River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life


Show Synopsis

The No.1 SUNDAY TIMES bestseller. A fascinating explanation of how evolution works, from bestselling author of THE GOD DELUSION, Richard Dawkins. The river of Dawkins's title is a river of DNA, flowing through time from the beginning of life on earth to the present - and onwards. Dawkins explains that DNA must be thought of as the most sophisticated information system imaginable: 'Life is just bytes and bytes of information,' he writes. Using this perspective, he describes the mechanisms by which evolution has taken place, ...

Filter Results
Item Condition
Seller Rating
Other Options
Change Currency

Customer Reviews

Write a Review


May 23, 2007

The river of evolution

This is the first book I've read by "Darwin's Pit Bull", and I suspect that much of it is a restating of some of his earlier writing - much of this book is concerned with thinking of evolution from the standpoint of "The Selfish Gene". Dawkins sees natural selection as a process that maximizes the survival of genes; indeed, one can think of organisms as the means by which genes survive and reproduce. I think there is some merit in this view, although it's more "post-Darwinin" or "neo-Darwinian" than Darwinian, since Darwin did not know the mechanism of inheritance.
The river metaphor for evolution, with speciation represented by the river branching, is perhaps not ideal - since genes are copied with every generation, most genes end up taking both branches, unlike the water in a river. The reader needs to think carefully about this point.
Dawkins takes on intelligent design, although not in the detail it deserves. But two of his criticisms are powerful: if design takes place at the level of biology, then it follows that the deigner is a horribly cruel being, since life exists by the destruction of other life. He is also good at pointing out the logical flaw - the "Argument from Personal Incredulity" - used to motivate many ID arguments.
Not quite as well written as Gould's essays on evolution (little is!), this is still a very good look at a few aspects of evolution (without which biology doesn't make sense).

1 Silent Rating

See All Customer Reviews

This item doesn't have extra editions