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River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (Science Masters Series) (edition 1995)

by Richard Dawkins (Author)

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1,655214,354 (3.91)13
Member:uufnn
Title:River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (Science Masters Series)
Authors:Richard Dawkins (Author)
Info:Basic Books (1995), Edition: First Printing, 172 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:genetics, evolution, insects, natural selection, mutations

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River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life by Richard Dawkins

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About the author: source Wikipedia. Richard Dawkins is a native of Nairobi, [then] British Kenya. "He studied zoology at Balliol College, Oxford. . .while there he was tutored by Nobel Prize-winning ethologist Nikolaas Tinbergen. . .[He received] his MA and DPhil degrees by 1966. He makes regular television and radio appearances, predominantly discussing his books, his atheism and his ideas and opinion as a public intellectual." About the book: source: Amazon.com Review, " Nearly a century and a half after Charles Darwin formulated it, the theory of evolution is still the subject of considerable debate. Oxford scientist Richard Dawkins is among Darwin's chief defenders, and an able one indeed--witty, literate, capable of burning a beautiful phrase. In 'River Out of Eden,' he introduces general readers to some fairly abstract problems in evolutionary biology, gently guiding us through the tangles of mitochondrial DNA and the survival-of-the-fittest ethos. . .Dawkins argues for the essential unity of humanity, noting that 'we are much closer cousins of one another than we normally realize, and we have many fewer ancestors than simple calculations suggest.'"
This review has been flagged by multiple users as abuse of the terms of service and is no longer displayed (show).
  uufnn | Mar 18, 2016 |
It's not his best book, and he covers much of the same material elsewhere too, but it's useful in understanding who we are as a species. ( )
1 vote Michael_Rose | Jan 10, 2016 |
Detailed exposition of the process of evolution, including some intriguing speculations. ( )
  dickmanikowski | May 12, 2015 |
Dawkins sara' anche un grande divulgatore scientifico, ma richiede conoscenze di base sulla biologia non banali. Le parti piu' interessanti ed utili sono quelle dove non si parla appunto di biologia, ovverosia poche. Che, anche se striminzite, sono comunque intellettualmente devastanti, esposte con un candore ed una imparzialità che rischiano di sconfinare nella crudeltà. Ma non è cattiveria: è il fiume della vita, indifferente e super partes, nel quale nuotiamo presuntuosi, ma pur sempre inconsapevoli - e così tanto patetici... ( )
  bobparr | Dec 14, 2014 |
If someone were to ask me for a simple introduction to Darwinism – something not too deep and without showy technical digressions – River Out of Eden would probably be my recommendation. Dawkins is a wonderful communicator of complex ideas, and a true master of scientific metaphor; anyone already familiar with Darwinism may at times become frustrated with the author's seemingly round-about approach, but anyone new to the subject will surely appreciate his cautiousness in not assuming too much prior knowledge.

Some reviewers have criticised Dawkins's disparagement of religion throughout the book, but this I think misunderstands the point of the work, which is to present a way of thinking about life – how could he have avoided making reference to Darwinism's greatest intellectual rival? I don't think he has been gratuitously harsh. But whether you are religiously inclined or not, if you are looking for a brief yet well-explained introduction to the Darwinian way of thinking, this would be a very good choice.
  PickledOnion42 | Dec 1, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
The book breaks no new ground but, as usual, it abounds with metaphors that make things brilliantly clear.
 
Mr. Dawkins is often portrayed as the village reductionist, the man who thinks there is nothing to life but selfish genes. But this is less than fair. . . He is above all a masterly expositor, a writer who understands the issues so clearly that he forces his readers to understand them too. "River Out of Eden" displays these virtues to the full. It is a thinner book than his others, with no special message to deliver, but it maintains his high standards of clarity and excitement.
 

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Richard Dawkinsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ward, LallaIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Montixi Comoglio, LauraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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During the minute it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive; others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear; others are being slowly devoured from within by rasping parasites; thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst and disease. It must be so. If there is ever a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0465069908, Paperback)

Nearly a century and a half after Charles Darwin formulated it, the theory of evolution is still the subject of considerable debate. Oxford scientist Richard Dawkins is among Darwin's chief defenders, and an able one indeed-- witty, literate, capable of turning a beautiful phrase. In River Out of Eden he introduces general readers to some fairly abstract problems in evolutionary biology, gently guiding us through the tangles of mitochondrial DNA and the survival-of-the- fittest ethos. (Superheroes need not apply: Dawkins writes, "The genes that survive . . . will be the ones that are good at surviving in the average environment of the species.") Dawkins argues for the essential unity of humanity, noting that "we are much closer cousins of one another than we normally realize, and we have many fewer ancestors than simple calculations suggest."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:00 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

How did the replication bomb we call "life" begin and where in the world, or rather, in the universe, is it heading? Writing with characteristic wit and an ability to clarify complex phenomena (the New York Times described his style as "the sort of science writing that makes the reader feel like a genius"), Richard Dawkins confronts this ancient mystery. Dawkins has been named by the London Daily Telegraph "the most brilliant contemporary preacher of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution." More than any other contemporary scientist, he has lent credence to the idea that human beings - indeed, all living things - are mere vehicles of information, gene carriers whose primary purpose is propagation of their own DNA. In this new book, Dawkins explains evolution as a flowing river of genes, genes meeting, competing, uniting, and sometimes separating to form new species. Filled with absorbing, at times alarming, stories about the world of bees and orchids, "designed" eyes and human ancestors, River Out of Eden answers tantalizing questions: Why are forest trees tall - wouldn't each survive more economically if all were short? Why is the sex ratio fifty-fifty when relatively few males are needed to impregnate many females? Why do we inherit genes for fatal illnesses? Who was our last universal ancestor? Dawkins suggests that it was more likely to have been an Adam than an African Eve. By "reverse engineering," he deduces the purpose of life ("God's Utility Function"). Hammering home the crucial role of gradualism in evolution, he confounds those who argue that every element of, say, an eye has to function perfectly or the whole system will collapse. But the engaging, personal, frequently provocative narrative that carries us along River Out of Eden has a larger purpose: the book illustrates the nature of scientific reasoning, exposing the difficulties scientists face in explaining life. We learn that our assumptions, intuitions, origin myths, and trendy intellectual and cultural "isms" all too often lead us astray.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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