The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution

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9781416594789: The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution
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Richard Dawkins transformed our view of God in his blockbuster, The God Delusion, which sold more than 2 million copies in English alone. He revolutionized the way we see natural selection in the seminal bestseller The Selfish Gene. Now, he launches a fierce counterattack against proponents of "Intelligent Design" in his latest New York Times bestseller, The Greatest Show on Earth. "Intelligent Design" is being taught in our schools; educators are being asked to "teach the controversy" behind evolutionary theory. There is no controversy. 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—to make 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." His unjaded passion for the natural world turns what might have been a negative argument, exposing the absurdities of the creationist position, into a positive offering to the reader: nothing less than a master’s vision of life, in all its splendor.

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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.

About the Author:

Richard Dawkins is a Fellow of the Royal Society and was the inaugural holder of the Charles Simonyi Chair of Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. He is the acclaimed author of many books including The Selfish Gene, Climbing Mount Improbable, Unweaving the Rainbow, The Ancestor’s Tale, The God Delusion, and The Greatest Show on Earth. Visit him at RichardDawkins.net.

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