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Britain's greatest science writer comprehensively rebuts the creationists by pulling together the incontrovertible evidence for evolution

Charles Darwin’s masterpiece, On the Origin of Species, shook society to its core on publication in 1859. Darwin was only too aware of the storm his theory of evolution would provoke but he would surely 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.

In The Greatest Show on Earth Richard Dawkins takes on creationists, including followers of ‘Intelligent Design’ and all those who question the fact of evolution through natural selection. Like a detective arriving on the scene of a crime, he sifts through fascinating layers of scientific facts and disciplines to build a cast-iron case: from the living examples of natural selection in birds and insects; the ‘time clocks’ of trees and radioactive dating that calibrate a timescale for evolution; the fossil record and the traces of our earliest ancestors; to confirmation from molecular biology and genetics. All of this, and much more, bears witness to the truth of evolution.

The Greatest Show on Earth comes at a critical time: systematic opposition to the fact of evolution is now flourishing as never before, especially in America. In Britain and elsewhere in the world, teachers witness insidious attempts to undermine the status of science in their classrooms. Richard Dawkins provides unequivocal evidence that boldly and comprehensively rebuts such nonsense. At the same time he shares with us his palpable love of the natural world and the essential role that science plays in its interpretation. Written with elegance, wit and passion, it is hard-hitting, absorbing and totally convincing.

Reviews

This is the book Richard Dawkins needed to write and many need to read - a comprehensive account of evolution which faces the difficulties and questions his critics have raised. In it he draws on his great ability to write about science in a way that is clear, absorbing and vivid.

Lord Harries of Pentregarth (formerly Bishop Richard Harries)

With characteristic flair and passion, Dawkins has put on a stunning exhibition of the evidence for evolution. In his own words, 'Evolution is a fact ... and no unbiased reader will close the book doubting it'.

Dr Alice Roberts, Biological anthropologist, author & broadcaster

Richard Dawkins writes about evolution science with unflagging enthusiasm, wit and lucidity. This book is a wonderful addition to his already distinguished ouevre.

Brian Eno

Whether it's Lenski's bacteria or our own ancestors, Richard Dawkins discusses the evidence for evolution with his usual charm, style, clarity and brilliance.

Simon Singh, author of 'Fermatâ??s Last Theorem'

A beautifully crafted and intelligible rebuttal of creationism and intelligent design.

The Times

A voice of reason in irrational times, Richard Dawkins is both theorist and explainer of one of the greatest discoveries of the human mind.

The Times

Dawkins gathers up the weight of evidence into a huge lump and hurls it at us from the highest heights his rhetoric can scale ... but his grandness of vision still dazzles.

The Sunday Telegraph

Dawkins's writing demonstrates once again his consummate skill as an explainer ... the topics are all laid out with that combination of clarity and verve that is [his] hallmark.

Saturday Guardian

Dawkins is the Jeremy Clarkson of biology: an effervescent and opinionated enthusiast who loves to poke fun at opponents' idiocies.

The Sunday Times

He has lost none of his virtuosity in explanation, narration and the presentation of a clinching fact.

Evening Standard

Dawkins remains a superb translator of complex scientific concepts ... he has a way of making the drollest details feel like a revelation.

Publishers Weekly

In the bicentennial year of Darwin's birth Mr Dawkins fills a gap in his oeuvre by setting out the evidence that the "theory" of evolution is a fact ... And what a lot of evidence there is.

The Economist

... He is an awesome thinker, a superb writer whose explanatory skills I envy, who dismisses his opponents with the thoroughness of a top silk.

The Times

Dawkins emerges like a prize-fighter, knocking out of the ring all objections.

Nature

Most importantly his writing radiates an intense sense of fascination. He is a great explainer, taking complex biological processes and making them accessible.

The Independent

If you want to understand evolution, I doubt there are many better at explaining it to laymen than Dawkins ... A writer who is red in tooth and pen, his opponents don't stand a chance.

Scottish Sunday Herald

An accessible, colourful and beautifully detailed look at many scientific wonders - whether it's the great variety of dogs or the sex life of orchids - and a great primer for those coming fresh to the subject.

Irish Times

Richard Dawkin's new book ... gives the fact-rejecters their just deserts.

The Daily Telegraph

The book is full of evidence, some familiar and some new. Its case is presented in a manner succinct, clear and sometimes vivid.

The Daily Telegraph

No other book currently available approaches Dawkin's comprehensive yet accessible treatment of the extraordinarily diverse and massive body of data that drives ineluctably to the same conclusion.

National Center for Science Education

The Greatest Show on Earth is a lucid, thorough and often exciting survey of evolution and takes in rats' teeth, dogs, bacteria, the so-called missing link, crustaceans, giraffe anatomy, hummingbirds, chimpanzees, enzymes - you name it. It is informed in nearly every paragraph by Mr. Dawkins's irrepressible enthusiasm.

Sarah Lyall, New York Times

The Greatest Show on Earth ... is essential reading. I would currently rate it ... as the best overall book on the evidence for Evolution.

Marc E. Miquel, SCOPE

Richard Dawkins is so much more than just the world's most famous atheist, this smart and engaging "evidence for evolution" is required reading for those who want a grounding in the facts. It's as fascinating as it is challenging.

The Independent

This is a magnificent book of wonderstanding: Richard Dawkins combines an artist's wonder at the virtuosity of nature with a scientist's understanding of how it comes to be.

Matt Ridley, author of Nature via Nurture.

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780552775243

    October 1, 2010

    Black Swan

    480 pages

    RRP $19.99

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    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781409085874

    May 1, 2010

    Transworld Digital

    480 pages

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