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The Blind Watchmaker Paperback – 6 Apr 2006

4.3 out of 5 stars 157 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; New Edition edition (6 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141026162
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141026169
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,692 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Review

Richard Dawkins has updated evolution ... His subject is nothing less than the meaning of life, and he attacks it with the evangelical fervour of a clergyman and the mind of a scientist (The Times)

Beautiful ... he seizes happy analogies, bright metaphors and shining images to light up his passion and our darkness (Guardian)

Good writing, tight argument and unpulled punches ... a satisfying book (Economist)

One of the best science books - one of the best of any books - I have ever read (Los Angeles Times)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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.
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Format: 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.
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Format: 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.
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Format: 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!
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