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← Richard Dawkins' watchmaker still has the power to open our eyes

SaintStephen's Avatar Jump to comment 28 by SaintStephen

In the Norton paperback edition of Richard's masterpiece, (my favorite of his books, with The Ancestor's Tale a close second, and The Blind Watchmaker in third place), at the top of Page 8 in Figure 1.3c is an absolutely mind-jarring illustration of a termite-mimicking beetle that will stay forever etched in my mind. I will remember the moment always, because it demonstrated to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was living on a world I didn't really know anything about. An alien world, in which humans were only one more evolved feature.

The strange feeling of incapacitated awe that it inspired in me over a year ago, as I sat there at Harry's Hofbrau with a forkful of mashed potatoes dropping from my open mouth, was something I'd never felt before. I realized the master had taken off his gloves, and had decided to gain my undivided attention with perhaps the single most interesting fact that I'd ever read -- about anything. "The answer can be seen in Figure 1.3c, which is one of the most astonishing spectacles in all natural history," says Professor Dawkins, "And now that I have you, let's climb this mountain together." (My words.)

IMO Climbing Mount Improbable is easily the most "beautiful" of Richard's works. The illustrations succeed wildly, in embellishing the always brilliant writing.

Truly magnificent. I hope my nephews Daniel and Michael both read it, and can enjoy it as much as I did. I sincerely hope it changes them as people.

Sat, 01 May 2010 12:44:00 UTC | #464537