted to combat their stupid creationist relatives at family gatherings and for creationists themselves. I can confirm he was not writing this book with any thought for the possibility that the second group would read him at all. He doesn’t believe in creationists enough to think they would ever dare to read something that might shake their faith. Neither does he ever show any respect for his opposition. He constantly refers to evolution skeptics as “history-deniers” and stereotypes them as willfully scientifically illiterate and emotionally hysterical.

Never once in the course of the book does Dawkins acknowledge that there are fully-educated, fully-rational scientists that don’t read the evidence the way he does. He consistently juxtaposes “scientists” and “history-deniers” as mutually exclusive groups. Never once does he even mention a debate or exchange between himself and real ID scientists. His anecdotes are limited to face-offs with journalists and random people on the street.

The biggest downfall of the book stems from the fact that—unlike some of us—Dawkins makes no effort to understand his opposition. This manifests as the most glaring scientific mistake in the whole book: he wastes a huge amount of time proving microevolution. News flash: educated creationists believe in microevolution. Microevolution is simply variation that arises from shuffling genetic information. (Dawkins doesn’t think I, as a creationist, know what “information” is. He can be wrong.) Macroevolution requires significant amounts of new genetic information and is much more problematic. Macroevolution is the process that, over billions of years, turns worms to humans. This is what we need you to prove, Dawkins.

Anyway. I read this.
Profile Image for Jim.
Author 7 books2,028 followers
August 1, 2019
This was written to inform those who believe in evolution how to counter the arguments of those who don't. It hasn't been worth the effort in my experience. Young Earth Creationists (YEC) who believe that the world is only as old as their version of their bible tells them it is (The term apparently applies to people in all branches of the Abrahamic religions plus a few others.) are so dedicated to their intentional ignorance that changing their minds is impossible. They have THE ANSWER & it doesn't matter if it doesn't make a lick of sense & continually contradicts itself. They'll still use cell phones & praise their god(s). None of it was surprising since I'm surrounded by them. Dawkins, who lives in the UK, even mentions the Ark Park & Creationist Museum which are both in my state & not too far away. Shudder. Anyway, that thread of the narrative got pretty old for me & it lost a star for that. Probably a personal problem.

I found his explanations in the workings of evolution really interesting, though. Even though I've read several of his books, he's come up with new areas & explanations that make sense of some truly remarkable adaptations.

Here are the chapters from the Wikipedia entry:
The book is divided into 13 chapters spanning over 400 pages, and includes an appendix called "The history-deniers" in the end material.

Only a theory? (nature of scientific theory and fallibility)
Dogs, cows and cabbages (artificial selection)
The primrose path to macro-evolution
Silence and slow time (age of the Earth and the geologic time scale)
Before our very eyes (examples of evolution observed)
Missing link? What do you mean, 'missing'? (the fossil record)
Missing persons? Missing no longer (human evolution)
You did it yourself in nine months (a statement attributed to J. B. S. Haldane; discusses developmental biology)
The ark of the continents (biogeography and plate tectonics)
The tree of cousinship (the tree of life, homology and analogy)
History written all over us (vestigiality and unintelligent design)
Arms races and 'evolutionary theodicy' (coevolution and evolutionary arms races)
There is grandeur in this view of life (based on the final passage of On the Origin of Species)

I read this as an audiobook narrated by Dawkins & Lalla Ward. They're a great team. Really make the words pop. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Shaun.
Author 4 books172 followers
December 4, 2017
So, I admire Dawkins as both a scientist and a writer. His passion for science and the endless search for truth is infectious and his talent for writing magnificent prose is noteable.

I had the pleasure to go see him speak at the Center for Inquiry in D.C., and also got to mingle with him before the show (a fun story for sure). Needless to say, he was amazing.

I know some people think he is an angry atheist, but I think they are missing the point, and he does a great job of making his point at the beginning of this book.

A very worthwhile read for anyone curious about evolution. So much information yet very readable.
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