Customer Reviews


117 Reviews
5 star:
 (69)
4 star:
 (28)
3 star:
 (7)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:
 (10)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


183 of 188 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brain-opener, but entertaining
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...
Published on 20 Aug 2007 by L. Scholey

versus
34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy to follow, but labours the point a little too much
I thought this book started off really well, and as well as discussing evolution there were lots of interesting sidelines about various different animals and how they have developed interesting features (like how bats have something similar to radar). I was also really interested in some of the facts about animals that evolved since the dinosaurs but have not made it into...
Published on 30 Jan 2002


‹ Previous | 1 212 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

183 of 188 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brain-opener, but entertaining, 20 Aug 2007
By 
L. Scholey "Zebedee" (Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Blind Watchmaker (Paperback)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


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
By 
Q. Langley (Surrey, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Blind Watchmaker (Paperback)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A life-changing book, 13 April 2008
By 
This review is from: The Blind Watchmaker (Paperback)
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!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


69 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life changing, 8 July 2007
This review is from: The Blind Watchmaker (Paperback)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic, 27 Jun 2004
By 
R. P. Sedgwick "Grim Rob" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Blind Watchmaker (Paperback)
In The Blind Watchmaker Richard Dawkins makes a magnificent case for the Darwinian view of evolution by Natural Selection. All alternative theories are dismissed by rational argument and his book is extremely persuasive and extremely readable.
Natural Selection is virtually unique among modern scientific theories in being very conceptually straightforward (although so counter-intuitive that it took millennia for anyone to think of it). This has the advantage that the theory is very accessible to the lay reader, but that is to take nothing away from Dawkin's brilliance.
This isn't just a rehash of Darwin's original work, as so much has been learnt since that time about genetics, as well as many other developments in life sciences in over a century; but it deserves to stand alongside it as a classic of modern times.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Darwin and beyond: the origin of life explained, 3 Jun 2003
By 
M. Tuler (Geneva, Switzerland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Blind Watchmaker (Paperback)
It is a particularly difficult task to write a book interesting for both, the scientific community and the layman. It is also thorny to write a completely scientific, and therefore unreligious, account of the origin of life for the great public without being attacked by blinded folks.
However, Dawkins is not only a great scientist but also a great writer. The Blind Watchmaker explains Darwin theory with complete clarity and at the same time keeps the attention of the reader as high as if you were reading a novel. You want to know what comes next. This is particularly true for the first part of the book, where the modern understanding of Darwin theory is developed, using the advances of genetics and biology. The second half of the book develops more slowly, sometimes taking too much time –at least for the layman- answering competing theories.
Although the book can perfectly be read independently, for a broader comprehension of the deep meaning of it, it may be useful to have read The Selfish Gene before.
A highly recommended book for intelligent and open minded people who want to know more about the origin of life.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


105 of 119 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully written exploration of life and its origins, 3 Nov 2006
This review is from: The Blind Watchmaker (Paperback)
If you're a dyed-in-the-wool creationist this book probably won't make you throw out all your beliefs, though there is still plenty here to inspire awe in the astonishing complexity of nature. In this book Dawkins doesn't (in my view) attack religion in any particularly venomous way, but he does aim to show it to be unnecessary in the story of life - so it would be fine to buy this for someone who is religious without offending them.

I loved the book because like most people I know I don't believe God or gods spontaneously created the universe, I have a basic understanding of evolution, plus I'm interested in nature and natural history and I wanted to know a bit more. You may think you understand Darwinism and its implications, but reading this book really gives you more understanding of the finer points, as well as raising questions you hadn't thought about.

As Dawkins admits, it's not written like an academic paper, taking into account every possible perspective and objection even-handedly. The book is a piece of passionate advocacy, but it is always rational and often funny.

If I had one criticism of how Dawkins structures the book, it would be how early he goes into his 'biomorph' computer modelling of complex adaptation, and how long he spends on it. A lot of people have an aversion to computer-geekery, and I thought a lot of this could have been consigned to the Appendix. Much of the best of the book lies after this part, and it would be a tragedy if someone put the book down at this point. I'm sure a lot of the religious reviewers on here have done this, because Dawkins addresses many of their questions after the 'biomorph' section (like if basic DNA etc is self-replicating, where did it come from itself?).

Having said that the book is very accessible even to a non-scientific arts-grad like me, though it will certainly get the grey matter working. To apply reason to big questions like 'Where did we come from?' and 'Why are we here?' is challenging stuff.

