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The Blind Watchmaker Audiobook

The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design

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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

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  •  
    jack lichtenstein 05-23-17 Member Since 2009

    I like to Listen!!!

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    "Evolutionary fanaticism"

    This was the fourth book I have read recently about evolution. Unfortunately, this was the worst of the lot.
    The second chapter on Bat's radar is the jewel of the book and makes it worth reading. The rest of the book is arrogant proselytizing by Professor Dawkins. There is a chapter on a simulated computer program called evolution that the Prof wrote and the program and the chapter are garbage. It is unfortunate that Professor Dawkins has tunnel vision and does not allow himself to see other options than evolution and natural selection resulting in our current biology. He disregards the notions of chromosomes and the evidence that speciation results in or from chromosomal changes. He throws out saltation and macroevolution as impossible when it is quite likely that each of these processes has a role in evolution. His most egregious sin is that he is a know it all who fails to see how little we actually know about evolution and the process of biologic development. It could be that everything he says will turn out to be incorrect.
    Much better is Stephen Meyer's Darwin Doubt. 9/10 of the book is spent factually debunking evolutionary theory as we know it based on scientific data (Professor Dawkins never bothers with such trivia unless it conveniently fits his preconceived notions). Unfortunately the book invokes Deus ex machina or intelligent design as the underpinnings of natural selection, for no good reason.
    The best of the books were Greg Bear's Darwin's radio and Darwin's children which gives a rational explanation through Saltation. 5% of the human genome consists of endogenous retrovirus. Positting them as programmed agents of genetic change makes a lot of sense and very good listening.
    For complete disclosure I am a trained medical geneticist with great reservations about neo darwinism.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ahmad Al-Hajj 05-19-17
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    "great book"

    I think Richard Dawkins is extremely intelligent and his style is unique. He does not shy away from going through details elaborate analysis or discussions. I learnt a lot from this book. but I think it also needs someone who knows biology and evolution to be able to go through it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    FL-Health-Nut Sunny Florida, USA 03-16-17
    FL-Health-Nut Sunny Florida, USA 03-16-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Excellent!!!"

    Great book that is well worth the time spent. Definitely opens your eyes to the world of evolution

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sreekanth Narayanaswamy 02-27-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Nothing less than brilliant"

    This book is nothing less than an entrance to the magical history of life and its origins.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Reischel Evansville, WI United States 01-18-17
    Steve Reischel Evansville, WI United States 01-18-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Very detailed explanation of evolution"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Maybe. If my friend was having trouble understanding or accepting the theory of evolution, I would recommend the book.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    It was anticlimactic. The book is nonfiction and isn't really a "story" so it doesn't have that sort of climax like a novel would have.


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

    By having the two of them narrate, they are able to do things like have one person explain something and the other person can quote others to make a point. That part worked well. Other than that, it was essentially the two of them trading off the narration. The other part that was fun for me is their accents and pronunciation.


    Was The Blind Watchmaker worth the listening time?

    For me, it was way too long. There were a few points they made along the way that were somewhat of an "ah-hah!" moment for me. But since I already had a pretty solid understanding of evolution by natural selection, the discussions got dragged out far longer than my attention span.


    Any additional comments?

    The book was written 30 years ago, and while the theory of evolution hasn't fundamentally changed in that time, some of the examples used in the book could use an update.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Johan 12-25-16
    Johan 12-25-16 Member Since 2016
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    "interesting but tough read"

    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

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rick Born 08-29-16
    Rick Born 08-29-16
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    "Dawkins Fan"

    I have found this to be one of his best works on driving the concepts of evolution to an understandable level. I enjoy his passion conveyed through his reading to be a pleasure as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Luke 06-20-16
    Luke 06-20-16
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    "a classic and still relevant"

    absolute masterpiece and still quite relevant with the rampant "history deniers" persuading school districts across the country that creationism is a science.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cliffy 06-03-16
    Cliffy 06-03-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Intriguing and easy to understand"

    I found the topic interesting and the examples easy to follow. Having two narrators helped to make the points clear.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hari Somaskanthan Edison, NJ, USA 05-31-16
    Hari Somaskanthan Edison, NJ, USA 05-31-16 Member Since 2017

    CANI

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    "amazing explanation... complex life from simple"

    Amazing explanation on how a complex life form have evolved from simple form... loved it..

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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