Climbing Mount Improbable

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Dawkins terms complexity that appears to be designed, but isn't, as "designoid," and he describes in fascinating detail how the slow, gradual climb up the gentle slopes of Mount Improbable evolution could have resulted in several examples of such apparent design.

From the beginning to the end it provides examples of how evolution itself with no external aid could have led the species to the complexity it now possesses. The book starts and ends with a tale of the fig, and how it was a fig, and not an apple, that was offered to Adam by Eve, if Paradise had existed at all, that is. The fig grows at the top of Mountain Improbable- the peak of evolution as we know it, and to get there we are led through the models of evolution of spider webs, gradual evolution of wings and eyes, variety of shell design and body design.

For example, a seemingly infinite number of shell variations can be accounted for by the relationships among three variants only: flare expansion rate , verm how wide the shell is and spire how tall it is. Mount Improbable itself is a peak, or many peaks of the development of various very complex, and seemingly too complex, elements and forms life takes to develop on its own just through the natural selection and survival pressure.

Dawkins, though, takes each element he discusses: spiders and their webs, wings, etc. Dawkins frustrated me from time to time, even though I agree with him all along. He is such a hard core fundamentalist, that he has lost the ability to derive pleasure from seeing the world through non-Darwinian eyes. Figs and paradises exist surely to provide esthetic pleasure for us, and flowers definitely are there to make our world more beautiful :o Once and for all: evolution is NOT about progress, a process tending towards a specific purpose and behind which, then, lies a designer.

Using a metaphor the climbing of a mountain Dawkins insists here on the gradualism implied by evolution. Spiderwebs, the ability for some species to fly or, again, the eye are as many heights at the top of which he leads us and from where, evolution appears in all its simplicity. Besides, he defends his selfish gene hypothesis and, bounces back on the compute Once and for all: evolution is NOT about progress, a process tending towards a specific purpose and behind which, then, lies a designer.

Besides, he defends his selfish gene hypothesis and, bounces back on the computer models developped for 'The Blind Watchmaker' in order to, not only simulate evolution through natural selection but also and no, it's not a paradox show what differentiate it from a guided selection. Indeed, to be honest this is a repeat of 'The Blind Watchmaker', published 10 years before.

Climbing Mount Improbable by Richard Dawkins | New Scientist

The goal is the same and, he uses the same arguments -he just illustrate them by different examples. The point is, if 'The Blind Watchmaker' was a frontal attack against the idea of an intelligent design, an in-your-face atheism, 'Climbing Mount Improbable' is more open and less radical. The conclusion remains the same no need for a designer but, it's not a slap in the face at each page. A good introductory course to evolution, casting away one of the biggest misunderstanding surrounding it a 'progress towards', hence the compatibility with a designer this book is therefore ideal for whose who would like to know more about the topic, without being recklessly preached on atheism.

This books was excellent; it marks the point where Dawkins really came into his own as an accessible pop-science writer. To add to what I've said before , anyone wanting a clear treatment on evolution designed for the layman should start with The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution , followed immediately by Climbing Mount Improbable.

Being that it was written much earlier than The Greatest Show on Earth , Climbing Mount Improbable is concerned more with theory than data, but it still This books was excellent; it marks the point where Dawkins really came into his own as an accessible pop-science writer. Being that it was written much earlier than The Greatest Show on Earth , Climbing Mount Improbable is concerned more with theory than data, but it still makes for an engaging read.

Dawkins also touches on several important concepts that he previously discussed in The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design , but this time does so in a far more polished and concise way, allowing one to skip The Blind Watchmaker should one decide to condense one's reading list.


  • Climbing Mount Improbable by Richard Dawkins | Penguin Random House Canada.
  • CLIMBING MOUNT IMPROBABLE.
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Great book, I must say. Jun 20, Nancy rated it it was amazing. If you have found yourself questioning the fact of evolution with the common rejoinder "but what use is half an eye," and you really would like a serious answer to that, read this book.

