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  • The Blind Watchmaker

  • Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design
  • By: Richard Dawkins
  • Narrated by: Richard Dawkins, Lalla Ward
  • Length: 14 hrs and 40 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (915 ratings)

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The Blind Watchmaker cover art

The Blind Watchmaker

By: Richard Dawkins
Narrated by: Richard Dawkins, Lalla Ward
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Editor reviews

Richard Dawkins and his wife, actor Lalla Ward, give a highly entertaining read of Dawkins's 1986 critique of creationism, The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design. The audiobook follows an updated edition of the book from 2006 and provides intricate explanations, by way of witty examples, of why random, infinitesimal gene changes over millions of years have produced us and the world we live in. Dawkins's writing contains a self-deprecating, dry sense of humor that comes to life as he reads his best-selling book. Alternating voices between Dawkins and Lalla Ward provides nice listening contrast while also setting apart examples, clarifications, and segments of greater detail. Dawkins and his wife live in a world that is perhaps more scientific on a daily basis than ours so the book takes great care to vary the delivery of information for greater emphasis and easy understanding.

Dawkins's goal in The Blind Watchmaker is to "remove by explaining" any doubt that anything but scientific fact is behind the origin of the universe. Just because something — like human beings or the universe — is complex does not mean that it cannot be explained. Dawkins works hard to help listeners understand the smaller-than-microscopic changes that evolved through staggering amounts of time, changes humans have a hard time intuitively comprehending. To paraphrase the author, do not draw conclusions from your own inability to understand something. The truth of Darwinism comes in its acceptance of physics, probability, and the unending march of time. Dawkins helps listeners out by using examples that are easier to grasp: for example, the evolution from wolves to domesticated dogs. Or how echo location in bats clearly shows the evolution of a trait necessary for survival of a species.

The Blind Watchmaker, read by the author and by Lalla Ward, is an example of an audiobook best listened to while not driving or operating anything requiring devoted attention. Dawkins calls upon us to think about complex concepts that are not necessarily part of daily life. Led by the author, The Blind Watchmkaer is a lively, humorous explanation of the seemingly mystical yet ultimately understandable maze of evolution that is our world. Along the way it is nice to know that a scientist such as Dawkins can, like us, forget to save information on his computer. Re-creation of his data simply leads to another example of probability and complexity that makes, as Dawkins reiterates, the circumstances of any of us being here surprisingly unique, but scientifically not unusual. —Carole Chouinard

Summary

The Blind Watchmaker, knowledgably narrated by author Richard Dawkins, is as prescient and timely a book as ever. The watchmaker belongs to the 18th-century theologian William Paley, who argued that just as a watch is too complicated and functional to have sprung into existence by accident, so too must all living things, with their far greater complexity, be purposefully designed. Charles Darwin's brilliant discovery challenged the creationist arguments; but only Richard Dawkins could have written this elegant riposte. Natural selection - the unconscious, automatic, blind, yet essentially nonrandom process Darwin discovered - is the blind watchmaker in nature.

©1986, 1987, 1996 Richard Dawkins (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

Critic reviews

"As readable and vigorous a defense of Darwinism as has been published since 1859. ( The Economist)
"The best general account of evolution I have read in recent years." (E. O. Wilson, Professor in Entomology, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University)
“Dawkins’s explanation of the evolutionary process continues to be timely and revelatory…This dual reading is an interesting model for a scientific text. It helps to clarify and emphasize points… this is a commendable production, and an excellent primer on how evolution works.” ( AudoFile)

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What listeners say about The Blind Watchmaker

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Dry but good overview of evolution

This is a very dry, slow and methodological overview of evolution. It takes its time to make its points, and it does so convincingly, but it isn't a fast and fun book. Neither does it have to be, if you have a bit of patience.

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3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Insightful

Dawkins does a great job of explaining the process of cumulative natural selection is the process that gave us everything in nature. Dawkins has a wry humour which I think only adds to the quality of his work. Excellently narrated by the author and Ms Ward.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Superb

Superb work from Dawkins. Layered, detailed, measured and scientific, yet accessible to the non-scientist's ear.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

brilliant

This was an outstanding book
He conveys concepts that I wouldn't have the words to express myself.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Complex life on earth - the how and why.

Dawkins' follow up to the selfish gene. Expanding on how darwinism is the only possibility.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Hard work in places but not THAT bad…

This book was recommended to me as the best there is for the explanation of evolution and so I thought I would give it a go.
I expected it to be far harder going than it is – there were few places that I had to go over twice, but generally, extremely complex theories are brilliantly explained in almost layman’s terms.

Highly, highly recommended and well worth the effort

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Darwinian Evolution as a religion

What made the experience of listening to The Blind Watchmaker the most enjoyable?

The narration by the author and Lalla Ward makes for a good combination.
The chapters are mostly interesting - with a few over the top explanations.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Darwin - because he is right - only he is right - all the rest are wrong - according to Dawkins - Darwin's prophet.

What about Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward ’s performance did you like?

The split in reading the material.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, it requires digestion time - to comprehend the ideas presented.

Any additional comments?

While I am convinced by most arguments in the book, the zealous following of Darwin - and rebuttal of all other evolutionary views smacks a bit like religion - my god is the only god!.

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8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Sometimes off topic

I wish Dawkins didn't get so wrapped up in his refutation of various other theories of evolution and stayed more on the topic of evolution by natural selection, but having said that I found this book very instructive and interesting.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Ever evolving evolution

Love the alternating narration by Richard Dawkins and his wife Lalla Ward.

Lots to ponder over.

Fascinated by the intermediaries as a species changed, Suppose they all survived and we could see each tiny step of evolution.

Personally I really like Richard Dawkins work, having read The selfish gene, and The god delusion.

However if I met him, I would probably think he was a bit pompous.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Highly educational with flaws

Very interesting and informative and well worth a second and perhaps third read in due course.

The criticism of other scientists and their opinions was a tad childish and arrogant, but is not uncommon in this area of science. It is a pity we as a species have not evolved beyond the possibility that whilst other views may be considered viable, the whole application of diverse views offers much to the mixing pot and should be welcomed. A lot of what we know now is based on individual interpretation of science as the research in the field of Darwin, natural selection and associated fields of research. The power, status and influence of historical scholars has greatly influenced our views as there were few the challenge their interpretations and findings, but if considered against today's social media input, would their voice have the same impact?

I'm keen to read Richard's other books and have put them on my wish list, though will retain a open mind - not hemed in by individual opinions.

A fascinating subject which held my attention throughout my long daily drives to and from work.

Thoroughly recommended.

Thank you.

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