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The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence For Evolution
by Richard Dawkins
Free Press
2009

If I were involved in designing the book jacket for this tome, I would not have put "Bestselling author of THE GOD DELUSION" at the top of the front cover. Not because Prof. Dawkins should feel ashamed of having written that book--he shouldn't--but because it's not an appropriate comparison for TGSOE. He is also the author of The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, Climbing Mount Improbable, Unweaving the Rainbow, and other biologically inclined works. In TGSOE, he honestly intends to speak to people who don't already agree with him, which means he doesn't touch the question of God's existence. He certainly doesn't pretend to be a believer, but he says, at the beginning, in so many words, that he is not writing as one of the Four Horsemen of the Atheist Apocalypse: "This is a book about the positive evidence that evolution is a fact. Is is not intended as an anti-religious book. I've done that, it's another t-shirt, this is not the place to wear it again." With that in mind, I don't agree with the publisher's sticking "THE GOD DELUSION" on the front cover, and I hope it didn't scare away any readers who are ambivalent about the validity of evolutionary theory but would otherwise be curious about Prof. Dawkins's case for it, because it's an immensely helpful book and I would highly recommend that they read it.
The Tree of Life is a big sprawling organism )

March 2012

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