People often think of a literal half an eye, like an eyeball sliced in half, which is, admittedly silly. But if one thinks of a cell more light sensitive than it's neighbors, one can see how it might benefit th If you have found yourself questioning the fact of evolution with the common rejoinder "but what use is half an eye," and you really would like a serious answer to that, read this book.

But if one thinks of a cell more light sensitive than it's neighbors, one can see how it might benefit the creature. Dawkins also gives extensive time to the next common question "but that would take so long. Dawkins makes another point that is key, I believe. That is this. His models are not intended to stand for the actual progression. Instead, critics of evolution say "there is no way that could have happened because I cannot imagine it. Nearly twenty years old, but, because it's so full of interesting detail, still very worth reading even for those who already have a decent grasp of natural selection and the ways in which it operates.

There are really only a couple of things that clue you in to the book's age, e. May 03, Murray Gunn rated it really liked it Shelves: popular-science , non-fiction. My father, who otherwise is anti-religious, is a creationist. He can't reconcile the complexity of life with the simplicity of evolution. I'm going to recommend this book to him as a fantastic explanation of how simple changes, repeated over and over, can add up to the vast ecosystem we have today.

Great work, Dawkins!

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Sep 25, Rupinder rated it really liked it. An impeccable book on evolution. If you are familiar with Dawkins' earlier works, this may sound a little bit repetitive it did for me. However, his brilliant prose and ability to make complex topics interesting shines through in this work. A great work on making the incomprehensibility of evolution comprehensible to a lay audience. Mar 24, People say my name should be Jeff rated it it was amazing. You go, Richard!!

Lecture 3 - Climbing Mount Improbable

Debunk ID! Apr 14, Karunan Thirunilathil venugopalan rated it it was amazing. Another brilliance from Richard Dawkins. If you want to better understand evolution, read Dawkins!

CLIMBING MOUNT IMPROBABLE

Such explanatory prowess! Oct 29, Dave rated it really liked it Shelves: religion , social-issues. This was a challenging read. Dawkins works very hard to make the details of evolution understandable, but a couple of times my mind was spinning. Most of his story was accessible to me. It is also a fascinating read. To see how all things have evolved over the aeons; even things that seem to not lend themselves to Darwin's theory of evolution.

Climbing Mount Improbable

Hence the title of the book. Things that seem improbable can be understood and logical thr This was a challenging read.


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Things that seem improbable can be understood and logical through Darwin's and his successors' work. Jun 30, Zardoshti Amirreza rated it it was amazing. Mar 06, Darnell rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction. Dawkins was a really good popular science writer. Feb 07, Sam Nigro rated it did not like it.

Nigro, M. But that was a success, because the ILLs never question or criticize him. Actually, this best forgotten book deserves no review--I only do so to show the nature of its author. First, Dawkins praises Ernst Haeckel for his brilliant illustrations especially of single celled organisms. Birds of a feather, no doubt.

Self-reproduction, a pre-requisite

Second and most damning is Dawkins on the eye: But I was starting to tell the story of how lenses might have evolved in the first place, from a vitreous mass that filled the whole eye. The principle of how it might have happened, and the speed with which it might have been accomplished, has been beautifully demonstrated in a computer model by a pair of Swedish biologists called Dan Nilsson and Susanne Pelger. I shall lead up to explaining their elegant computer model in a slightly oblique way pages Knowing of Dawkins untrustworthiness, I looked up the above referenced article Proc.

B , It does little of what Dawkins claims. The article states that the model does not introduce structures for a functional eye such as adjustable iris; structures for distance accommodation; a vascularized layer; the choroid; retinal cells for photoreception, polarization sensitivity and colour vision; a supporting capsule; the sclera; the blood supply; structural support; or external protective structures. Some eye. Basically, the model is a speculative series of sketches mathematically considered by an imposed assumed rate of change.

Then, Dawkins, on page , vividly rambles and ruminates about these mutations which were contrived to improve optical performances and to bring about the appearance of a lens. Samuel A Nigro M. That is, similarity is identity, if you are so inclined as many have been, since Darwin began this way of thinking. Dawkins designs away.