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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)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Steve Wynnewood, PA, United States 09-20-14
    Steve Wynnewood, PA, United States 09-20-14 Member Since 2014

    I rate as follows: 5-Best of the best, 4-LOVED it, 3-LIKED it, 2-Meh, 1-Didn't like it. Fav genres: sci-fi/fantasy, fiction, science

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    "Super Fascinating!"

    Even though I am a scientist (though not a biologist), I must admit that I had only a basic understanding of evolution before listening to this book. Not only do I now know the varied and mutually reinforcing evidence for evolution, but I have gained a much greater appreciation of the elegance and beauty of evolution. This book was an absolute joy to listen to, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to have their mind blown by learning about the astonishing miracle of life which we largely take for granted.

    My only complaint is that Richard Dawkins has such a great voice, I don't understand why there is a second narrator. It seems like sometimes they switch at points where there might be something like a sidebar in the text (just guessing), but otherwise it seems like they just alternate passages for no particular reason. Laila Ward also has a nice voice, and does a very good job, but I, for one, would have preferred to have Dawkins narrate the whole thing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert 08-01-14
    Robert 08-01-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Very in-depth and very insightful"

    This book is a must for anyone who wants to know more about evolution. Really, it should be a required text for anyone interested in science at all. Dawkins work is extensive and every point he makes is new and fresh. The book features several examples and boatloads of real, easy to understand evidence. It will be hard for just about anyone to read this book and doubt evolution ever again. It was a fantastic and eye-opening book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C Cary, NC, United States 05-12-14
    C Cary, NC, United States 05-12-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Explanative for so much"
    Where does The Greatest Show on Earth rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I was unpleasantly shocked to hear the statistics of my fellow humans being so ignorant to reject natural selection, in that was the largest argument that it exists. I am quite serious.

    But a wonderful informative fact packed and postulating book. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your experiences. It must be fun to just use your mind and be surrounded by many interesting thoughts. Wonderful thanks again.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Clancy Durham, NC 12-09-13
    David Clancy Durham, NC 12-09-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Truly Awesome Read"
    Where does The Greatest Show on Earth rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Dawkins shines here on this topic and his knowledge of evolution is truly vast. These aren't just old arguments and evidence that you've heard a thousand times over. This book contains mountains of evidence, some of which was only discovered in the publication year.


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

    Having Dawkins read his own work, in my opinion, brings a lot to this book. He knows where to place the emphases and how to make everything flow. His wit clearly comes through and it really is entertaining to listen to.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Caleb 06-18-13
    Caleb 06-18-13 Member Since 2014
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    "Sound is a bit tinny"
    If you could sum up The Greatest Show on Earth in three words, what would they be?

    A must read/listen!


    What did you like best about this story?

    Accuracy and the subjective look at evolution and the misinformed modern arguments against it.


    Which character – as performed by Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward – was your favorite?

    Richard Dawkins


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Laugh a bit, and I didn't expect such a strong support from clergy for the theory of evolution.


    Any additional comments?

    Sound was a bit tinny and washed out, but that's my only complaint.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer College Station 05-07-13
    Amazon Customer College Station 05-07-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Facts about the "fact" of evolution."
    What made the experience of listening to The Greatest Show on Earth the most enjoyable?

    This book taught me all the facts and evidence about evolution and provides plenty of ammunition to combat the arguments from young earth creationists.


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

    I have read as well as listened to The God Delusion. The God Delusion puts forth evidence why God most likely doesn't exist but assumes the truth of evolution from the beginning without providing any evidence for it. The Greatest Show On Earth focuses on this and does an excellent job of it.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wendy Roanoke, VA, United States 03-08-13
    Wendy Roanoke, VA, United States 03-08-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Should be mandatory high school reading!"

    Spectacular! I had so many "ah ha" moments during this book as fairly difficult to understand subjects were explained to me with such eloquence and simplicity by Richard Dawkins that I could scarcely understand why my teachers in high school didn't tell me these things. This book really should be required reading for every high school student in the U.S. Loved it, absolute loved it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Amazon Customer 02-15-13 Member Since 2015
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    "a masterpeice"
    Where does The Greatest Show on Earth rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I'm extremely picky about which audio books I download so they are all really good or I return them. This one stands apart. I could easily rank it in my top 5


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Greatest Show on Earth?

    Richard Lenski's experiment


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

    The timbre of his voice and the refinement of the performance is "like wiping your ass with silk"


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Amazon Customer Pleasant Hill, TN 10-29-12
    Amazon Customer Pleasant Hill, TN 10-29-12
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    "Fascinating Exposition"
    What did you love best about The Greatest Show on Earth?

    The degree of detail present in the narration was most interesting. This is one worth several listens due to the number of items worth remembering for future reference. I especially enjoyed hearing Dawkins and Ward doing the reading.


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

    I have not heard any of their other performances, but their involvement would clearly influence me in favor of future purchases.


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

    I wanted to hear it all at once, but it was too long for me to do so. Fortunately I finally had a long period of driving that enabled me to have more continuity. I did miss seeing the illustrations, but that is what happens with an audio book!


    Any additional comments?

    I am glad I added this one to my collection.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jams New York, NY United States 08-17-12
    Jams New York, NY United States 08-17-12 Member Since 2005

    Prole

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    "Excellent Description of the Evidence"
    Would you listen to The Greatest Show on Earth again? Why?

    If you don't understand evolution then this explains in both great detail and at the same time simply how it works. There are so many that just deny what is in front of their eyes and replace it by various fairy stories. Remember even the Vatican accepts evolution!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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