Talk:The Blind Watchmaker

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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for The Blind Watchmaker:

Here are some tasks awaiting attention:
  • Expand : *Summarize the book chapter by chapter
    • Reception
Priority 4

2004 discussion[edit]

From the article:

Both books are intended to popularize the Williams Revolution in the understanding of evolution.

Williams Revolution? What does this mean?


I remember the book as being mainly a refutation of the argument from design, and particularly of Paley's version of the argument(that's where the title comes from). And while it advocates evolution by a long serie of small improvements, and not macromutations, as the main motor of evolution, it's not really about micro-evolution (at least not as defined in wikipedia). susano 05:35 Sep 2, 2002 (PDT)

I'm not sure what this objection(?) means? The chapter on arms races ( ie cheetahs and gazelles ) might be of interest. The book goes into great explanatory detail on the workings of evolution in the field.

I have removed the following because I don't see how the observations, per Davies, are outside the scope of the book:

"It can however be argued that this would be outside the scope of the book, as well as in the realm of physics rather than biology."

Dawkins' does not limit the book to biology: his stated intention is "to persuade the reader, not just that the Darwinian world-view happens to be true, but that it is the only known theory that could, in principle, solve the mystery of our existence". While he cogently argues that evolution explains complexity, it does not explain our existence. (If he were to argue that evolution explains the origin of the universe and its laws, it would imply an infinite regress...which is hardly an explanation.) To point out that Dawkins makes no mention of this is a valid criticism.--Johnstone 03:00, 5 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I would assume Dawkins, being a biologist, writes "our existence" to mean the existence of humans, or intelligent life forms, or animals, or even just living things? And not the existence of matter and laws of nature? Grant the man a few presuppositions...  ;-) It seems to me absurd to demand that he therefore also explains everything back to the Big Bang and even before that. Mortene 13:41, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Given a universe to work in, physical laws such as gravity to coalesce interstellar gas into planets and such, and, finally, the genesis of life ... Dawkins explains how we get from a simple, self-replicating molecule or proto-cell to the wonderfully varied and complex things that fill the world today. The theory of evolution is the subject of the book, not a natural history of the universe, which is compatible with any form of biogenesis.
A god-of-the-gaps argument about the Big Bang has no merit in a biology article.

Spoiler warning[edit]

May we remove the Spoiler warning: Plot or ending details follow. tag that some joker inserted? --Wetman 10:45, 28 Nov 2004 (UTC)

That would be Johnstone, I've removed it. Edward 11:57, 28 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Davies[edit]

In light of the above discussion, I removed the following text:

While he calls this the "deepest of problems," it has been noted that he makes no attempt to explain the origin of matter and energy, space, and time—the material and framework of evolution—nor the origin of physical law—the underlying rules for evolution (for example, see Davies (1992)).

Dawkins' goal is to explain why, given natural law, evolution is not only true but necessary. Therefore, demanding that he now explain natural law is unreasonable. Instead, Davies would have to explain how natural law could be otherwise, and how life might be possible in such circumstances without the benefit of evolution. When he does that, he'll deserve mention in this article. Alienus 06:52, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

I added links to criticisms of Dawkins's blind watchmaker hypothesis[edit]

I added links to criticisms of Dawkins's blind watchmaker hypothesis.

Here they are:

ken 12:11, 11 November 2006 (UTC)kdbuffalo

It is not balanced to include two links by the leading proponent of "Intelligent Design." I have removed all external links. Laurence Boyce 14:12, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
For potential future reference: Wikipedia:Mediation_Cabal/Cases/2006-10-16 Deletions by user Kdbuffalo *Spark* 14:56, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

Here are some quotes from the "Blind Watchmaker Thesis" listed above. Italics are added by me Fred Hsu 02:55, 12 November 2006 (UTC):

If the blind watchmaker thesis is supported by overwhelming evidence we may have to accept it, like it or not... But should Christian theists do as the atheists do, and support the blind watchmaker thesis on philosophical grounds?... we can learn to convince people whose minds are open to argument that the central claim of Darwinism is neither soundly based in logic nor supported by convincing evidence... Perhaps you have already perceived that the wing scenario assumes a lot, and everything it assumes is very doubtful...

