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The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution | [Richard Dawkins]

The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution

The Greatest Show on Earth is a stunning counterattack on advocates of "Intelligent Design," explaining the evidence for evolution while exposing the absurdities of the creationist "argument". Dawkins sifts through rich layers of scientific evidence: from living examples of natural selection to clues in the fossil record; from natural clocks that mark the vast epochs wherein evolution ran its course to the intricacies of developing embryos; from plate tectonics to molecular genetics.
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Publisher's Summary

In 2008, a Gallup poll showed that 44 percent of Americans believed God had created man in his present form within the last 10,000 years. In a Pew Forum poll in the same year, 42 percent believed that all life on earth has existed in its present form since the beginning of time.

In 1859 Charles Darwin's masterpiece, On the Origin of Species, shook society to its core. Darwin was only too aware of the storm his theory of evolution would provoke. But he surely would have raised an incredulous eyebrow at the controversy still raging a century and a half later.

Evolution is accepted as scientific fact by all reputable scientists and indeed theologians, yet millions of people continue to question its veracity. Now the author of the iconic work The God Delusion takes them to task.

The Greatest Show on Earth is a stunning counterattack on advocates of "Intelligent Design", explaining the evidence for evolution while exposing the absurdities of the creationist "argument". Dawkins sifts through rich layers of scientific evidence: from living examples of natural selection to clues in the fossil record; from plate tectonics to molecular genetics. Combining these elements and many more, he makes the airtight case that "we find ourselves perched on one tiny twig in the midst of a blossoming and flourishing tree of life and it is no accident, but the direct consequence of evolution by non-random selection."

The Greatest Show on Earth comes at a critical time: systematic opposition to the fact of evolution is menacing as never before. In American schools, and in schools around the world, insidious attempts are made to undermine the status of science in the classroom. Dawkins wields a devastating argument against this ignorance, but his unjaded passion for the natural world turns what might have been a negative argument into a positive offering to the reader: nothing less than a master's vision of life, in all its splendor.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2009 Richard Dawkins; (P)2009 Simon & Schuster

What the Critics Say

"If Charles Darwin walked into a 21st-century bookstore and wanted to know how his theory had fared, this is the book he should pick up. Dawkins remains a superb translator of complex scientific concepts....he has a way of making the drollest details feel like a revelation." (Publishers Weekly)

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  •  
    Uriah United States 02-25-11
    Uriah United States 02-25-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Fantastic examination of the evidence"

    As a biology teacher in rural America i am always encountering resistance to the theory of Natural Selection. Mr. Dawkins does a fantastic job stating the evidence in a clear way. His introduction on the general misconceptions of theory in science and the colloquial is an excellent way to open any debate over the theory of natural selection.
    Dawkins does have a bit of a snide tone towards the non believers, but to his credit it does not detract from his narrative and who can blame him. These "history deniers" as he terms them are like ostriches with their heads in the sand and refuse to objectively and honestly examine the plethora of evidence that has been collected in favor of natural selection and macro-evolution.
    I cannot wait until I can incorporate Dawkins lessons into my lessons on evolution. This is a must read for anyone who finds themselves in debates over this topic. Arm you self with knowledge

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel United States 06-24-10
    Daniel United States 06-24-10 Member Since 2010
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    "An interesing read."

    While I found the information in this book quite interesting, the writing style does not spark imagination as well as some other science writers, such as Hawking. In fact, the first part of the book was not great. The second half, however was really interesting. I mean, really interesting. I won't leak what each section is about, so as not to spoil this book for those who purchase. But for me, I give the first half 3 stars and the second half 5 stars. Overall, a good purchase.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frederick C. Caruso Centennial, Colorado, US 03-02-10
    Frederick C. Caruso Centennial, Colorado, US 03-02-10 Member Since 2013
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    "A refreshing look at reality."

    The more I see of science, the more facinated I become. Dawkins has produced fantasict philosphical writing. This scientific writing is even more so.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rochelle Mattoon, IL, United States 11-27-09
    Rochelle Mattoon, IL, United States 11-27-09 Member Since 2010
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    "Fabulous read; easy to understand."

    This one is a winner! I have read several of Dawkins' books before, but listening to his voice (and the other reader, too) really helped me understand the ideas and examples he presented. We have done a poor job educating our student population on Evolution. This book explains everything in such simple and understandable detail! A must read for an educated person!

    11 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura 11-15-09
    Laura 11-15-09
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    "Excellent read"

    Very accessible, I recommend this for anyone wanting to help move someone along to the path of science and all it has to offer.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven San Francisco, CA, USA 10-28-09
    Steven San Francisco, CA, USA 10-28-09 Member Since 2012
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    "Interesting book and excellent readers"

    Dawkins lays out clearly and concisely the science behind evolution. Not only is the book interesting, Dawkins and his wife are also great readers as well. Excellent all-round.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary Las Cruces, NM, United States 05-27-12
    Gary Las Cruces, NM, United States 05-27-12 Member Since 2014

    Letting the rest of the world go by

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Spirtual book"

    The more I learn about the development of life and humans on earth the more spiritual I become because the more special it makes me feel. For all the events to have happened to have put us here after a 100 million centuries and to have awoken up in this special time and place it makes me feel blessed. Dawkins explains these probable events and processes better than anyone. Understanding the path that life had to take to bring us here makes me feel special. Usually, I don't like it when an author reads his own works but I like it when Dawkins does. I listen to all of Dawkins' books and he doesn't repeat his analogies in his explanations and manages to come up with new and better analogies and explanations. (I would recommend listening to "The Selfish Gene" before this one only because both books are so good that you'll end up listening to both and you might as well read them in that more logical order).

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shan Durango, CO, USA 12-22-09
    Shan Durango, CO, USA 12-22-09
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    "Brilliant."

    Dawkins is unmatched as a narrator of the amazing world we inhabit. Although he suffers no fools, and is a bit single minded about religion, that is a tiny part of an otherwise excellent journey through the building blocks of our species, and life in general.
    Hung's review, below, is not factual. Dawkins goes to considerable length to discus how fast evolution can occur, even including an entire chapter called "Before our very eyes," dedicated to examples of evolution in real time.
    That Hung seems not to know this makes me suspect him of being a troll trying to sabotage sales of this book, which is, of course, the very best possible reason for you to buy it immediately.

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eugene S. 11-26-09
    Eugene S. 11-26-09 Member Since 2013
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    "Excellent introduction to evolution"

    Dawkins always impressed me with his logic, clarity of thought, and simple, understandable presentation. This book is par for the course. Excellent introduction to evolution for those who don't have much background in biology but genuinely want to learn.

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
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    Tyler Red Deer, AB, Canada 04-02-12
    Tyler Red Deer, AB, Canada 04-02-12 Member Since 2015

    I've been a member here for a few years now. Nothing will ever replace printed books for me, but I do enjoy lots of things Audible has!

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    "This is it!!"

    This book is the modern work of our time concerning evolutionary biology. Richard Dawkins does an amazingly thorough job describing the processes of Evolution via Natural Selection. Dawkins leaves no part, no matter how simple out of the book; leaving absolutely no loopholes in which intelligent design theorists can criticize its accuracy.

    There are dry points in this book, but the transfer between readers provides a balance for that. It is appropriately lengthened and is extremely well informative. I loved the book, and learned a lot in the progress!

    I have listened to it only once, but it definitely won't be the last; nor will it be the last I will be reading of Dawkins work.

    It is important to set aside your personal biases, and have an open mind, while not using the word belief, but looking only at the facts.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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