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Richard Dawkins
The Blind Watchmaker : Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design

"Beautifully and superbly written . . . It is completely understandable but has the cadence of impassioned speech. Every page rings of truth. It is one of the best science books--one of the best any books--I have ever read."
-- Lee Dembart, Los Angeles Times

In The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins delves into the mechanism of cumulative natural selection--unlike Tim Berra's Evolution and the Myth of Creationism which goes into many of the other scientific areas involved in organic evolution such as paleontology. The detail is far greater in this book than in Berra's with regard to Darwinian selection. Although this book is written for a general audience, the reader should have a fair grasp of evolutionary theory (which can be obtained through Berra's or Strahler's book) in order to fully appreciate the contents.

The watchmaker argument is the basis from which Dawkins begins. The rest of the book focuses almost exclusively with Darwinism (rather than a comparison/contrast of creation vs. evolution like the two books mentioned above) until the final few pages in which Dawkins wraps up with some of the false theories on how we got here--one of them being an intelligent designer. I like his statement to the effect that one should not assume what they are trying to explain. In other words, when we attempt to explain why life has become as complex as it is, we shouldn't do as deity believers who know that evolution is a fact do (such as the Pope or educated Mormons) in saying that a deity was still the initial cause of evolution. To do so is a fallacy since one would be saying that our level of complexity was still caused by a higher complexity which still can't be explained.

He discusses the "Argument from Personal Incredulity" which is where one attempts to make a case from a proposition on the basis of our inability to fathom or to explain a certain phenomenon or set of phenomena. In the case of the Argument from Design, the central proposition was that we supposedly had no means to explain complex "design" in biology, therefore we must assume the existence of a designer. The important point is that even before we had a theory of evolution the Argument from Design was still flawed. When one has a dearth of information on a subject, the best answer that one can give is to simply say, "I do not know the answer".

I highly recommend this book. The Blind Watchmaker is the type of book that you can explore several times and still pull additional useful information out of on the second and third reads that you missed the first time through. It should be on every person's bookshelf who is interested in their existence. For those not interested in your existence, you shouldn't be reading this page to begin with. ;)

This was the book that started the 'biomorphs' which you have probably heard about. The Blind Watchmaker also deals with 'memes' which created a whole other series of books written by several authors.

After reading Evolution: A Theory In Crisis, I'm wondering if Dawkins wasn't writing a specific response/rebuttal to Denton's inaccurate claims?

Several quotes and excerpts from the book

"Brilliant exposition, tightly argued but kept readable by plentiful recourse to analogies and examples. . ."
-- London Times
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