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The Blind Watchmaker (1986)
de Richard Dawkins
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Una obra fundamental para entender por qué la evolución de la vida no necesita de ningún creador. Este libro deshace una buena parte de los equívocos que normalmente se proyectan sobre el evolucionismo; y sobre todo es un intento serio de explicar basándose en la teoría de Darwin cómo han podido llegar a existir formas de vi da tan increíblemente complejas como nosotros mismos, a partir de los más simples materiales. En sus páginas, Dawkins rebate discursos teológicos acerca de la fi gura de Dios como creador de vida y explica cómo se puede conseguir la complejidad mediante la evolución. En la parte final del libro, el autor cuestiona otras teorías que han tratado de explicar la variedad de formas de vida y que van desde el creacionismo hasta el lamarckismo.
I can only echo the comment on the flyleaf: "This might be the most important book on evolution since Darwin".
As per the synopsis:
The Blind Watchmaker is the seminal text for understanding evolution today. In the eighteenth century, theologian William Paley developed a famous metaphor for creationism: that of the skilled watchmaker. In The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins crafts an elegant riposte to show that the complex process of Darwinian natural selection is unconscious and automatic. If natural selection can be said to play the role of a watchmaker in nature, it is a blind one—working without foresight or purpose.
In an eloquent, uniquely persuasive account of the theory of natural selection, Dawkins illustrates how simple organisms slowly change over time to create a world of enormous complexity, diversity, and beauty.
This book is in part an evidenced argument for, and an explanation of evolution. As such it includes lengthy clarifications of how to interpret the terms used (there are fine distinctions in a number of different terms, such as with macromutations). In addition to delineating cumulative progression and natural selection, it also ranges in dissecting the utterly impossible, the improbable, and probable. A companion book that includes more functional detail is Richard Dawkins' Climbing Mount Improbable, and another more recent book that gets into detailed evolution workings is Sean B. Carroll's Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo and the Making of the Animal Kingdom.
This my second reading since about 1990, and what I still see in this writing is purpose without foresight.
That is, given all the variations and complexity of extant biological life and extinctions that we know of, and awareness of many more we don't have evidence of, taken together with what we have discovered about cumulative progression and natural selection, a logical mind can see the reality of evolution over creationism and other lacking theories. That especially where objective inquiry seeks to free the mind from the human bubble, contrasted with creationism which in ignoring growing empirical understanding is supposition to dominate minds. Their are details that aren't yet fully understood, but the only real mystery remaining is how a self-replicating molecule that life descended from came to be, when and how did DNA/protein machinery develop in such, and if there was only one occurrence.
The growing empirical evidence points to the path of our being as a punctuated cumulative progression under the influence of natural selection. How we ended up in the pickle we are in is due to natural selection being a blind, unconscious, automatic process that selects for seeming survivability and reproduction in an environment — genes are selected first and foremost, not for their intrinsic qualities, but by virtue of their interactions with their environments. The selection process has though, albeit selectively and possibly unintentionally, endowed us with the intelligence to potentially see where this path is leading us in a successively deteriorating conducive biosphere. All life forms alter their habitat, spurring environmental changes in geological time that adaptive evolution attempts to keep pace with through natural selection, but our weedy species is altering the environment at such an accelerated pace that we are witnessing worsening environmental changes and excessive extinctions within our lifetimes.
One aspect that a serious reader might glean from this book isn't stated in so many words. That is, the more biologically complicated a life form is, the smaller the adaptive evolution steps because of the greater population of genes that must be interacted with in the life form. Thus, if significant, detrimental biosphere changes occur faster than adaptive evolution steps can keep pace . . .
If one is interested in their and their children's futures, a realistic understanding of how we came to be, and the evolutionary baggage that includes, is important in learning what we have to overcome. Thus, this book is a good first step. Additional understanding to pursue are life sciences such as ecology (biodiversity and ecosystem balance are essential components in slowing biosphere changes).
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Almost everything about this book – the instances, the writing, the passion, the lyrical imagery – confirms again and again that there is nothing dry about science, nothing heartless about research, and nothing unfeeling about the way a biologist looks at an animal.
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Wikipedia en anglès (16)
From the author of The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins' The Blind Watchmaker has been acclaimed as the most influential work on evolution in the last hundred years. In 1802 the Rev. William Paley's argued in Natural Theology that just as finding a watch would lead you to conclude that a watchmaker must exist, the complexity of living organisms proves that a Creator exists. Not so, says Richard Dawkins, and in this brilliant and controversial book, the acclaimed evolutionary biologist sets out to demonstrate that the theory of evolution by natural selection - the unconscious, automatic, blind yet essentially non-random process discovered by Charles Darwin - is the only answer to the biggest question of all: why do we exist? 'I want to persuade the reader, not just that the Darwinian world-view happens to be true, but that it is the only known theory that could, in principle, solve the mystery of our existence' To Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker is nature itself, gradually forming order from the very building-blocks of life: DNA. 'This might just be the most important evolution book since Darwin' John Gribbin 'Richard Dawkins has updated evolution ... his subject is nothing less than the meaning of life' The Times 'Enchantingly witty and persusive ... pleasurably intelligible to the scientifically illiterate' Observer Richard Dawkins is a Fellow of both the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Literature, and Vice President of the British Humanist Association. He was first catapulted to fame with The Selfish Gene, which he followed with a string of bestselling books: The Extended Phenotype, The Blind Watchmaker, River Out of Eden, Unweaving the Rainbow, and an impassioned defence of atheism, The God Delusion.
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Classificació Decimal de Dewey (DDC)576.82 — Natural sciences and mathematics Life Sciences, Biology Genetics and evolution Evolution Theories of evolution
LCC (Clas. Bibl. Congrés EUA)
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