Climbing Mount Improbable

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Climbing Mount Improbable
Climbing Mount Improbable, British first edition.jpg
Cover of the British first edition
AuthorRichard Dawkins
IllustratorLalla Ward
CountryUnited Kingdom
SubjectEvolutionary biology
Publication date
Media typePrint
Pages340 pp.
575.01/62 20
LC ClassQH375 .D376 1996
Preceded byRiver out of Eden 
Followed byUnweaving 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. It is designed to debunk claims by creationists about the probability of naturalistic mechanisms like natural selection.[1]

The main metaphorical treatment is of a geographical landscape upon which evolution can ascend only gradually and cannot climb cliffs (that 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 at the time, Lalla Ward, and is dedicated to Robert Winston, "a good doctor and a good man".


  1. ^ John Horgan (17 September 1996). "The Mystery of Life". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved 6 January 2017.