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The Blind Watchmaker: The Blind Watchmaker Software [Hardcover]

Richard Dawkins
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 1993
A brilliant and 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?
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: WW Norton & Co; Evolution Simulation for DOS, 3.5' Disk edition (Dec 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393995461
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393995466
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 15.2 x 0.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,449,825 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard Dawkins first catapulted to fame with his iconic work The Selfish Gene, which he followed with a string of bestselling books: The Extended Phenotype, The Blind Watchmaker, River Out of Eden, Climbing Mount Improbable, Unweaving the Rainbow, The Ancestor's Tale, The God Delusion, The Greatest Show on Earth, The Magic of Reality, and a collection of his shorter writings, A Devil's Chaplain.

Dawkins is a Fellow of both the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Literature. He is the recipient of numerous honours and awards, including the Royal Society of Literature Award (1987), the Michael Faraday Award of the Royal Society (1990), the International Cosmos Prize for Achievement in Human Science (1997), the Kistler Prize (2001), the Shakespeare Prize (2005), the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science (2006), the Galaxy British Book Awards Author of the Year Award (2007), the Deschner Prize (2007) and the Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest (2009). He retired from his position as the Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University in 2008 and remains a fellow of New College.

In 2012, scientists studying fish in Sri Lanka created Dawkinsia as a new genus name, in recognition of his contribution to the public understanding of evolutionary science. In the same year, Richard Dawkins appeared in the BBC Four television series Beautiful Minds, revealing how he came to write The Selfish Gene and speaking about some of the events covered in his latest book, An Appetite for Wonder. In 2013, Dawkins was voted the world's top thinker in Prospect magazine's poll of 10,000 readers from over 100 countries.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Richard Dawkins is not a shy man. Edward Larson's research shows that most scientists today are not formally religious, but Dawkins is an in-your-face atheist:

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 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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

In 1995 Richard Dawkins became the first holder of the Charles Simonyi Chair of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. He is the bestselling author of THE SELFISH GENE, CLIMBING MOUNT IMPROBABLE (Penguin, 1996) and UNWEAVING THE RAINBOW (Penguin, 1998). --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
183 of 188 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brain-opener, but entertaining 20 Aug 2007
I read this, as many others may have done because I was interested by 'The God Delusion' and wanted to delve a little deeper into Dawkins impressive thought processes. While 'The God Delusion' is much in the limeight and undoubtedly opening up discussion on the issues involved, this book is of an entirely different calibre.

I found 'The God Delusion' well argued but too inclined to go off on tangents. I also thought it was too busy dissecting other arguments to put across its own argument in a clear and coherent fashion.

This book is entirely different in that its cogency and clarity are unfailing throughout. It is much less self-conscious (or media conscious?) and more satisfying and thought provoking as a result. Perhaps it is because I knew less of the subject matter before coming to it, but I found it entertaining, readable and accessible to the lay reader at all times, and yet never condescending or over-simplified in content.

Here is a rare writer who is not only quite obviously an exceptional thinker in his own field but has the communicative skill to make that field understandable, entertaining and fascinating to the general reader.

Forget 'The God Delusion' and read this, as it is to me infinitely better written and more absorbing. I now look forward to reading more of Dawkins work, and understand the intellectual and critical acclaim he has received.
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113 of 119 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A complete answer to Darwin's critics 23 April 2000
The very best whodunnits stand or fall by last page. On that page the author explains not only who dunnit, but how and why. When you read the how you should not be left thinking that your own idea was just as good. Once explained, it should be completely obvious. The intelligent reader should be left slapping his or her forehead and exclaiming "how did I miss that?".
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.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A life-changing book 13 April 2008
As another reviewer has stated, this book is truly life-changing. Before reading it I was open-minded about all sorts of vaguely 'spiritual' ideas, for the (very common) reason that there seemed to be certain Big Questions that could not be fully explained by science. In particular, life itself.
This is in fact poppycock - Darwinism provides that explanation. But sadly, lots of people misunderstand Darwinism; and then look for weaknesses in their WRONG interpretation of it.
Dawkins does an incredibly thorough job of explaining how Natural Selection actually works, using some great metaphors along the way to make the whole thing very enjoyable reading. [NB Dawkins is always very clear not to confuse a metaphor with reality - unlike some of his reviewers!]
This is not just a text book on Darwinism; it is a thorough rebuttal of the religious argument that there must be a God because "there is no other feasible explanation".
There are a few negative reviews on this site. But it is clear they are all written by religious people with a major axe to grind. ALL of their criticisms seem to be based on wilful misinterpretations. In particular, there is actually lots of evidence to support the theory of Natural Selection. And Dawkins explanation of the eye (human or otherwise) makes perfect sense.
Read the book yourself, and form your own judgement.
And one final point - for me life as an atheist is definitely not devoid of meaning!
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69 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life changing 8 July 2007
Richard Dawkins's brilliant explanation of the theories of Charles Darwin is must-reading for anyone interested in the origin and diversity of life.

I picked this up after reading that Douglas Adams (author of "The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy") credited this book with confirming his atheism and filling out his understanding of Darwinism. There certainly is not much left for a deity to do by the time Dawkins finishes explaining the story of life as we know it.

There are a number of mind-blowing concepts discussed in the book, such as Dawkins's discussion of probability. Dawkins writes that our perception of probablity is necessarily limited by the fact that we only live for a few decades. If we lived for say, half a million years, we would probably avoid crossing streets (if you crossed the street every day for half a million years, you would consider getting struck by a conveyance as a likely outcome.)

I have to agree with some reviewers that the prose was a bit tough to get through in places, but I still had to give this book five stars for its overall impact. I will never look at the world the same again.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
As advertised and arrived promptly.
Published 15 days ago by AER
5.0 out of 5 stars Hes a good teacher and opens ones eyes to the reality of ...
Hes a good teacher and opens ones eyes to the reality of all the 'head in the sand' people and deniers.
Published 1 month ago by me
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Little tedious despite agreeing with everything he says
Published 1 month ago by merlin
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cool Voice of Reason
Richard Dawkins writes that he wants to convey "the sheer wonder of biological complexity" and then to explain how that complexity has come about. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jean Elliott
4.0 out of 5 stars Dawkins - Blind watchmaker.
Richard Dawkins opens our eyes to all the things we take for granted or don't even see. great read! Len.
Published 3 months ago by leonard.
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Book.
Once again, Richard Dawkins superb wit and broad knowledge help to shed light on a deep and interesting subject. Another brilliant book by a brilliant author. Read more
Published 3 months ago by teatime
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be on the school syllabus
As i said of the Selfish Gene, brilliantly written, easy to read, full of interesting information. Should be on the reading curriculum.
Published 3 months ago by MR S WALMSLEY
4.0 out of 5 stars great read, explanations galore
Great read. Breaks down the wonder of evolution still further explaining things like the eye to the parallel evolution of internal body systems solved in different ways buy each... Read more
Published 4 months ago by neil
4.0 out of 5 stars I am not a sceptic.
I only have a couple negative things to say about this book or perhaps just Dawkins in general:

A.) He treats as though all of his readers are sceptics.
B. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Adam Robinson
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy to read, compelling and logical argument for Darwinian evolution
Richard Dawkins' style is easy to read and quite conversational in spite of the complex topic. My only criticism is that some of the analogies are a bit over-done - the same... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Carl S Davis
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