Climbing Mount Improbable

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Climbing Mount Improbable
Climbing Mount Improbable.jpg
Author Richard Dawkins
Illustrator Lalla Ward
Language English
Subject Evolutionary biology
Publisher New York : Norton
Publication date
1996
Media type Print, microform, electronic
Pages 340
ISBN 0-393-03930-7
OCLC 34633422
575.01/62 20
LC Class QH375 .D376 1996
Preceded by River out of Eden
Followed by Unweaving the Rainbow

Climbing Mount Improbable is a 1996 popular science book by Richard Dawkins. The book is about probability and how it applies to the theory of evolution, and is designed to debunk claims by creationists about the probability of naturalistic mechanisms like natural selection.

The main metaphorical treatment is of a geographical landscape, upon which evolution can only ascend in a gradual way, not being able to climb cliffs (this is known as an adaptive landscape). In the book Dawkins gives ideas about a seemingly complex mechanism coming about from many gradual steps that were previously unseen.

The book grew out of the annual Royal Institution Christmas Lectures which Dawkins delivered in 1991 (see Growing Up in the Universe). It is illustrated by Dawkins' wife Lalla Ward; and is dedicated to Robert Winston, "a good doctor and a good man". The book is divided into ten chapters as follows:

  1. Facing Mount Rushmore
  2. Silken Fetters
  3. The Message From the Mountain
  4. Getting Off the Ground
  5. The Forty-fold Path to Enlightenment
  6. The Museum of All Shells
  7. Kaleidoscopic Embryos
  8. Pollen Grains and Magic Bullets
  9. The Robot Repeater
  10. "A Garden Inclosed"

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