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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

Description

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.

Critiques

"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)

Ce que les membres d'Audible en pensent

Notations

Global

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Il n'y a pas encore de critique disponible pour ce titre.
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  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Eric
  • 15/01/2012

Challenging textbook more than an enjoyable listen

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This is the type of book I'd recommend to someone who is struggling to understand how evolution works. For example, friends who are religious ONLY because they can't believe that evolution could create humans. However, it's not a book to casually enjoy.

Would you be willing to try another book from Richard Dawkins? Why or why not?

Yes. Dawkins has an incredibly indepth understanding of biology, genetics, evolution, etc. I learned vast amounts from this book, even though it was something of a struggle to get through. I especially appreciated Dawkins' narration - he's clearly excited about the material, and has a very pleasing voice. He would be an excellent person to hear a lecture from. Lalla Ward is similarly well spoken.

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

Hell no. It was exhausting in some places, and I needed to increase the narration speed to 1.25x just to finish it. This is not an easy book.

Any additional comments?

I got exactly what I wanted out of reading this book. I learned how evolution works, and I learned how we came to exist without the existence of any particular deity. Though this isn't a specifically atheist book, its purpose is to explain life without intelligent design. And it succeeds at this thoroughly.

25 sur 27 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Darwin8u
  • 17/04/2012

Not NEARLY as polemical as I expected it to be.

Not nearly as polemical as I expected it to be. A good solid piece of science writing on, and defense of, Darwinian evolution. The audiobook shows how back and forth reading between Dawkins and Ward worked (and probably made production time minimal).

16 sur 18 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Ken
  • 20/08/2012

A Book for Specialists

Blind Watchmaker was read by the author and his spouse—wonderful readers both. The book appealed to me because I had enjoyed The God Delusion and hoped for a similarly enjoyable and educational experience. I had also read The Selfish Gene, which seemed to me harder to read than Delusion. Watchmaker turned out to more like Selfish than Delusion. All good books, but if you don’t come to Watchmaker and Selfish with a burning desire to understand Darwin, you may, by the end of your reading, grow numb, as I did, with the details.

By way of pointing out the elements I found most enjoyable in Watchmaker:

1) The author’s reasoning skills are impressive. He has thought and researched deeply about every subject presented. Dawkins plainly announces that he means to convince his reader that Darwinian evolution presents the only rational explanation of the world’s complexity. Dawkins is anything but dispassionate.
2) Dawkins often presents a view of things that seems to me non-intuitive, yet correct. A brief example: He states that cheetahs are the enemies of gazelles and that gazelles are the enemies of cheetahs. My reaction is, No they’re not. Gazelles don’t hunt cheetahs! Dawkins goes on to say that, from the point of view of the cheetah, if the gazelle can out run the cheetah, the cheetah starves to death. The success of the gazelle, therefore, brings about the extinction of the cheetah, which is the cheetah’s definition of “enemy.” Another: Are cows the enemy of grass? Well, yes, I suppose. In fact, no. Grass has a more formidable enemy than cows—weeds are that enemy. Cows eat grass, but also eat weeds. Voila. I hadn’t thought of that. And on and on.
3 The description of a bat’s ability to hunt and navigate is worth the price of the book. And then Dawkins postulates humans from the bat’s point of view. Almost laugh-out-loud funny.

I read Delusion when it was first published in 2008—the first of his books I had read. Perhaps it too had its more detailed elements, now not recalled, elements that I might have found tiresome—not that the fault was with Dawkins, but rather with a reader, not so interested in the details as he might or should be.

So, a very good book, although not one to be enjoyed in its entirety with a merely passing interest in evolution.

9 sur 10 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • aaron
  • 09/01/2012

Great Dawkins book for a college grad

Start the kids out with a Dawkins book that's a little easier to digest, like "Greatest Show on Earth" or "Magic of Reality". Since I believe that EVERY human being should read Dawkins' work, I think it's only fair that I classify WHO should read this one. If you're a logical adult, with a decent education, then this is a must have for your library.

If you are not familiar with Dawkins, then I cannot be clear enough about whether or not you should read this book. IF you are interested in Evolution AT ALL....even a little tiny bit...then READ THIS BOOK! It is the bible of evolution!

18 sur 21 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Mario
  • 05/09/2014

Too long

It is such a long book for the same information: evolution. It must be a great book for biologists as it gives rich examples of how evolution works and why. But it was not what I was looking for, unfortunately.

3 sur 3 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ian C Robertson
  • 16/02/2012

Science Faction

Until relatively recently (the last decade, say) I thought that the only entertaining science was Science Fiction. Dawkins proved to me (yet again) that the best of fact is so much better than most of fiction. Of course, like any argument, one doesn't have to accept the conclusion to recognise a good argument. That I do accept the conclusion probably helped me enjoy this work, but I could have been the Bishop of Birmingham and, I hope, still have recognised a well structured, logical and persuasively argued thesis when heard this one.