Sadly we live in a world where rational people do just prefer to be lazy and non-confrontational - so woolly spiritualism and bible/koran-thumping fundamentalism grow in power while books like this are labelled difficult or offensive.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


65 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Higher intelligence need not apply, 11 Jun 2006
By 
James Beaumont "Beaubell" (Brackers, Berkers) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Blind Watchmaker (Paperback)
For anyone not inclined to read a book on science, or a book on theology or even a book that is somehow controversial, then I implore you to break your traditions just once and indulge in this book - as it covers all of the above, and more. This author's view is that there is no God, but that biology and scientific reasoning can still reveal nature's true beauty: by uncovering its greatest mysteries. But don't be put off by the biology. Dawkins tackles these subjects in such a way that anyone can understand them, without being patronising and all the while keeping you thoroughly interested. You don't need to be a brain-box.

So buy this book, and be amazed. You won't look at the natural world in the same way ever again.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good place to start, 20 Mar 2004
By 
David Lanigan (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Blind Watchmaker (Paperback)
How can anyone ignore or dismiss the origins of one's own species? I know I can't and thankfully neither can Richard Dawkins. Having never read Darwin or held anything more than a rudimentary understanding of the story of evolution, this book was recommended to me as an ideal place to start when beginning a journey of self-knowledge.
After a Christian upbringing I had many questions that religion could not convincingly answer and after reading this book I now have an alternative theory that sounds at least as plausible to me as that put forward by the Bible.
I am dismayed that others comments on this book are unwilling to accept any of the authors theories. Each idea is presented with charm, wit and intelligence and where there are passages that I glazed over this did not diminish the message or the enjoyment gained from the reading experience. Even if one ultimately disagrees with the authors view, it cannot be denied that he makes a jolly good argument to support his case.
Please ignore the one-star reviews, this book is an excellent addition to your canon as the question, "where DID we come from?" bubbles up out of you.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Secret of Life, 6 May 2009
By 
Luc REYNAERT (Beernem, Belgium) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Blind Watchmaker (Paperback)
In this rightly called classic book, Richard Dawkins unveils nothing less than the
Secret of life, the principle that encompasses all forms of living things, human, animal, plant, bacterial and even, if any, extraterrestrial. It is a principle that explains why we exist and why we are as we are. That principle is Darwinism.
Darwinism is a cumulative process based on step-by-step transformations (mutations) which arrive by chance. But, the cumulative selections (survivals) of the mutations are not random and are responsible for the existence of life's complex design.
The process (the `watchmaker') is blind. It has no long-term goal, no purpose. The selections are always short-term. But, it is the evolutionary change over the immensities of time which produced what we see around us.
The basic factor in cumulative selection is the property of self-replication. Mutations are `errors' in replication, which can become dominant because they produce fitter specimens (mutants).
All cells of living bodies contain genes (genetic material). But the selection is made on bodies, not genes.
The stuff of genes is DNA (a chain composed by 4 organic molecules). DNA itself is not durable, but its patterns are. Chromosomes, long strands of genes, are passed down generation after generation.

Richard Dawkins also tackles passionately other important aspects of Darwinism.
In the ongoing dispute between `gradualness' and `punctuationism' (sudden evolutionary bursts, like the swelling of the human skull), he cleverly cites J.B.S. Haldane: `something like the transition from amoeba to man goes on in every mother's womb in a mere nine months'.
Natural selection is not only destructive (survival of the fittest). It can also be constructive through gene cooperation, for instance in the `tracking' of a changing environment.
Other items are macromutation, the problem of speciation, sexual and asexual reproduction, sexual attraction and selection (`living and the struggle for survival are only means for one end: reproduction'), embryology, and the reasons why Darwinism is still not universally accepted and even attacked (for religious, ideological or political purposes).

There is, however, one crucial point that the author couldn't solve (for the moment) and for which he can only give some hints: how did the process eventually start on earth?
A convincing try was made by the Dutch scientist S.T. Bok in his book `De oorsprong van het leven' (The origin of life'. Unfortunately, his book has never been translated.

This book is a must read for all those interested in life on earth, because `Darwinism is the bedrock of all human disciplines, for all human works are products of the brain.'
And, as another great Darwinist, G.C. Williams, has said more provocatively: `natural selection, albeit stupid, is a story of unending arms races, slaughter and suffering. It is a law of nature and its immorality has to be accepted and, at least, to be thought about. `
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 212 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Blind Watchmaker
The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins
£3.99
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews