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ISBN:0393304485
Author: Richard Dawkins
ISBN13: 978-0393304480
Title: Blind Watchmaker Why the Evidence
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Language: English
Category: Evolution
Publisher: Norton*(ww Norton Co (January 1988)

Blind Watchmaker Why the Evidence by Richard Dawkins



With a new introduction. Twenty years after its original publication, The Blind Watchmaker, framed with a new introduction by the author, is as prescient and timely a book as ever. The watchmaker belongs to the eighteenth-century theologian William Paley, who argued that just as a watch is too complicated and functional to have sprung into existence by accident, so too must all living things, with their far greater complexity, be purposefully designed.

The Blind Watchmaker book. Richard Dawkins says that watches, or indeed anything complicated, do not infer the existence of a watchmaker. Or, to use a different analogy, a book, which can be a complicated thing, does not infer the existence of an author. You could say well, here’s a book called The Blind Watchmaker and it says it’s by Richard Dawkins, so we see that Richard Dawkins is the author and he wrote this book, but Richard Dawkins would say NO! it doesn’t, have you not been paying attention, have you been giggling and passing notes in the back row again?

With a new introduction.

I thoroughly enjoyed Richard Dawkins' book, The Blind Watchmaker. I read this right after reading Dawkins' earlier creation, the Selfish Gene.

About the summary: It takes time to finish up a book. If you do not make notes as you read, you might have to go through the book once again. This can be time-consuming when you are dealing with a book. But you can still flip through the book and locate what you are looking for. However, when the material is an audiobook, it is extremely hard to locate a specific part of content. Most likely you will have to listen to the entire audiobook once again. This book summary will help solve the pain of having to go through.

The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe without Design is a 1986 book by Richard Dawkins, in which the author presents an explanation of, and argument for, the theory of evolution by means of natural selection. He also presents arguments to refute certain criticisms made on his first book, The Selfish Gene. Both books espouse the gene-centric view of evolution.

Patiently and lucidly, this Los Angeles Times Book Award and Royal Society of Literature Heinemann Prize winner identifies the aspects of the theory of evolution that people find hard to believe and removes the barriers to credibility one by one. "As readable and vigorous a defense of Darwinism as has been published since 1859. Categories: Religion. Pages: 345. ISBN 10: 0-393-31570-3. ISBN 13: 9780393315707.

Richard Dawkins’s classic remains the definitive argument for our modern understanding of evolution. The Blind Watchmaker is the seminal text for understanding evolution today. In the eighteenth century, theologian William Paley developed a famous metaphor for creationism: that of the skilled watchmaker. In The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins crafts an elegant riposte to show that the complex process of Darwinian natural selection is unconscious and automatic.

Twenty years after its original publication, The Blind Watchmaker, framed with a new introduction by the author, is as prescient and timely a book as ever. Charles Darwin’s brilliant discovery challenged the creationist arguments; but only Richard Dawkins could have written this elegant riposte.

The Blind Watchmaker, knowledgably narrated by author Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward, is as prescient and timely a book as ever. The watchmaker belongs to the 18th century theologian William Paley, who argued that just as a watch is too complicated and functional to have sprung into existence by accident, so too must all living things, with their far greater complexity, be purposefully designed. Charles Darwins brilliant discovery challenged the creationist arguments; but only Richard Dawkins could have written this elegant riposte.

A vigorous and readable defense of Darwinism which leaps effortlessly from the primeval soup to long rows of taxonomy. Deep enough to be valuable to biologists, yet simple and well-written so as to appeal to a mass audience. Illustrated.
Reviews: 7
Boraston
I thoroughly enjoyed Richard Dawkins' book, The Blind Watchmaker. I read this right after reading Dawkins' earlier creation, the Selfish Gene. This book is brilliantly written and most importantly it conveys subtle and profound scientific ideas in easy and enjoyable language.

Some of the key concepts that Dawkins puts forward (which I was impressed with) include arguments for non blended, "particulate" inheritance and how this relates to sex. Also, he describes how one sees in sexual selection an unusual positive feedback, leading to such things as apparently inefficient long tails, and this is contrasted with the usual negative feedback that one tends to see in nature. The positive feedback loop results from the linkage between preference genes and the trait genes themselves.

There was a very nice discussion of genes and the environment and how the environment of genes includes other genes both within an individual and in other organisms, and this, in turn, leads to complex types of cooperation, arms races and the famous red queen effect. Finally, I liked the discussion of sensory systems such as vision and bat echolocation and how we can learn from these areas where nature has adapted to such a great degree and how we can see that in this process using less refined systems sometimes is evolutionarily advantageous.

Overall I found this a thoroughly enjoyable read and I would highly recommend it to anybody else. It is a great classic.
Ese
Very good read, Dawkins very patiently guides the reader to a decent understanding of how evolution via natural selection works. The Bio-Morph Land example does a good job of explaining complex design through accumulation of small, gradual changes. I also enjoyed the chapter on alternative theories to natural selection, and the slow and methodical dismantling of them. All in all, a must read for anyone interested in a better understanding of evolution via natural selection.
grand star
Great read. Despite what the title and some negative reviews may lead you to believe, this book is not so much anti-creationist as pro-Darwinist. Using rigorous logic and arguments rooted in biology, probability theory and information theory, Dawkins proves that Darwinism is still the most plausible and consistent theory explaining the emergence and development of life on Earth. Even though a big part of the book is dedicated to debunking creationist arguments, it also includes the critique of competing scientific theories (for example those that do not consider natural selection to be the primary driving force behind evolution).
Dynen
I picked up this book based on a recommendation from a website on Genetic Algorithms. The book convincingly presents multiple evidence-based arguments to support the theory of evolution (against creationism and intelligent design theories). Lot of interesting information here around how animals evolved to adapt to their environment in different ways in different parts of the world. Evolution has always made sense to me (but its probably because I learned about it at school and heard about Creationism as an adult) and I have never really questioned it, but this book made me appreciate the fact that random paths with a good acceptance function can often converge to good solutions.
Watikalate
The cover of Richard Dawkins book states "Why the evidence of evolution reveals a universe without design." I think the task of trying to write a book that can unequivocally demonstrate that life arose without any designer input is an exceedingly difficult task. Let's face it, we know very little about the origins of life in the early days of several billion years ago. Our bulk of information dates from the Cambrian period forward. With that said, I think Dawkins did a remarkable job at this task.

However, if I were someone who believed in a designer or that there was some intelligence behind life, I don't think I would necessarily come away convinced otherwise after reading this book. Keep in mind, also, that this book was written some time ago and today, in 2011, we have acquired considerable knowledge on the subject of evolution that just wasn't available then especially in the field of genetics.

The reference to a blind watchmaker in the title refers to the fact that natural selection can be said to play the role of a watchmaker in nature; it is called the blind watchmaker. The reference to a watchmaker refers back to a treatise written by William Paley back in 1802. Paley reasoned that a watch which has complex inner workings must therefore have had a designer. In other words, you can tell by looking at something that it had a designer.

I did notice, as some others have commented, that Dawkins has in this book resorted to great verbiage in order to prove various points - not that there is anything wrong with this approach. He does seem though to want to make sure the last nail is firmly hammered into the coffin, so to speak.

A few highlights:

In chapter three, he tries to prove the point of cumulative selection. He does this using computer programs he wrote to produced computer generated creatures showing how changes can over time produce more complex forms. I'm not sure how strong an argument this is considering how much more complex the development of life is than a computer program.

In chapter five, the discussion turns to DNA, RNA, the histone H4 gene, and the RNA-replicase experiment among other things.

In chapter seven, we learn about "co-adapted genotypes" and "arms races."

In chapter nine, Dawkins devotes the entire chapter to discussing the theory of punctuated equilibrium stating flatly that the theory "lies firmly within the neo-Darwinian synthesis." In other words, it is a type of gradualist theory not in opposition to Darwin's ideas.

In chapter ten, he introduces "the one true tree of life" delving into various belief systems of taxonomists and cladists.

In chapter eleven, various "doomed rivals" to evolution are dissected. These include naturalists, selectionists, mutationism, Lamarckian evolution, something called molecular drive, and creationism (both instantaneous and guided evolution theories).

Dawkins asserts his final conclusion to the matter stating that adaptive complexity is a property of living things that is explicable only by Darwinian selection where chance is filtered cumulatively by selection, step by step.

To those interested in adding to their knowledge of the subject, this is one more book to add to your reading list.
Androwyn
This is a well written in depth book. It can be used as reference for genetics inquiries. It is not for casual fireside reading. I got lost several times, having to reread in order to grasp signifence. Not for the faint hearted!