The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution


The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design I should explain the point about the watchmaker A SMALL ROCKIf you re walking along in the countryside and you come across a rock, you don t say, well, where the hell did that come from and who made it It s a rock No one cares There s no notices stuck on trees or printed in local free newspapers anywhere saying have you seen this rock Description roughly three inches by four by three last seen in the Dorchester area undistinctive grey colouring answers to the name of rock reward I should explain the point about the watchmaker A SMALL ROCKIf you re walking along in the countryside and you come across a rock, you don t say, well, where the hell did that come from and who made it It s a rock No one cares There s no notices stuck on trees or printed in local free newspapers anywhere saying have you seen this rock Description roughly three inches by four by three last seen in the Dorchester area undistinctive grey colouring answers to the name of rock reward please call this number WE MISS YOU ROCK It s a rock ON THE OTHER HAND, A GOLD WATCHNow, if you saw a beautiful gold watch on your walk in the countryside, you would say lo a watch I deduce that someone has lost a watch and it is here also, I further deduce that there must be a God Richard Dawkins says that watches, or indeed anything complicated, do not infer the existence of a watchmaker Or, to use a different analogy, a book, which can be a complicated thing, does not infer the existence of an author You could say well, here s a book called The Blind Watchmaker and it says it s by Richard Dawkins, so we see that Richard Dawkins is the author and he wrote this book, but Richard Dawkins would say NO it doesn t, have you not been paying attention, have you been giggling and passing notes in the back row again EVOLUTION OF THE SEMICOLONWhat happened is that gradually, over many billions of years, language formed, inconceivably slowly, for instance it took ten million years for commas to evolve out of a full stop, and another ten million for the exotic semi colon to evolve out of the comma So this book The Blind Watchmaker like all other books evolved slowly We have fossils to prove this They show the missing links We have, for instance, copies of the book which are called The Blond Watchmaker dating from the Devonian period it took several millions of years for the Blond to evolve into the Blind, you see I read that Mexican paleontologists recently unearthed a copy called The Bland Watchmaker Going back further , we find all sorts of evolutionary byways that, because of natural selection, died out eventually One manuscript from the late Pleistocene period which is currently on display at the University of East Anglia shows a strange hybrid between an early version of The Blind Watchmaker and Alice in Wonderland in which the famous teaparty scene features a pterodactyl, a plesiosaur so very unlikely and a crazed archaeopteryx This unviable literary form did not survive, as we know Natural selection, although brutal from our limited human perspective, explains the evolution of complex things RELIGION CANNOT EXPLAIN WHY TWILIGHT IS POPULARGod cannot explain why the book species Stephanie Myers and Dan Brown , for instance, proliferate wildly in many varied habitats, whilst arguablybeautiful forms like Henry James, Proust, and the Golden Tamarin dwindle to the point where human intervention from libraries and literary professors are the only thing keeping them from sinking into oblivion no, God cannot explain this But Richard Dawkins also known as Science can.Sorry, that should be Richard Dawkins It is a good thing that Dawkins himself takes the trouble to think about which chapters of his books will be of vanishing interest in the near future Of course, he turned out to beaccurate than he must have wished for This must be the most boring of all Dawkins books, but I do not want to give up on him till I read The Extended Phenotype which just might prove to be the best scientifically of all his works With whole chapters devoted to the driest taxonomy problems and to disprovin It is a good thing that Dawkins himself takes the trouble to think about which chapters of his books will be of vanishing interest in the near future Of course, he turned out to beaccurate than he must have wished for This must be the most boring of all Dawkins books, but I do not want to give up on him till I read The Extended Phenotype which just might prove to be the best scientifically of all his works With whole chapters devoted to the driest taxonomy problems and to disproving outdated theories, the book was a massive waste of time once I went past the mildly interesting first half But, it still provides an opportunity to use Dawkins own method of caricature based argument to paint a caricature of his own positions in The God Delusion based on his own vitriolic stands in this book I will try to examine in detail how Dawkins has betrayed his own principles of scientific grounding and rational rigorousness in The God Delusion by using arguments and structures from this book in the review Hopefully that will happen by tomorrow 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 tail But, 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 fema 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 tail But, 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 mates.I 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 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 yourself.All 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 NOT.He steps us through the first third of the book showing us how Selectio 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 yourself.All 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 NOT.He 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 toandcomplex 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 quite 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 serve This 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 Darwinism.He 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 halfbefore we see a truly flame worthy attack from Mr.Dawkins 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 Alas.Seriously, though, this book is pretty wonderful for its lucid and quoteworthy 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 nothingthan complex computers I ve heard this before, of course, but the way he laid it out was