The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence for Evolution (Unabridged)
by Richard Dawkins
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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 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.
I wish I had this for a highschool biology text...
A nicely written treatsie, relatively easy to follow if you have a good highschool biology background, but at times the vocabulary can be overwhelming and may require a quick visit online for a definiton. Dawkins does sometimes come down hard on those who would deny facts — and as such it might put off those with a literalist interpretation of certain religious beliefs and mythologies, as he puts it the "history deniers." Well narrated with alternating sections with Dawkin's and Lalla Ward (of Doctor Who fame). I would also recommend Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body, by Neil Shubin (which I thoroughly enjoyed). In a similar vein is Endless Forms Most Beautiful by Sean Carrol, more detailed, but Dawkins writes so pleasingly I'd lean toward Dawkins. I'm looking forward to reading Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution Is True next.
Perhaps the Greatest Book on Earth
Dawkins makes an excellent case for evolution. Although the vocabulary he uses may be difficult to understand at times, it is without a doubt, the Greatest Book on Earth. A definite read for anyone who is interested in the area of biology or any science in general. Towards the person who wrote "Who created the molecules" or whatever, then "Who created the creator of the molecules and what is this creator made of? Is tihs creator immune to regression? If so, why?"
Just the facts.
Evolution is a fact, how things evolve is a theorum. Excellent book.