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)
like all books by Richard Dawkins, this one is very interesting and explains the subject in easy to understand terms. no way i would have finished the paper version, so i'm glad this title is available on Audible
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..
"Read the Selfish Gene instead"
The Blind Watchmaker is an interesting listen. As with the Selfish Gene, the duo of Dawkins and Lalla Ward makes for excellent narration. It covers a great deal of interesting material, and if you haven't listened to the Selfish Gene, I recommend it.
The premise of the book is a rebuttal of the Watchmaker argument for an intelligent designer. The theory of evolution itself is an excellent rebuttal of most of this argument, so I was hoping this book might concentrate on the principal weakness of arguments for life without design: the origin of life. Instead, this is covered in a part of one chapter, and in no great depth. I was left disappointed.
The Selfish Gene is an excellent introduction to evolution, and mostly covers the same topics as Blind Watchmaker. The Blind Watchmaker has more examples, but they're really going over much the same ground.
"Sparkling with life!"
This is a wonderful audiobook, literary full of wonder at the ingenuity of nature. It brought back memories for me as a student of being similarly stunned reading "The Selfish Gene". Early on in this book, Dawkins declares that he prefers the miraculous wonderment of William Paley, to the atheist who cannot see that anything needs explanation about the origins of complex life.
Yet, in "The Blind Watchmaker", he makes the case with brilliant clarity, that the process that has given rise to the creative diversity and seeming design in nature is as much a physical nonrandom process as the sifting of pebbles from sand on a beach. This book explains the principles of Evolution with sparkling clarity.
The audiobook version is read alternately by Richard Dawkins and his wife, Lalla Ward, and initially I found this change odd. However, within a chapter, I came to enjoy the conterpoint of male and female reading voices. It was kind of soothing, and a great innovation. I look forward to other audiobooks being read in this way.. One effect of this was a feeling of familiarity with the author. I came to admire his quest for the Truth, and his contempt for those who would fudge the difficult questions and the evidence to preserve their old beliefs.
And so, there is the unavoidable "G" question. Paley's God is clearly shown by Dawkins to be as redundant to the process of evolution, as to the apparent motions of the planets. Yet, given (possibly) infinite universes, with N dimensions of space and time, one might speculate on the evolution of some transcendent intelligence pulling on our strings in the present!
Perhaps Paley's God too can still be glimpsed in the elegance and power of the principles of evolution itself? But then, as Darwin saw in the ichneumon wasp, there is then the problem of theodicy. After listening to this book, I was left with a vivid impression both of the sheer creative intelligence of Nature, and the cost in pain and death of previous generations.
"Slow start (if you listened to the selfish gene)"
I got this audio book after having listened to Dawkins' Selfish Gene. Admittedly I like the way him and Ward read his books, however in the beginning I thought that many of his arguments were already made in the Selfish Gene and only some more examples or different explanations are given. I kept listening though and after a while it started exceeding the spectrum of the Selfish Gene and became very interesting again. I guess that the early repetition of many of the Selfish Gene's arguments are necessary to make this a self-contained book, given that the aim of this book overlaps with the aim of the Selfish Gene.
Much like the Selfish Gene, the Blind Watchmaker is very elaborate in the argumentation and gives many examples and explanations. Dawkins and Ward do a fantastic job at making this a very enjoyable 16 (or so) hours. The book is very comprehensible and all concepts that are not completely intuitive are very well explained.
"Dry but good overview of evolution"
This is a very dry, slow and methodological overview of evolution. It takes its time to make its points, and it does so convincingly, but it isn't a fast and fun book. Neither does it have to be, if you have a bit of patience.
"Makes you think"
Some arguments but that is rather a silly thing, as I am not the author, and do not have the privilege to do so. So I would leave it and both enjoy to agree and disagree.
The general picture, in which arguments are presented.
Firstly, the author's voice gives the correct connotations, which you might skip, miss or change in your own personal reading. Secondly, they have good reading voices that brings the book to a level, where you do not feel like falling asleep, which I find to be the strive of any good reader.
No, but a documentary/debate program, though I find that there is a lot of these things around.
Even though I do not agree with all arguments I, as an Atheist, found it very useful and good for both mind and relaxation.
"Intelligent design my rear!"
Yet another compelling presentation by Dawkins,The Blind Watchmaker tackles the idea, perhaps most prominently promoted by Creationists, that intelligent design has informed how humans gained much of the form with which we are all so familiar. As ever Dawkins rubbishes his detractors with his practiced aplomb, demanding that they recognise the obvious truth behind his theories, or admit that they just don't believe in a scientific approach to answering questions about human development.
Perhaps the most popular organ for those espousing the intelligent design hypothesis, the eye, is singled out by Dawkins for treatment, treatment that could leave few listeners with the impression that his thesis lacks substance.
As with his other titles, the narration by both himself and Lalla Ward is competently performed and easy to listen to. The fact that Dawkins gets so exercised about certain topics comes through in the narration, and is actually a bit of a bonus, especially if you are used to rather flat readers presenting scientific topics.
A good book. Buy it after The Selfish Gene.
"The near master"
Only Darwin himself beats Dawkins.
Dose go deep into evolution more so then any other.
Did take a while to finish.
And as always, Dawkins and wife are Crystal clear
"Very interesting book"
The material is very in and is beyond what I learned at school, have learned a lot even though I'm not a fan of biology I found this fascinating
"Darwinian Evolution as a religion"
The narration by the author and Lalla Ward makes for a good combination.
The chapters are mostly interesting - with a few over the top explanations.
Darwin - because he is right - only he is right - all the rest are wrong - according to Dawkins - Darwin's prophet.
The split in reading the material.
No, it requires digestion time - to comprehend the ideas presented.
While I am convinced by most arguments in the book, the zealous following of Darwin - and rebuttal of all other evolutionary views smacks a bit like religion - my god is the only god!.
"Another fantastic Dawkins book"
Great book, great narration. Richard Dawkins is such a brilliant writer and this book is definitely one of his best.
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