particularly enlightening.This 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 wow and double wow i read this through and turned back to p.1 to read it again blind watchmaker has been amazingly influential in the way i think about just about everything the world, existence, life forms, physics down to the micro, myself and my craft it s sent chills down my spine, made me euphoric and angry the first for finally addressing questions that have long been in my mind but receive no echo in society as i ve known it , the second for the willful repression of information an wow and double wow i read this through and turned back to p.1 to read it again blind watchmaker has been amazingly influential in the way i think about just about everything the world, existence, life forms, physics down to the micro, myself and my craft it s sent chills down my spine, made me euphoric and angry the first for finally addressing questions that have long been in my mind but receive no echo in society as i ve known it , the second for the willful repression of information and large scale institutionalized dumb down that is the public school system i grew up in it makes me want to cry to think that i didn t learn about evolution until i already had a master s degree i am learning now, though, largely through dawkins, stephen j gould and others who ve been able to bring the complexities of this subject to the laypeople still angry that whatever my daughter learns about evolution, she ll have to learn from me, a social scientist and by no means an authority nonetheless, in a college classroom if her professor asks if anyone s heard of darwin, her answer will be a resounding, yeah small victory, but somethingchokengtitiktitikchokengs there s a great, great BBC documentary on Galapagos highly worth checking out A rather well written book I like the writing style of Pr Dawkins It was not as challenging as Selfish gene But I guess its complexity is pretty relevant to the level of articulation many have However, it was a great read and made me thinkabout the topic. This book was okay, but since I already am convinced evolution occurs by natural selection, I felt like he was not preaching to the choir, but trying to convince the choir Of course, I got tired of it after a while but I had to keep going, because I had to read it for a class He comes up with many different arguments theories for how evolution natural selection could occur, many of which are interesting, but I would just rather read a science book rather than a philosophical book on evolutio This book was okay, but since I already am convinced evolution occurs by natural selection, I felt like he was not preaching to the choir, but trying to convince the choir Of course, I got tired of it after a while but I had to keep going, because I had to read it for a class He comes up with many different arguments theories for how evolution natural selection could occur, many of which are interesting, but I would just rather read a science book rather than a philosophical book on evolution For instance, I recommend The Beak of the Finch by Jonathan Weiner, which shows how scientists study evolution and natural selection in action Two summers ago, I did myself the favor of reading The Selfish Gene Well, I didn t quite 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 quality of that book Agree or disagree with Dawkins, one must admit that Th Two summers ago, I did myself the favor of reading The Selfish Gene Well, I didn t quite 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 quality of that book Agree or disagree with Dawkins, one must admit that The Selfish Gene is a book of the finest quality Indeed, I must say that I wasn t quite prepared for how good it was I was expecting an entertaining book of popular science what I got was an eloquent, 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 quite 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 equilibrium, 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 evenprevalent among memes than genes As a side note, if one believes, like Gould, in punctuated equilibrium, 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, evenimpressively, 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 muchto 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 th Anniversary Edition Cover note Each copy of the anniversary edition of The Blind Watchmaker features a unique biomorph No two covers are exactly alikeAcclaimed as the most influential work on evolution written in the last hundred years, The Blind Watchmaker offers an inspiring and accessible introduction to one of the most important scientific discoveries of all time A brilliant and controversial book which demonstrates that evolution by natural selection the unconscious, automatic, blind yet essentially non random process discovered by Darwin is the only answer to the biggest question of all why do we exist Dawkins is one of my top picks for the most articulate, engaging and proficient scientists I ve read to date The Blind Watchmaker turned out to be a very prolific piece I was baffled by his logical analogies, most excellent examples and extremely engaging vernacular In this work, one learns much about the evolutionary adaptations of numerous species, of which the sonar technology of baths, dolphins and other mammals seemed most shocking.His reasoning of what constitutes miracles, probability Dawkins is one of my top picks for the most articulate, engaging and proficient scientists I ve read to date The Blind Watchmaker turned out to be a very prolific piece I was baffled by his logical analogies, most excellent examples and extremely engaging vernacular In this work, one learns much about the evolutionary adaptations of numerous species, of which the sonar technology of baths, dolphins and other mammals seemed most shocking.His reasoning of what constitutes miracles, probability theory and reasoning behind the drawback of the Lamark s theory of acquired characteristics is exceptionally enticing The book should be a required high school reading A very, very high recommendation

  • Paperback
  • 466 pages
  • The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design
  • Richard Dawkins
  • English
  • 02 September 2019
  • 0141026162

About the Author: Richard Dawkins

Is a well known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design book, this is one of the most wanted Richard Dawkins author readers around the world.


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