Wednesday 14 November 2012

The Greatest Show On Earth - Richard Dawkins

This book was written as proof to non-believers that evolution did happen. It doesn't just talk about human evolution but uses evidence from all forms of life. It goes back to other natural scientists and expands on what they said as well as continuing with it.

In truth I found this book to be hard going. I may not read a lot of popular science but I do like science. The science parts in my own studies are hands down the most interesting (next to psychology and sociology of health). However, I just couldn't get into this book. It was like one very long and hard slog.

Don't get me wrong. There were parts of it that I found very interesting. Such as the evolution of flowers. Not the human splicing of the flowers but how they evolved in order to attract insects. When shown from different spectrum's seemingly plain flowers have a pattern to them in order to attract insects. Some even have a sort of runway that leads the insect to the pollen. I found all that fascinating and of course there were other areas of interest. He would then put in long quotes and sometimes philosophies and I would drift off again. Granted I was probably still in light read mode but I was still a little disappointed with it.

I think I was also put off by the start of the book. Now I am in no way shape or form a creationist. My religious dad had a way of explaining creationism and still believed in science, the big bang, evolution and the dinosaurs. The religion part didn't rub off on me but the science did. I can understand Dawkins frustrations over the growth of creationism and the removal of evolution being taught in the classroom (which, according to Dawkins, is becoming an issue here in the UK). However, I felt that the first chapter on this bordered on the patronising. It was almost like he was saying you are all stupid and I am going to make you read this book to prove it. Not the best way to try to convince someone they are wrong. That may have been just my impression of that introduction to the book but it was enough to irritate me and want to toss the book aside. Imagine how a non-believer would feel.

Without that I think it could have been a fantastic book but just not one for me. I guess I like my science to be a little lighter when I am reading for pleasure. Or maybe I just like the pathophysiology of science.

I read this as part of the Mixing It Up challenge. This was the last book for that challenge and it was for the science category. I am actually a little sad that I finished it. However, also glad as it has freed me up to choose random books from my tbr pile depending on my mood. If you want to see what else I read for this challenge you can see my original post with links to reviews here. I will be posting a round up of the challenge as soon as I have more time (I've still to do the round up for the league challenge too).

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