A controversial book which demonstrates that evolution by natural selection, discovered by Darwin, is the only answer to the biggest question of all: why do we exist?
I want to persuade the reader, not just that the Darwinian world-view happens to be true, but that it is the only known theory that could, in principle, solve the mystery of our existence.
The title of this 1986 work, Dawkins's second book, refers to the Rev. William Paley's 1802 work, Natural Theology, which argued that just as finding a watch would lead you to conclude that a watchmaker must exist, the complexity of living organisms proves that a Creator exists.
Not so, says Dawkins: "All appearances to the contrary, the only watchmaker in nature is the blind forces of physics, albeit deployed in a very special way...it is the blind watchmaker".
Dawkins is a hard-core scientist: he doesn't just tell you what is so, he shows you how to find out for yourself. For this book, he wrote Biomorph, one of the first artificial life programs.
Dawkins's explanation of evolution is just as complete. His entire book has the beauty of an explanation that slots together perfectly. Dawkins shows that natural selection not only explains every aspect of life but renders other explanations unnecessary. Any additions to the theory add more questions than answers. I particularly reveled in Dawkins's explanation of the evolutionary reasons why some people find evolution hard to accept...
At no point does Dawkins, or Darwin, suggest that evolution is explained by blind chance.
Dawkins conclusively shows that in every case life has evolved by natural selection. The examples produced by the most supersitious critics of Darwin, such as the eye and the human brain, are picked up and explained totally by Dawkins. Every organ that exists in nature is one that is capable of evolving by simple steps, every one of which bestows clear advantages. At every stage from a cluster of light sensitive cells to a fully functioning eye we have an easily understood process. By contrast, organs or limbs which could not have evolved, such as wheels, at least on land animals, do not exist. We are left with two possible explanations: evolution by natural selection or intelligent design by a designer who has deliberately chosen to disguise his work as evolution by natural selection.