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
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.
"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)
Amazing explanation on how a complex life form have evolved from simple form... loved it..
Though his examples are somewhat dated in the sense that newer discoveries have allowed for fresher examples, they are none the less still revealing and accesible helping to flesh out the explanation of not only how Darwinism makes sense of biological data but is so far the only method man has thought of that can explain the emergence of complexity.
Good Grief! I am a chemist and know what evolution is and accept it thoroughly as it applies to all living beings. Nevertheless, I could not listen past chapter five of this rambling sanctimonious miserable book, fearing that I may stop accepting evolution all together.
To add insult to injury, Dawkins gives us the gift of his "eloquence" by droning on and on and on in his attempt to channel Charles Darwin, but succeeding only to bore the living daylights out of us.
With friends of evolution like Dawkins on our side, who needs the creationist nuts. If you have a background in science or are an open-minded objective person, you already accept Evolutionary approach and do not need this book. If, on the other hand, you are not familiar with Darwin's work and would like to know about Evolution, then definitely avoid this book.
I would recommend it to those with an interest in evolution, but with reservations. It is 80% good, but sometimes comes across as peevish and pedantic, in particular the chapter on punctuated equilibrium.
I actually preferred Prof. Dawkins' narration of the "Origin of Species".
I am sure Prof. Dawkins enjoyed doing a project with his wife, and justified this on the basis of her being a classically trained actor. However the switching between one voice and another became annoying, and sometimes confusing, when it was done in the middle of a passage expressing a single idea.
Dawkins has good genes for incredible story teller. i wish one day we educate the world based on some simple facts illustrated by any one Dawkins books , than believing in " Harry Potter " like stories for real and worshipping the characters and killing in the name of GOD AND RELIGION CAN REST IN PEACE., so this planet will be peaceful place to LIVE. HIGHLY RECOMMEND ANY ONE OF RICHARD DAWKINS BOOK..
"Compares many other theories to Darwinian cumulative natural selection showing why they fall short."
Very detailed. I enjoy listening to Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward. In a 15 hour book, it probably helps keep it auditorily interesting to have two voices.
I have no extensive science background and didn't study biology in school so have been trying to catch up as an adult. This book has so much detail I would not recommend it as a starter volume on evolution. But if you've read a few other books first or have a background in biology, it's very good. Also good to watch his The Blind Watchmaker videos on YouTube first.
I recommend Dawkins's The Selfish Gene and Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution Is True.
Dawkins is a terrific proponent for the thrill of philosophical scientific enquiry. A romp of a good read!
Gary R. Beddingfield
Not one of my favorites by Richard Dawkins. Followed and understood almost all of the book fairly easy. To me, the book felt like I have heard it before, maybe, because of The Selfish Gene.
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