|Full title||The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe without Design [permalink]|
|Author||Richard Dawkins (author)|
|Publisher||W. W. Norton|
|Categories||Biology and science|
|Original publication year||1986|
|ISBN||978-0-14-102616-9 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]|
The Blind Watchmaker demolishes the argument from design, which was first advanced by the theologian William Paley. In short, it goes like this: If you're walking somewhere and you find a rock, you don't require an explanation for why it's there. But if you find a watch, you'll assume that the watch had a maker. Organisms are complex things, like a watch, so they, too, should require a maker (evolution is the blind watchmaker that the title alludes to). The book introduces biomorphs, creatures in a computer program that can evolve a multitude of shapes based on nine different "genes" (variables) which control how the form grows. Even with only nine genes, the number of forms that can be generated is huge, and the reader is invited to imagine walking through the (nine-dimensional!) space of possible shapes.