The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Sep 22, 2009 - Science - 470 pages
89 Reviews
In 2008, a Gallup poll showed that 44 percent of Americans believed God had created man in his present form within the last 10,000 years. In a Pew Forum poll in the same year, 42 percent believed that all life on earth has existed in its present form since the beginning of time.

In 1859 Charles Darwin's masterpiece, On the Origin of Species, shook society to its core. Darwin was only too aware of the storm his theory of evolution would provoke. But he surely would have raised an incredulous eyebrow at the controversy still raging a century and a half later. Evolution is accepted as scientific fact by all reputable scientists and indeed theologians, yet millions of people continue to question its veracity. Now the author of the iconic work The God Delusion takes them to task.

The Greatest Show on Earth is a stunning counterattack on advocates of "Intelligent Design," explaining the evidence for evolution while exposing the absurdities of the creationist "argument." 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. Combining these elements and many more, he makes 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."

The Greatest Show on Earth comes at a critical time: systematic opposition to the fact of evolution is menacing as never before. In American schools, and in schools around the world, insidious attempts are made to undermine the status of science in the classroom. Dawkins wields a devastating argument against this ignorance, but his unjaded passion for the natural world turns what might have been a negative argument into a positive offering to the reader: nothing less than a master's vision of life, in all its splendor.
 

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User Review  - themulhern - LibraryThing

A timely book which presents the evidence for evolution in a considered and thoughtful manner. It starts with an explanation of why the book is necessary and then turns to background material about ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - DLMorrese - LibraryThing

Richard Dawkins is obviously a rational, concerned, and passionate man. He sees the great diversity of life as The Greatest Show on Earth, and he is upset that so many people (about 40% in the U.S ... Read full review

All 48 reviews »

Contents

Dogs cows and cabbages
19
The primrose path to macroevolution
43
Silence and slow time
83
Before our very eyes
109
Missing link? What do you mean missing?
143
Missing persons? Missing no longer
181
You did it yourself in nine months
209
The ark of the continents
251
History written all over us
337
Arms races and evolutionary theodicy
373
There is grandeur in this view of life
397
APPENDIx The historydeniers
427
NOTES
439
BIBLIOGRAPHY AND FURTHER READING
447
PICTURE ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
455
INDEx
459

The tree of cousinship
285

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About the author (2009)

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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