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)
If you have read Dawkins lastest works, you might question the point of reading one of his earlier works as I did. But Dawkins is writing in a freer less self critical way,and it makes it fun.
I have a mixed feeling about this.
If you understand the subject yes. I tend to listen at 2x to 3x. This book is diffidently a 2x book.
Incredible number of analogies to explain a simple point. Dare I say arrogant attitude in the narrative. Haven't finished listening, don't know if I will return. I am a biologist, and an evolutionist and still don't understand why some people think God is an instant magician.
Did not finish the book, and may not. The book is not going to enlighten any Creationists, it may bore the h--l out of them.
Extremely dated. Unnecessarily laborious in a-b-c logic. I have read more recent books by Dawkins and thought this would prove entertaining; it wasn't. I am a university professor in a surgical field. Although I personally am an atheist who marvels at those who refer to the "theory of evolution", I make no effort to convert others to my own philosophy of life and man's rather limited and transient role in the universe. Dawkin's dawdled on details of his arguments to the point I forgot what his original argument was. He became more entertaining and mercurial in his later years, but evidently started off slowly. I thought this would give me some historical context of Dawkins but instead gave me a nap.
No further Dawkins or Hitchens. I'm comfortable with my beliefs and don't require further validation.
How could it have been worse?
Maybe a good book on membrane theory?
5 graders may learn something, but anybody older would learn nothing from the book.
The book was 5 grader level. Apparently the author just want to write something to make money.
No way would I purchase another book from this author.
I purchased this book to learn more about evolution. Unfortunately, Dawkins is so busy getting in his own way with his pseudo-intellectualism, and majorly exhaustive definitions that he puts you to sleep. If you are looking for a cure for insomnia or are obsessed with bat sonar this is the book for you. Otherwise...
The performance was fine. It was the material that lacked.
I would cut this thing down to the bone. Assume your audience has a brain and get the point already.
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