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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

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (1056 )
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Performance
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  •  
    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 02-06-14
    mamodeo 02-06-14

    remember books on paper?

    ratings
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    13
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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 02-06-14 Member Since 2013
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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
  •  
    Russell Arlington, Texas USA 03-10-13
    Russell Arlington, Texas USA 03-10-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Open your mind and think!"
    What does Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Having the actual author read is moving.


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

    No ! I can't mentally keep up and had to work through in smaller chunks.


    Any additional comments?

    I had a poor understanding of evolution, this has help me understand.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Auckland, New Zealand 01-08-13
    Amazon Customer Auckland, New Zealand 01-08-13 Member Since 2011

    showercomb

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    "A superb book, brilliant narration"
    Where does The Blind Watchmaker rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This book is definitely among my favorites to listen to, ever. I have listened to it at least three times through now and it delivers something new every time. It is very well written in Richard Dawkins' distinctive style - smart, humorous, thoughtful and engaging. I can imagine Dawkins to be a superb teacher who makes his students fall in love with the subject.The narration is amazing. The best out of all the books I have ever listened to. In fact all of Dawkins' books are a true pleasure to listen - he is very passionate about his subject and knows it inside and out. Sometimes i listen to one of his books (I have bought every single one of them and they are all fantastically narrated) just because it is such a pleasure to listen to him and Lalla Ward perform it.


    What does Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The story comes to life when narrated by Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward. I have read all of Dawkins' books and they are brilliant, but I definitely prefer to listen to him narrate, so I have bought and listened to all of the available audio versions as well. Ever since getting an audio version of a book i never went back to the paper version. That is probably because the books are written in a conversational style (which makes them so lovely to read) so to listen to an actual conversation is real fun.


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

    Definitely yes, it didn't take me long to finish - and start again - it kept me up some nights


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Natasha 12-12-12
    Natasha 12-12-12 Member Since 2013

    Proudly African!

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    "Repetitive Story & Fragmented Preformance"
    Would you try another book from Richard Dawkins and/or Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward ?

    Maybe Richard Dawkins but not Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward


    Has The Blind Watchmaker turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No


    What didn’t you like about Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward ’s performance?

    The story does not flow. There is poor timing regarding the inputs from Lalla Ward. The changes between the two are abrupt. A different combination of readers may have been better. The two voices and expressions do not compliment each other. It is just not the right combination.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    It is a good topic and there are good points put forward but extremely repetitive. Maybe it is for people who understand less about the topic. It comes across as the author is being condescending or making things oversimplified. It appears as though the author is belittling the readers' intelligence/intellect.


    Any additional comments?

    Suggestions on higher order books in this genre?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bede 07-30-12
    Bede 07-30-12
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    "Good book on evolution"
    Where does The Blind Watchmaker rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Near the top


    What did you like best about this story?

    (Not a story) A non fiction piece that was easy to listen to, and an excellent explanation of evolution,


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Schallitz Livermore, CA USA 08-19-11
    K. Schallitz Livermore, CA USA 08-19-11 Listener Since 2009
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    "Not as impressive as some of Dawkins' other works"

    I've listened to a few books by Dawkins and feel that this is the weakest of them so far. I particularly enjoyed the Selfish Gene, however I didn't really learn anything "new" in this book and found it to drag on. I started listening at 2x speed just to get through it. Nonetheless, there were a few points where I stopped, slowed down and listened intently and very much enjoyed those segments. There just were not enough of them for me to give the book more than a two star rating. Others may well enjoy the book, especially if they have not read any other works by Dawkins.

    8 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    08-03-11
    08-03-11 Member Since 2006
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    "Yackity yack"

    The basic information is fine, but the author spends at least 50% of the time on distractions, tangents, superfluous information, and digressions.

    14 of 31 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark WESTPORT, WA, United States 12-03-11
    Mark WESTPORT, WA, United States 12-03-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Stands the Test of Time."
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Blind Watchmaker to be better than the print version?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Natural Selection.


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

    I have a mixed feeling about this.


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

    If you understand the subject yes. I tend to listen at 2x to 3x. This book is diffidently a 2x book.


    2 of 5 people found this review helpful

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