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

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

The Blind Watchmaker, knowledgably narrated by author Richard Dawkins, 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 Darwin's brilliant discovery challenged the creationist arguments; but only Richard Dawkins could have written this elegant riposte.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Richard Dawkins and his wife, actor Lalla Ward, give a highly entertaining read of Dawkins's 1986 critique of creationism, The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design. The audiobook follows an updated edition of the book from 2006 and provides intricate explanations, by way of witty examples, of why random, infinitesimal gene changes over millions of years have produced us and the world we live in. Dawkins's writing contains a self-deprecating, dry sense of humor that comes to life as he reads his best-selling book. Alternating voices between Dawkins and Lalla Ward provides nice listening contrast while also setting apart examples, clarifications, and segments of greater detail. Dawkins and his wife live in a world that is perhaps more scientific on a daily basis than ours so the book takes great care to vary the delivery of information for greater emphasis and easy understanding.

Dawkins's goal in The Blind Watchmaker is to "remove by explaining" any doubt that anything but scientific fact is behind the origin of the universe. Just because something — like human beings or the universe — is complex does not mean that it cannot be explained. Dawkins works hard to help listeners understand the smaller-than-microscopic changes that evolved through staggering amounts of time, changes humans have a hard time intuitively comprehending. To paraphrase the author, do not draw conclusions from your own inability to understand something. The truth of Darwinism comes in its acceptance of physics, probability, and the unending march of time. Dawkins helps listeners out by using examples that are easier to grasp: for example, the evolution from wolves to domesticated dogs. Or how echo location in bats clearly shows the evolution of a trait necessary for survival of a species.

The Blind Watchmaker, read by the author and by Lalla Ward, is an example of an audiobook best listened to while not driving or operating anything requiring devoted attention. Dawkins calls upon us to think about complex concepts that are not necessarily part of daily life. Led by the author, The Blind Watchmkaer is a lively, humorous explanation of the seemingly mystical yet ultimately understandable maze of evolution that is our world. Along the way it is nice to know that a scientist such as Dawkins can, like us, forget to save information on his computer. Re-creation of his data simply leads to another example of probability and complexity that makes, as Dawkins reiterates, the circumstances of any of us being here surprisingly unique, but scientifically not unusual. —Carole Chouinard

Publisher's Summary

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 Darwin's brilliant discovery challenged the creationist arguments; but only Richard Dawkins could have written this elegant riposte. Natural selection - the unconscious, automatic, blind, yet essentially nonrandom process Darwin discovered - is the blind watchmaker in nature.

©1986, 1987, 1996 Richard Dawkins (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"As readable and vigorous a defense of Darwinism as has been published since 1859. (The Economist)

"The best general account of evolution I have read in recent years." (E. O. Wilson, Professor in Entomology, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University)

“Dawkins’s explanation of the evolutionary process continues to be timely and revelatory…This dual reading is an interesting model for a scientific text. It helps to clarify and emphasize points… this is a commendable production, and an excellent primer on how evolution works.” (AudoFile)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Jonathan Ner York, NY, United States 08-22-13
    Jonathan Ner York, NY, United States 08-22-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Evolution made clear"
    If you could sum up The Blind Watchmaker in three words, what would they be?

    susinict, thoughtful, and comprehensive


    Have you listened to any of Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes, all due respect to Prof. Dawkins, Lalla is one of the best voice performers I've heard since I started using audible.


    Any additional comments?

    The beginning (definition bit) is slow and requires your attention but the rest is great and makes every point clear and if not "easy" at least logical to understand.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Raglan, New Zealand 04-12-12
    Mark Raglan, New Zealand 04-12-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Quality"
    What made the experience of listening to The Blind Watchmaker the most enjoyable?

    One of the great modern thinkers - straight from the horse's mouth


    What other book might you compare The Blind Watchmaker to and why?

    The Selfish Gene. No prizes for guessing why


    What about Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward ’s performance did you like?

    Great narration. The switching added interest


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    No, it was just sustained high quality


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric Vancouver, BC, Canada 07-18-11
    Eric Vancouver, BC, Canada 07-18-11
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    "Book of Enlightment"

    Richard Dawkins deserved so much credit of my curious and confused mind. He is so brilliant that this audiobook once you start listening you just can't stop. Lalla Ward is splendid as Richard Dawkins. I love listening to her voice. But of course Richard Dawkins is unparallel.He is like listening to my High School teacher in Physics who is also from England. He has this teacher or professor sounding nice and kind voice.This book was well written and carefully scripted not to offend the creationist believers.
    It will go down in history as the 21st century, the Age of Enlightment. Like Charles Darwin when his Theory of Evolution was first published in 1859. I was 13 years old when I started questioning about our creator. I had few catholic missionary friends when I was 13 yo and started asking questions of our creator. I was never satisfied of their answers. They all seems to have the same answer.."Faith"...a blind faith. It took me over 40 years to realize that I should not feel guilty that there's no such thing as Intelligent Design. Finally, all these clouds in my mind are 100% clear now. There's no such thing as Intelliget Design (ID) fun intented :) Bravo to Sir Richard Dawkins!

    25 of 43 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chlo-bell CLIFTON, VA, United States 08-10-11
    Chlo-bell CLIFTON, VA, United States 08-10-11 Member Since 2007

    Private intellectual, writer, and retired academic. Currently R&D director for Gravitational Systems Engineering, Inc.

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    "Extremely informative, extremely dogmatic"

    As a student of historical religions, and science as religion I find Darwin extremely compelling, and logical. Dawkins on the other hand, has truly drunk the Kool-aid. I realize that the work is a bit dated, so some inaccuracies, for example his near ridicule of epi-genetics and Lemarkism, by focus on genes rather than switches. However, as a scientist I have learned that absolute certainty is only for mountebanks. I must say however, that I learned a lot, despite the fact that I have read most of Darwin's works, and many related texts. Unfortunately it is easy to get riled up by his everyone else is an idiot tone, and miss many of the startling insights of the work. I have a lot of respect for Mr.Dawkins, so I truly hope that this was more of a show than his true scientific point of view. And yet, all in all, I would recommend the book to all who have an interest.

    14 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven Bloomfield 07-08-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Very good but some parts are hard to follow"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Blind Watchmaker to be better than the print version?

    Haven't read the print edition but I think the confusing parts (probabilities and punctuated equilibrium) may have been easier to digest in print form.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    Slightly difficult audiobook to listen to and actually retain. It lost me on the discussions of probabilities and also confused me until the very end of his discussion of punctuated equilibrium. Other than that it's still a good book for getting a grip on some of the more nuanced aspects of evolution by natural selection. But not for science beginners...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J.B. Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States 03-29-14
    J.B. Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States 03-29-14 Member Since 2004

    Economic litigation attorney. Reading, the arts and physical activity are all necessary.

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    "Outdated, pedantic; but not a mere Compendium"

    It certainly assembles all arguments against natural selection and provides indexed muliplle arguments to defeat creationist allegations, thinkings and biases. It just became too much of the same; repeating the failures of creationist logic and comparting it to dawrinistic proofs time and again and again. Although, for one who wants to master all thoughts on the subject it is complete. I am a darwinist, and still got tired of the logic versus the prayer. The presentation or reading thought was well done. The pass off between Dawkins and Ward made it easier but only for the first 70% of the read (listen).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alessandro Blacktown, Australia 03-22-14
    Alessandro Blacktown, Australia 03-22-14 Listener Since 2006
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    "The Professor makes difficult easy!"
    If you could sum up The Blind Watchmaker in three words, what would they be?

    Enjoyable, illuminating, essential


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Not applicable


    What about Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward ’s performance did you like?

    The read very well and clearly and the text is beautifully written.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    A bit too thought provoking for one sitting, but I did not read anything else till it was finished.


    Any additional comments?

    Anyone unsure about the fact that IS evolution should definitely read it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Corey DOVER, DE, United States 02-10-14
    Corey DOVER, DE, United States 02-10-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Thought Provoking"
    What made the experience of listening to The Blind Watchmaker the most enjoyable?

    This book really challenged my worldview and caused me to re-evaluate some very closely held beliefs. Dawkins presents his arguments clearly and with easily understood examples.


    What other book might you compare The Blind Watchmaker to and why?

    This book shares the "how do things work?" attitude of the Freakonomics books.


    Which character – as performed by Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward – was your favorite?

    I liked how the two voices alternated to indicate when Dawkins was quoting other works and conducting debates with notional opponents.


    Any additional comments?

    I highly recommend this book to anyone willing to challenge their own beliefs or wishing to understand how the amazing diversity of this world arose. However, Dawkins occasionally slips into a derisive attitude which might offend creationists or those who fail to believe exactly as he does.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mamodeo Albany, NY 02-06-14
    mamodeo Albany, NY 02-06-14 Member Since 2013

    remember books on paper?

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    "Everyone Should Know This."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Information everyone should know explained in a way anyone can understand.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Blind Watchmaker?

    Explanation of the eye as an example for evolution.


    What about Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward ’s performance did you like?

    Read by the writer is always better.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chopper Chick Orlando, FL USA 02-06-14
    Chopper Chick Orlando, FL USA 02-06-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great follow on to The Selfish Gene"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend the book. It is thought provoking and there were times I found myself talking back to Dawkins as I listened.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The 747 in a hurricane analogy has really stuck with me.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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