The problem I have with this type of criticism is that criticism is based on faith, not evidence. Real criticism uses research to overturn other people's scientific theories. Fake criticism uses argument from ignorance to cast doubt on other people's ideas without offering its own scientific hypothesis/theories with references which can be independently verified. Fred Hsu 02:55, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

How is the argument a faith based argument whatsoever? I see no article of faith. He doesn't say the blind watchmaker thesis IS supported by "overwhelming evidence". He says "IF" it is supported by overwhelming evidence then we must support it. But the he goes on to say that its NOT based on overwhelming evidence, instead it is based on "philosophical grounds". Which is exactly right. The blind watch maker is a philosophical work. It is not a scientific study, it is not research, it is not even a meta analysis, it has nothing to do with science what soever, its one mans opinion that is not peer reviewed and in no way can it be reproducible. It is a philosophical work, using science as a philosophical argument against the ideal of god. That is what the criticism is saying... and it has nothing to do with faith. Bryanpeterson 01:53, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

I don't understand why you declare that the book in question is based on philosophical grounds. It is not. It is based on 150 years of research on biology. If you actually bother to read and understand books on evolution, you will realize that all the natural wonders we see can be explained by evolution based on two simple principals: random mutation and non-random natural selection. If any 'scientist' can come up with a theory and corresponding experiment to prove evolution wrong, this person will immediately get a Nobel Prize. Evolution has withstood 150 years of 'attacks' by researchers. Everytime, a problem is posed and a solution is found (e.g. why is there a need for sexual reproduction). Not a single researcher has been able to bring down the theory of evolution. If this is called argument based on philosophical grounds, I don't know what can be called science. Fred Hsu 03:57, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
Someone just tried to add this very same link back today. I removed it. Anyone who claims evolution by natural selection is "just a theory" or "only based on philosophical grounds" should take time to consider the following. Evolution has withstood 150 years of rigorous research. It has prediction powers which have been repeatedly proven correct. Evolution is based on the same scientific process which gives us modern medicine and airplanes. If you think evolution cannot be believed because it is just a conjecture, you should stop taking plane rides and stop taking pills. Think about it. Fred Hsu (talk) 03:48, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

I made the article less biased and offered criticism of The Blind Watchmaker[edit]

Here is what I wrote: Philosopher Dallas Willard criticized Richard Dawkin's work The Blind Watchmaker and called it "metaphysical speculation". [1] ken 23:17, 11 November 2006 (UTC)kdbuffalo

Fair use rationale for Image:Blind Watchmaker.jpg[edit]

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Image:Blind Watchmaker.jpg is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to insure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template. Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page.

If there is other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images lacking such an explanation can be deleted one week after being tagged, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you.

BetacommandBot (talk) 19:02, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

I corrected the situation by adding Fair Use explanation to the image. Thanks. Fred Hsu (talk) 03:43, 15 February 2008 (UTC)


Wotnow (talk) 20:09 16 August 2009 I note that the image is actually from the cover of the Penguin edition, not the Norton edition. I have the 1991 Penguin edition, with identical cover. You can also see the Penguin logo at the top of the image. I am aware that Norton also published this book, so the publishing details are probably correct. I note by the way, that I have checked later publications, and while pagination differs (due primarily to layout and introduction space), the text of all later publications is identical. Indeed, I seem to recall reading that Dawkins couldn't see how to improve on his text, as he'd not be inclined to say anything different, which is of course a fair point. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Wotnow (talkcontribs) 10:10, 16 August 2009 (UTC)

Criticisms[edit]

Where are the criticisms? Faro0485 (talk) 15:08, 10 September 2009 (UTC)

What are the criticisms? Maybe there weren't any. Perhaps you could find some reliable sources and then improve the article with them. Be bold if you think the article is missing detail on aspects of its subject. If you're thinking of adding a specific criticism section, have a look here first. Cheers, --PLUMBAGO 15:20, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
The very nature of computers makes them unreliable sources for simulating unintelligent systems. Or said this way; any complex non-intelligent system must be reduced to a simpler and intelligent system in order to be simulated; the system disqualifies itself by being the product on intelligence. His computer program would be much more impressive in proving his point, if the computer and the computer program had evolved without the input of an advanced intelligence. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.111.82.50 (talk) 01:11, 3 November 2014 (UTC)