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The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution

Average Rating 4.5
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(13)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

21 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

Masterful

It's about time for Dawkins to write a general account of evolution. He is one of the best science writers ever, marrying great knowledge and deep passion. Even those who know the basics will be enthralled. For those who don't know, and who have never read a book by Daw...
It's about time for Dawkins to write a general account of evolution. He is one of the best science writers ever, marrying great knowledge and deep passion. Even those who know the basics will be enthralled. For those who don't know, and who have never read a book by Dawkins, they have a great treat in store. And for those who think science is a cold, unfeeling enterprise, well, they are about to learn the truth.

posted by Generalreader on November 15, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 63 people found this review helpful.

I evolved a long time ago

Worth a read but I'm smarter then this man...

posted by disisrick-7 on November 19, 2009

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  • Posted November 15, 2009

    Dawkins reaches out to the general public.

    I have read several books by Richard Dawkins. I very much appreciate how he promotes critical thinking and brings evolutionary biology to a wider audience. The rejection of many people of evolution is something which is damaging the prestige and science education in the United States and this book is effective at healing that wound. This book is not as technical as some others he authored but does give an excellent overall view of the overwhelming evidence for evolution. For those worried that the book is promoting atheism, I was Christian before I read the book and remain a Christian now.

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Slam Dunk Authoritative Compilation of the Facts Jack!

    I have read a few of his other books. This book brings out new information and is presented in a way that will make you think "that's it!" It puts it all together for a student of Dawkins and evolution. It is a must read and clarifies to the casual observer why the intelligent designers have no cause. The book again, is one that I couldn't put down. I look forward to his next study.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Dawkins does it again

    A great read and very authoritative. Perhaps not the best on the subject I've read recently but far more than is needed to combat any of the prominent creationists of today.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2010

    Interesting and Worthwhile but I Expected More

    The espoused purpose of "The Greatest Show on Earth" by Richard Dawkins is to provide the evidence for evolution. It is the first book I've read by Dawkins, and based upon my preconceptions of the author, I expected a crisp, surgical, objective, fact-filled presentation. It didn't quite measure up to my expectations, but it was an interesting and enlightening read nonetheless. Dawkins' evidence for the veracity of evolution is compelling for someone who already believes or who is open minded and accepting of scientific proof. The book is replete with asides and digressions which are quite entertaining even though they detracted somewhat from the case for evolution. On the flip side, his coverage of irreducible complexity and living fossils are brief and unsatisfactory. Plus, his purpose would have been better served if had just presented the facts and resisted the temptation to attack the opposition - "History Deniers" as he euphemistically calls them.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 26, 2010

    Great In-Depth Introduction

    My headline pretty much states it. From anyone whom is from mildly to very knowledgeable on evolution will love this. Very up-to-date.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 9, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Facts over faith

    incisively clear presentation of evolution

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent book for those interested on evolution and its' workings.

    Richard Dawkins asks creationists, why are there no flatworm fossils? None at all if creationism is true. He asks, would they state that flatworms just popped up into existence today? No, of course they know that flatworms have existed (at least to them) for at least thousands of years. His point of this question, is that some species we know have existed for more then a day or a week don't make good fossils (such as flatworms) and so we don't have any or few fossils of them. That is why before the Cambrian era we see less fossils because the species that were alive then, because they were harder to fossilize then more modern animals. At most there are a few traces in the earth that suggest a flatworm.

    Dr. Dawkins mentions also that between any species such as homo erectus and homo sapien there is a flow of evolutionary rate. An anaology is that when is a man old and not middle age? Does he wake up one day old and last night was middle age? No, of course not, it is a contimum where you get older and older until the point is that you can't identify as middle age anymore. One day is too arbitary to make such a designation and there is virtually no change physically in age from one day to another. The same thing with species, there is evolution even within a species. Homo erectus evolved to a different gene pool over tens of thousands of years even while still homo erectus. We are evolving right now, in terms that the collective human genome pool is changing. It is just at a rate that isn't much noticeable to our eyes. So in reality, every species is a transitional form because no species is static in its' collective DNA.

    Dr. Dawkins explains radioactive dating and how radioactive dates are set such as when a crystal forms, by measuring its' half life. For example one can measure the ratio of potassium-40 vs. argon-40 and find the age of granite or basalt by the fact that it takes 1.26 billion years for 1/2 of potassium-40 to change into argon-40. Then another 1.26 billion years to change the remaining half of potassium-40 into argon-40. So on and so on onto no remaining potassium-40 is left. When the crystal formed there was no argon-40 so it is a very accurate clock.

    Dr. Dawkins also explains how the continents have moved and how the fact that this has dramatically effected the species that exist and where they exist, around the world today. For example, only in Madagascar are lemur primates native. Now, if evolution isn't true why would they only be found there? If they got off a big boat 5000 years ago, called Noah's Ark, wouldn't they be random througout the world? Did he tell them to all go to this island off the coast of Africa? How did they get to that island anyway? Africa would still be seperate from Madagascar even after the supposed flood. Did they build a raft? Did the kangaroos of Australia build a raft to Australia and go nowhere else? The fact that continents and big islands like Madagascar have moved show that species become seperate when these movements occur and that they lead to a group isolated from closely related species evolving. An analogy would be English settlers coming to America and the evolution of the American type accents from the British over the course of a few centuries.

    Lastly, if evolution isn't true then why are there no homo erectus found with dinodaurs bones? Why no 500 million year old amphibilians found with mammoths? The reason is because the fossil record is laid down when those

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 4, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent Evidence clearly explained

    Dawkins presents a clear case of the extensive and diverse evidence for Darwinian evolution with his usual interesting notes and asides. He avoids jargon and connects the basic science behind ideas and techniques like radioactive decay and dating. He balances this explication with the Creationist/Intelligent Design arguments clearly showing their difficulties and inadequacies. He also short circuits the typical questions or objections raised to evolutionary theory and presents clear rebuttal to these. By this probing of the counter arguments, Dawkins raises serious questions concerning biblical interpretation and the problem of evil which people of faith very much need to revisit. While Dawkins is right concerning the evidence and science, I find his treatment of the more philosophical/theological side of the questions a bit heavy handed. But then, Dawkins is not addressing the full body of philosophical and religious perspectives on spirituality and the meaning of life. I highly recommend this book.

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  • Posted July 10, 2014

    I had to read this for my honors biology summer project and expe

    I had to read this for my honors biology summer project and expected a really boring science book but turned out to actually enjoy it a lot! Very interesting.

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  • Posted June 8, 2011

    Must read even if you already know the evidence.

    So far if there was one book to change my life in the most it would be this one. The odd thing is I "believed" (sorry for putting it that way) in everything the book proves anyway, and it still hugely affected my perspective on life, be it human or not. If I had one gripe, and the reason it did not get 4 stars, it would be that some portions of the book seem to feel to me like you need to be a scientist to understand fully (which is no fault of the book, just of my own).

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  • Posted December 5, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    ANOTHER NAIL IN THE COFFIN OF BLIND FAITH...

    AS ALWAYS... ANOTHER GREAT READ COURTESY OF MR.DAWKINS!

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