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The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins

Thanks to LWS for the link.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/sep/05/richard-dawkins-greatest-show-evolution

If Thomas Henry Huxley was famously "Darwin's bulldog", then Richard Dawkins is probably best described as "Darwin's pit bull". He gets his teeth into an argument, locks on and shakes it until submission is the only option. There's a certain glee when he admits to being "the devil's disciple" or the high priest of "ultradarwinism", and his admission has an undeniably macho swagger about it. Real men (and women) take the toughest line on natural selection. Suffering and pain in nature and humanity are merely there to service the genes. Anything else is "Sentimental, human nonsense. Natural selection is all futile." There is something bracing about belonging to this most astringent and clear-sighted set. Deluded theists! Wishy-washy agnostics! Welcome to the Fight Club. One is reminded of lines by Dawkins's favourite poet, WB Yeats: "Cast a cold eye / On life, on death. / Horseman, pass by."

The greatest story is, of course, the story of evolution. This latest addition to the Dawkins canon is his summary of the vast array of evidence supporting the science. Palaeontology, embryology, anatomy, genetics, artificial breeding and geography are all grist to his evolutionary mill. Dawkins's writing demonstrates once again his consummate skill as an explainer. He never makes assumptions about prior knowledge; when he chooses an analogy it does actually cast light on the thing to be explained (some scientists seem to find this extraordinarily difficult); and occasionally he coins a brilliant phrase. Those who have already climbed Mount Improbable with him or contemplated the blind watchmaker will not be disappointed, even though some of the same ground has been re-ploughed for a new crop.
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http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/sep/05/richard-dawkins-greatest-show-evolution

TAGGED: BOOKS, REVIEWS, RICHARD DAWKINS


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