Matt's Reviews > The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution

The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins
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's review
Nov 29, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: science

First off, the circus is not mentioned one time in this book. Not once! It was, instead, about evolution, and Richard Dawkins appeared to have two purposes for writing this book: 1) lay out the cross-disciplinary scientific evidence of evolution and 2) persuade Creationists and other skeptics of evolutionary theory of the error of their ways. The book would have been better if he had just stuck with the former. The evidence is frequently fascinating and compelling, particularly the sections on the fossil record, plate tectonics, molecular genetics, and zoology. Dawkins did not appear to have full faith that a straightforward presentation of the evidence had it's own persuasive power and frequently made caustic remarks about those he was purportedly trying to persuade, argued against positions that were so weak they seemed like straw men, and spent too much time in the last two chapters focusing on what a "designer" would and wouldn't do as though he possessed all wisdom to make such judgments. Dawkins enthusiasm for the science was contagious; his appetite for a good dust-up was a bit of a turn off. I was fascinated enough to want to learn more, and next time will go with my friend Scott's suggestion and read Ernst Mayr, who I understand will give me more of what I liked and none of what I didn't.

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Reading Progress

November 29, 2010 – Shelved
July 23, 2011 – Started Reading
July 29, 2011 –
page 267
August 1, 2011 – Finished Reading
August 4, 2011 – Shelved as: science

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Matt Scott - this is exactly why I'm glad you're on Good Reads. I'm going to read Dawkins anyway, but I go into it anticipating a plenty of polemics and attempts to draw non-empirical conclusions from the science.

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