- Paperback: 480 pages
- Publisher: Black Swan; 01 edition (29 April 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 055277524X
- ISBN-13: 978-0552775243
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (286 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution Paperback – 29 Apr 2010
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"Richard Dawkins is so much more than just the world's most famous atheist, this smart and engaging "evidence for evolution" is required reading for those who want a grounding in the facts. It's as fascinating as it is challenging" (Independent)
"In the bicentennial year of Darwin's birth Mr Dawkins fills a gap in his oeuvre by setting out the evidence that the "theory" of evolution is a fact... And what a lot of evidence there is" (The Economist)
"With characteristic flair and passion, Dawkins has put on a stunning exhibition of the evidence for evolution. In his own words, 'Evolution is a fact... and no unbiased reader will close the book doubting it'" (Dr Alice Roberts, Biological anthropologist, author & broadcaster)
"Richard Dawkins writes about evolution science with unflagging enthusiasm, wit and lucidity. This book is a wonderful addition to his already distinguished ouevre" (Brian Eno)
"Dawkins's writing demonstrates once again his consummate skill as an explainer... the topics are all laid out with that combination of clarity and verve that is [his] hallmark" (Guardian)
Dawkins combines an artist's wonder at the virtuosity of nature with a scientist's understanding of how it comes to be. - Matt Ridley, author of Nature via Nurture.
This is the book Richard Dawkins needed to write and many need to read ... clear, absorbing and vivid. - Lord Harries of Pentregarth (formerly Bishop Richard Harries).
With characteristic flair and passion, Dawkins has put on a stunning exhibition of the evidence for evolution. - Dr Alice Roberts, Biological anthropologist, author & broadcaster
Whether it’s Lenski’s bacteria or our own ancestors, Richard Dawkins discusses the evidence for evolution with his usual charm, style, clarity and brilliance. - Simon Singh, author of Fermat’s Last Theorem -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.
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Top Customer Reviews
In a logical fashion Dawkins steps through such topics as "what do we mean by a theory", dating methods for fossils, missing links (and if there are such things), plate tectonics and its influence on plant and animal distribution, embryology and molecular genetics and evolution. Each chapter adds another layer to the evidence for Evolution. Where other scientific understanding is required it is provided. For example, there is a short description of the classic atomic models needed to understand the dating methods used on geological samples. The best chapters are the final two, and this is not to say the ones before are not of an extremely high standard. The penultimate chapter addresses Evolutionary Arms races, with a clear emphasis on predator prey relationships, while the final chapter unpacks a paragraph from the original version of On the Origin of Species to show how far reaching and advanced Darwin's thinking was at the time of its publication.
Dawkins is clear, if possibly optimistic, in his aim to address this book at those who find evolution difficult, for I doubt they will read this book. He terms these people "the history-deniers" in a clear allusion to the controversies in the study of recent History, where despite incontrovertible evidence people still deny the occurrences of certain events.Read more ›
Still, the book is not as tight as it could be, and at times I found myself struggling to stay focused while the book went on a digression of marginal relevance (for example, there's an entire chapter on embryology which only explains why it's relevant in the last couple of pages).
Anyway, this is still a good book, but a more patient reader than I am might find it more enjoyable.
My major criticism of this latest of Prof. Dawkin's books is that it is just not particularly well structured and presented. On far too many occasions the author launches off into attacks, jibes and generally derogatory remarks about creationists, which are annoying and distracting. OK, I understand that being a committed man of science it must be very tiresome to read the distorted rubbish pedalled about the age of the Earth, misinterpretation of the fossil record etc., but please just give the evidence in a clear an concise manner, and try not to descend to insult (eg. half of p154 derides in extremely perjorative language a book I'd never heard of before and wouldn't take seriously anyway). I could quote numerous examples of this sort of thing. Personally I'm surprised the publisher didn't ask him to turn it down a few notches...or maybe it has been!
The book is very much a layman's book setting things out from first principles, including an explanation of atomic structure, a discussion about what a clock is, and to start off a rather laboured debate about the alternative difinitions of what the word 'theory' actually means. In places I found the text rather verbose and read something like a brain-dumped oral lecture committed to paper.Read more ›
It is probably worth emphasising what this book is not. It is not suitable as an introductory description of evolution. It actually contains the relevant material, but embedded in a bigger book that would probably be daunting to someone wanting an easy start.
Also, it is not pro-atheism, not anti-God, and not anti-religion. (I am an atheist who is somewhat anti-religion, and there was little or nothing here to support those positions, although they were not contradicted either). I believe this is a "safe" book for non-creationist religious people to give to their children. Indeed, they may need the book more than atheists would, because perhaps their children are more vulnerable to fundamentalist and/or anti-scientific influences than the children of atheists would be.
Creationists, if they read it, will certainly feel that it is anti-religion. But it attacks the creationist aspect to their Islam or Christianity, not the rest. It attacks those doctrines that are, in effect, (pseudo) scientific statements about the creation/development of life on Earth. Where they attempt to step on science's toes, this book retaliates systematically and relentlessly, by describing the real world that contradicts the creationist positions (in their various incompatible forms).
"Intelligent Design" proponents also suffer, but for a different reason.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In depth but not out of your depth. Plenty of evidence for natural selection here and entertaining to boot.Published 1 month ago by AndrewRuislip
Good for people who are new to Richard Dawkins, easy read.Published 2 months ago by James Eddleston
A very clear and convincing presentation, marred, in my view, by his dismissal of any complications e.g. epigenetics. One wonders whether he is bit stuck in his mindset.Published 9 months ago by D. H. Rees
I am an atheist who supports the fact of evolution, and as someone who holds this position, this book made for very pleasant reading. Read morePublished 10 months ago by O.J.S