The argument is presented so that you don't need to understand all the science to enjoy the cut and thrust. And cut and thrust there most surely is! Dawkins is not afraid to tilt at apparently well respected opinion and, generally, he doesn't mince his words. I found this occasionally annoying when it seemed a bit mean spirited and an immediate reposte was not available from the butt of the comment, but I was able to get online and see if there was a response from, say, Gould to the criticism and this helped weather the frustration. That said, these flourishes were few and far between. Most of the criticism was obviously carefully considered and well reasoned. I particularly liked the examples. The bat was my favourite, and I did enjoy the bat with angel wings paradoy (even though I had to play it a few times to get the nuance - as I would have had to if I'd read it and had to re-read). Even though the paradoy wasa bit of a flourish, it wasn't personal (or it didn't appear to be so to me).

As for the performance, I was abit apprehensive at first about Lalla Ward's role. Of course she is Dawkins wife, but I just wasn't sure a second voice was necessary, except to highlight quotations and examples. As the performance proceeded, I changed my mind. The change of reader added interest and, after all, Ms Ward has a wonderful voice. As for Dawkins, his infectious enthusiasm is literally bubbling up in his voice. I will never forget the fantastic end to Chapter 10 as a consequence. I am looking forward to listening to him read his Selfesh Gene (one of the first books that opened my mind to Science Faction).

12 sur 15 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Zamora
  • 07/09/2011

Great Information

I have read the God Delusion and The Greatest Show on Earth. Professor Dawkins referenced this book and I wanted to listen to it on my commutes to work to further my understanding of evolution. This work has great information and good flow. I usually don't like when there is more then one narrator but this works out very well as there are times he is quoting something and then the narrator switches. This makes it easier to know this is occurring when you hear the voice change. Both narrators are wonderful to listen to.

21 sur 27 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jonathan
  • 22/08/2013

Evolution made clear

If you could sum up The Blind Watchmaker in three words, what would they be?

susinict, thoughtful, and comprehensive

Have you listened to any of Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes, all due respect to Prof. Dawkins, Lalla is one of the best voice performers I've heard since I started using audible.

Any additional comments?

The beginning (definition bit) is slow and requires your attention but the rest is great and makes every point clear and if not "easy" at least logical to understand.

2 sur 2 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jeff Harris
  • 06/01/2013

Withstanding the Test of Time

Where does The Blind Watchmaker rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Out of all of the non-fiction books I've listened to, this ranks as the best one yet. This is the second book by Dawkins that I've listened to. I am fascinated by evolutionary biology so I have a natural bias to this book and probably any book on the subject. While some parts of this book are dry, they are necessary for giving a complete picture to what is being discussed.

Which scene was your favorite?

I enjoyed the discussion on the cumulative selection early in the book. It is a very important concept that helps explain Darwinian evolution.

Any additional comments?

Dawkins is often viewed as an atheist paragon seeking to always tear down religion but this book does not do that. His focus is on evolution and why it properly describes how we as humans came to be rather than just attacking opposing views.

5 sur 6 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mark
  • 12/04/2012

Quality

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

One of the great modern thinkers - straight from the horse's mouth

What other book might you compare The Blind Watchmaker to and why?

The Selfish Gene. No prizes for guessing why

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

Great narration. The switching added interest

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

No, it was just sustained high quality

5 sur 6 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

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  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • J. Fischer
  • 30/01/2017

Informative but not really balanced

Well written and logically presented, but I get the impression that Dawkins sets up the arguments of how 'rivals' too sound a little bit ridiculous. Of course the book still contains interesting stories and ideas but also some repetition. All in all I liked 'The selfish Gene' much more.

1 sur 1 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sonja B.
  • 12/06/2014

Nichts für zwischendurch

Ich bin ein großer Fan von Richard Dawkins und habe alle seine Bücher sowohl in englischer als auch in deutscher Sprache gelesen, 'The blind Watchmaker' ist mein erstes Hörbuch.
Dawkins und Lalla Ward sind großartig in Tempo und Betonung - die Aussprache ist so klar, dass auch ein Nicht-Muttersprachler keine (großen) Schwierigkeiten hat.
Da ich nicht über viel mehr Wissen zum Thema Biologie verfüge, als das, welches in 13 Jahren Schule vermittelt wird, war es stellenweise etwas anstrengend, dem Inhalt zu folgen.
Man sollte sich also Zeit nehmen.

Aber: Es lohnt sich!

1 sur 1 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • R. Michels
  • 23/08/2014

AS little disapointing

Haben Sie die Zeit genossen, in der Sie dieses Hörbuch gehört haben? Warum oder warum nicht?

The book was partly very focused on creationaism, which gave me a hard time. The same explanaition over and over again...

Würden Sie The Blind Watchmaker Ihren Freunden empfehlen? Warum oder warum nicht?

Yes, in the end there is some realy nice discussion of evolution

Wenn dieses Hörbuch ein Film wäre, würden Sie ihn sich ansehen wollen?

no

Was wäre für andere Hörer sonst noch hilfreich zu wissen, um das Hörbuch richtig einschätzen zu können?

Please stand by with the first chapters. It is exaustingly repetitive. But the last chapters will explain a lot of the mysterys of life, evolution and the universe.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Josef
  • 05/07/2011

Wow

Die gesamte Geschichte und vor allem die Auflösung wirken auf mich teilweise etwas bemüht und am Ende dachte ich: "Was? Das soll der Grund für all das vorangegangene Hin- und Her gewesen sein?". Spannend ist dieses Hörbuch durchaus, nur für mich nicht wirklich "stimmig" und schlüssig. Es gibt bessere und glaubhaftere Geschichten, die leichter rüberkommen.

0 sur 7 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.