The Blind Watchmaker Dawkins, Richard. The Blind Watchmaker. New York, W.W. Norton, 1986,
The Blind Watchmaker
Dawkins, Richard. The Blind Watchmaker. New York, W.W. Norton,
1986, 332 pages.
"We animals are the most complicated things in the known universe,"
begins Dawkins; this great complication and complexity calls for
explanation; and only Darwinian natural selection--the "blind
watchmaker"--is capable of doing the job. One of Dawkins's main
goals with this book is frankly polemical, or persuasive:
I want to persuade the reader, not just that the Darwinian
worldview happens to be true, but that it is the only known
theory that could, in principle, solve the mystery of our
These are strong claims, and they deserve a careful, critical
response. Dawkins spars with creationists and theories of creation
throughout this book, and we should answer him. For instance, what
do his computer simulations (in chapters 3 and 4) really demonstrate?
Adaptation and evolution, or just clever but biologically meaning less
programming tricks? How did bats (his opening example) evolve, anyway?
Why does the chapter on the origin of life (no. 6) sound suspiciously
like special pleading? And so on. Dawkins writes with admirable clarity,
and is refreshingly, even bluntly, honest about his intentions. Get this
book, and be prepared to argue [foolishly].
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank