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on 7 December 2015
Great book, nice copy
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on 22 November 2013
As an avid reader of science, and having read a few other books on evolution, this is by far the the most comprehensive and conclusive work demonstrating the clear and overwhelming evidence in favour of evolution. A brilliant read, very clear, and easy to digest if you have a non scientific background. The evidence is systematically presented in a way that leaves no stone unturned. Wonderfully written by one of the worlds leading experts in the field. It also contains relevant diagrams and photographs supporting the text. If you've been looking for a presentation of the irrefutable evidence for evolution, this is the book.
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on 9 October 2009
Great book from a great writer. After reading some of Richard Dawkins' books I can say this one was necessary book. A demonstration on evolution, with proofs, experiments... in other words: real science.
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on 13 March 2011
I must confess to having mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand the evidence for evolution is fascinating and on another I find Dawkins style of writing incredibly frustrating - so on one front the book delighted me, and on another it made me very angry. Let me then begin this review by summarising what each chapter says:

1. Dawkins explains why he felt it necessary to write his book, i.e. the creationists who deny evolution. Dawkins uses an ad hominem argument, whereby he likens evolution deniers (history deniers, as he calls them) to holocaust deniers.
2. Considers why it took so long for evolution to be discovered. Rather simplistically Dawkins pins the blame on Platonism. Dawkins then attempts to show how one species can look like 2 different species, i.e. the differences in dogs for example.
3. Explains the differences between macro and micro evolution. Dawkins then explains what natural selection is and how it pushes forward evolutionary change. According to Dawkins natural selection is the only thing pushing forward evolutionary progression.
4. For evolution to occur on the level that it has today it would require a very long time in which to occur. This chapter considers how long we have to play with (i.e. the age of the earth), and how we know that the earth is as old as it is.
5. Considers how evolutionary change can be observed today in bacteria. Dawkins provides a brief synopsis of experiments which have been conducted to show that evolution is a fact.
6. Dawkins next turns to macro evolution, and most noticeably the most common creationist argument of all - I'll believe in evolution when I see a monkey give birth to a human, and where are all the crockoducks? Dawkins explains why evolution does not occur like this, i.e. because evolutionary change is gradual. Finally, Dawkins argues here against any form of design.
7. Having been presented with this evidence we now turn to the next creationist argument: evolution happened in the lower animals but not humans. Dawkins show how we know that humans have evolved, and how similar they are to their fellow primates, most noticeably in the shape of the skull.
8. Considers embryology and how humans evolve and change shape in the womb over the nine month pregnancy period. Dawkins then attempts to explain how the bodies `blue print' is regulated by DNA, if it can in fact be called a `blue print'.
9. Considers the environmental pressures which prompt evolutionary change. Dawkins promotes here the theory of continental drift and how we know it's true, i.e. the tectonic plates.
10. Considers the `cousinship of creatures', i.e. the similarities between the creature `blue-prints' and bone structures. This cousinship is how we know that all creatures have evolved from a common ancestor.
11. Considers `unintelligent design', and all the evolutionary mistakes which can be observed in humans and other creatures. For example: the back to front retina in the human eye.
12. Considers the arms race argument, i.e. that evolution has occurred due to all the different creatures upping the game by one. Dawkins then turns to the issue of theodicy, i.e. the problem of evil. According to Dawkins natural is cruel and horrible, but these are human constructs - i.e. nature doesn't care about such things, it only cares about surviving.
13. Considers the grandeur of the evolutionary view, i.e. from the most of humble origins (single celled organisms created by a cosmic soup) to the variety of life which we can see today. Dawkins acknowledges that we still don't know how life started due to the uniqueness of the event, but we have testable experiments which show how it might have happened.
14. Appendix 1: Gives a synopsis of the creationist/evolution belief data.

So what made me angry?

I really didn't like the ad hominem argument that evolution deniers are like holocaust deniers, I think that is greatly unfair. Evolution deniers deny evolution because of the way it affects their metaphysics. As Dawkins probably doesn't even know what metaphysics is I doubt he even appreciates how loathed some people might be to accept anything which drastically alters them. If he did I'm sure he'd be a little more tactful than he is.

Next, the simplistic arguments against Platonism are just that, simplistic. If you read Ruse's `Evolution-Creation Struggle', you'd get a much better understanding of why evolution took such a long time to be accepted, and why today it is feared due to how it can affect the individual's metaphysics.

Whilst I couldn't write anything about Dawkins' science, owing to the fact that he is more accomplished in the field than I, I did find myself annoyed at his frequent ability to go off on one. His ability to topic jump made the book incredibly frustrating to read at points. A little less `one time at band camp', and the structure of the book would have been a pleasure to read. Also, I did spot one reference to `memes', and let's face it memes are just as made up as the tooth fairy. Therefore they should not have featured in a book about evidence.

Finally, Dawkins simplistic view about theodicy also shows a lack of understanding about rational ideologies and how they affect the whole `is-ought' fallacy. If we didn't strive for ideals then society would never have progresses to where it is today. To simply dismiss this is unfair, and hardly befitting a serious thinker.

There are other grips that I have with the book - but this will do. Overall, the evidence for evolution is undeniable. Dawkins book will educate you in this respect, but the book is hardly perfect. It's a book written by a fundamentalist atheist intended to address fundamentalist religious folks. The conflict this produces, and is intended to produce is undeniable. Because of this I cannot give the book a perfect rating as it has too many imperfections for me to give it a glowing review. Overall I feel that 3 stars is generous. This is because what the book does show, it shows well. But what it does bad, it really does bad. At the end of the day judge for yourself.

PS. I'm not interested in getting horrible reviews and comments from Dawkins fanatics. This review is posted purely as a point of my opinion - and I kindly ask that you respect my honesty in posting my review, and be polite in anything that you might have to say in response.
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on 13 October 2009
This is one of the most concise, accessible and enjoyable books I have ever read on evolution, I couldn't put it down. Completely and utterly recommend it.
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on 14 October 2009
No, you don't have to believe in evolution. And your neighbour on one side can believe that the sun will rise in the West tomorrow and your neighbour on the other side may insist that the Moon is made of green cheese.

But Dawkins makes clear beyond doubt or peradventure that in that case you all three belong together in the same institution!
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on 29 December 2015
Great, thanks.
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on 5 October 2009
An excellent and very easily understood examination of evolution and the clear proof of its existence.
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on 12 October 2009
I classic work from R. Dawkins, about the basic concepts of evolution.
Evolution for everyone.
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on 17 September 2009
Its all there - Evolution is a fact.

Is there any 'history denier' out there who has a an answer to any of the evidence? Not that I've seen, and I have looked.

Only 4 stars because it was preaching to the converted, so no surprises for me!
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