The Blind Watchmaker – Book Review


By Barath S. (L&T RBG)

‘The Blind Watchmaker’ sets out to prove that the existence of all known biological structures and behaviors can be explained using the scientific method starting with basic physical laws and principles and adding only random mutation and natural selection, (i,e), that the explanation does not require a designer.

“The basic idea of ‘The Blind Watchmaker’ is that we don’t need to postulate a designer in order to understand life, or anything else in the universe.”

This book provides a masterful and compelling description of how complex biological structures, like the human eye and complex behavior, like echolocation in bats, could have come from random mutation of very simple DNA + protein systems driven only by natural selection. It clearly separates the randomness of mutation from the quite clearly non-random action of natural selection. It carefully answers a number of naive but common counter arguments to Darwin’s theories.

This book’s main goal is not to explain how the evolution works. Dawkins accomplished this brilliantly in ‘The Selfish Gene’. Here he has responded to the argument of design, most notably made by the 18th century theologian William Paley, that the universe, like a watch in its complexity, needed, a watchmaker to design it.

This book celebrates science in general and evolutionary theory in particular. Like Carl Sagan, Dawkins wants to share with the reader, the wonder of it all, the excitement and satisfaction of studying nature, theorizing it, gathering evidence and debating with one’s colleagues.

This book is highly recommended, and it’s best read after Richard Dawkin’s “The Selfish Gene”.