Ehsan Shams's Reviews > Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life

Darwin's Dangerous Idea by Daniel C. Dennett
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's review
Nov 05, 2008

it was amazing
Read in October, 2008

This book is an excellent presentation of evolution or as Dennett prefers to call it, Darwin's dangerous idea. Dennett calls Darwin's idea Universal Acid. An idea that in his terms is so powerful that cannot be contained by any limits. Throughout the book he tries to explain, brilliantly and successfully in my opinion, why evolution has answers to our most important questions about the world we live in.
Dennett contrasts between two central notions in the book and draws on this extensively all throughout the book. Skyhooks and cranes are used as analogies for miraculous leaps in the design space vs. step-by-step gradual engineering work of evolution. He shows how many people's desire to find a skyhook in the tree of life hits failure. An evolutionary crane has always been found to be the right answer.
The final three chapters do an excellent job of presenting an evolutionary account of ethics and morality. The final chapter could be almost independently read if enough time is not available for the whole 500 pages of the book, but it might wet your appetite so much you'll have to go to the starting chapter and get down to reading it cover to cover.

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