The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution

The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution

Book rating: 05 Hardback

By (author) Charles Simonyi Chair of Public Understanding of Science Richard Dawkins

List price $30.00

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  • Publisher: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: Hardback | 470 pages
  • Dimensions: 155mm x 236mm x 41mm | 748g
  • Publication date: 3 October 2009
  • Publication City/Country: New York, NY
  • ISBN 10: 1416594787
  • ISBN 13: 9781416594789
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations, colour illustrations, black & white tables
  • Sales rank: 74,020

Product description

Richard Dawkins transformed our view of God in his blockbuster, "The God Delusion, "which sold more than 2 million copies in English alone. He revolutionized the way we see natural selection in the seminal bestseller "The Selfish Gene." Now, he launches a fierce counterattack against proponents of "Intelligent Design" in his latest "New York Times "bestseller, "The Greatest Show on Earth." "Intelligent Design" is being taught in our schools; educators are being asked to "teach the controversy" behind evolutionary theory. There is no controversy. 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--to make 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." His unjaded passion for the natural world turns what might have been a negative argument, exposing the absurdities of the creationist position, into a positive offering to the reader: nothing less than a master's vision of life, in all its splendor.

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Customer reviews

By Roger Manley 25 Nov 2009 5

Dawkins' most recent book richly deserves the description, brilliant. He argues effectively and fervently for the theory of evolution and tackles the creationists (whom he also calls "the history deniers") head on. His arguments are cogently set out and well illustrated with examples. As someone with little scientific trainig I was able to follow his descriptions and explanations readily, sometimes with considerable effort on my part! But this is not a difficult book, demanding in places but also enthralling and lighthearted sometimes.

However, there are just a few niggling points. Dawkins can seldom resist an intriguing diversion, at times these can seem a little self indulgent. There is a little repetition in places but this maybe excused by a determination to ram his point home in the face of ignorance and delusion on the part of creationists. The most disturbing aspect of Dawkins' approach for me is that he is rather over aggressive to the naysayers. It is clear that he believes his opponents are insidious in spreading their mistaken beliefs and frequently he exposes their dishonesty but despite that, for me, the author wields his bludgeon too frequently and rather too hard.

However, I repeat this is a brilliant, instructive and enjoyable book.

Review quote

"Brilliant, detailed, anecdotal and immensely readable . . . Poignant, revealing. Dawkins is canny, funny, and beguiling . . . [He lays] out evidence with such fascinating detail that the book is both scientifically exciting and completely convincing. It's badly needed in this era when the science of evolution is being threatened in our schools." "--San Francisco Chronicle"