The Greatest Show on Earth

The Greatest Show on Earth : The Evidence for Evolution

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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 natural clocks that mark the vast epochs wherein evolution ran its course to the intricacies of developing embryos; 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.
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Product details

  • CD-Audio
  • 127 x 149.86 x 43.18mm | 952.54g
  • Riverside, United States
  • English
  • Unabridged
  • Unabridged
  • 0743579275
  • 9780743579278
  • 1,099,034

Review quote

"'...he is an awesome thinker, a superb writer whose explanatory skills I envy, who dismisses his opponents with the thoroughness of a top silk'....A beautifully crafted and intelligible rebuttal of creationism and intelligent design." -- "The Times" "This is the book Richard Dawkins needed to write and many need to read -- a comprehensive account of evolution that faces the difficulties and questions his critics have raised. In it he draws on his great ability to write about science in a way that is clear, absorbing, and vivid." -- Lord Harries of Pentregarth (formerly Bishop Richard Harries) "To call this book a defense of evolution utterly misses the point: "The Greatest Show on Earth" is a celebration of one of the best ideas humans have ever produced. It is hard not to marvel at Richard Dawkins's luminous telling of the story of evolution and the way that it has shaped our world. In reading Dawkins, one is left awed at the beauty of the theory and humbled by the power of science to understand some of the greatest mysteries of life." -- Neil Shubin, author of "Your Inner Fish" "'There is grandeur in this view of life, ' said Darwin, speaking of evolution. There is no one better qualified to convey this grandeur than his worthy successor, Richard Dawkins, who writes with passion, clarity, and wit. This may be his best book yet." -- V. S. Ramachandran "This is a magnificent book of wonderstanding: Richard Dawkins combines an artist's wonder at the virtuosity of nature with a scientist's understanding of how it comes to be.'' -- Matt Ridley, author of "Nature via Nurture" "Up until now, Richard Dawkins has said everything interesting that there is to say about evolution -- with one exception. In "The Greatest Show on Earth", he fills this gap, brilliantly describing the multifarious and massive evidence for evolution -- evidence that gives the lie to the notion that evolution is 'only a theory.' This important and timely book is a must-read for Darwin Year." -- Jerry Coyne, author of "Why Evolution Is True" "Dawkins gathers up the weight of evidence into a huge lump and hurls it at us from the highest heights his rhetoric can scale...his grandness of vision still dazzles." -- "The Sunday Telegraph" "With characteristic flair and passion, Dawkins has put on a stunning exhibition of the evidence for evolution. In his own words, 'Evolution is a fact...and no unbiased reader will close the book doubting it.'" -- Dr. Alice Roberts, biological anthropologist, author, and broadcaster "Unambiguous, beautifully argued, with prose like quicksilver. Entertaining. Dawkins emerges like a prize-fighter, knocking out of the ring all objections." "--Nature" "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"
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Flap copy

With this tremendous follow-up to his blockbuster The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins takes advocates of intelligent design by the scruff of the neck and unfolds the evidence for evolution with characteristic panache. In a world in which Creationism is being taught in schools and educators are being asked to "teach the controversy" behind evolution, a delightfully exasperated Dawkins has decided to explain how it all really works. In visceral, crystalline prose, Dawkins sets up each creatonist objection to evolution and takes it to task, bit by bit destroying the idea that the natural world needed an intelligent designer. But this is more than an argument. This is a thrilling tour into our distant past and into the interstices of all life on earth. Taking listeners through the case for evolution step-by-step, Dawkins looks at DNA (Fingerprints, Footprints, and Bloodstains), selective breeding (Wolf Pygmalion) anatomical similarity (The Kindred Garden and the Tree of Ancestry), molecular family trees (Molecular Minuet) geography (The Ark of the Continents), fossils (No rabbits in the Pre-Cambrian) vestiges and imperfections (Past Imperfect), a catchall q&a (The Handy Dandy Creation Refuter), the stages of human evolution (Portraits of Grancestors), and the formula for a strong scientific theorytearing down the Intelligent Design theory in the process. This will be the last word in the evolution debate, and it will add God Delusion fans to the already science-hungry audience who bought the latest Steven Pinker or devoured Bill Bryson's The History of Nearly Everything. The God Delusion stimulated, even set the terms of, one of the world's most vigorous public debates: the question of God's existence. The Greatest Show on Earth will provide listeners with the tools to join this vital debate effectively. And Dawkins' infectious passion for the world's beauty will convert all but the most doctrinaire creationists.
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Rating details

37,757 ratings
4.16 out of 5 stars
5 43% (16,401)
4 37% (14,060)
3 14% (5,245)
2 3% (1,142)
1 2% (909)
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