His epistemology is Popperian. He proceeds by falsifying one assumption or hypothesis after another.
Thus, his major conclusions cast doubt on the work of others who had insufficient data, used inappropriate reconstruction algorithms, depended upon too few parameters, or did not thoroughly investigate the sensitivity and robustness of their models to slight perturbations or deploy multiple runs to mediate problems of extrapolation. The reader should not be discouraged from tackling the modest amount of mathematics, the extensive tables and figures, and the painstaking thoroughness with which Wessen navigates his material.
Although I have emphasized Wessen's cautions, readers would be well advised to appreciate his positive findings. Thus, he frequently notes that often one is better able to trace a lineage, or to find a most recent common ancestor, than one might have expected a priori, and that it is still possible to coarsely reconstruct the timing of migration events even in the face of too few fossils. He also provides detailed manuals for each package, also in color. The simulation program Specialist lets users test phylogenetic hypotheses subjected to numerous evolutionary forces.
In similar fashion, Genie allows users to test genealogical hypotheses in the face of demographic factors such as overpopulation, population bottlenecks, breeding patterns, sex ratios, and extensive coalescence. Wessen's insights about models, data, and methodologies both algorithms and heuristics are well worth heeding. Only when we are confronted with counterintuitive results are we sufficiently intrigued to explore further or to change our basic notion of what seems warranted and what are reasonable assumptions.
It is not an easy read, because it is quite technical. Yet this book puts all of the public rhetoric that Dawkins's simple model inspired into better perspective. Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Sign In or Create an Account.
Sign In. Advanced Search. In the eighteenth century, theologian William Paley developed a famous metaphor for creationism: that of the skilled watchmaker. In The Blind Watchmaker , Richard Dawkins crafts an elegant riposte to show that the complex process of Darwinian natural selection is unconscious and automatic.
The Blind Watchmaker [Folio Society, 2006]
If natural selection can be said to play the role of a watchmaker in nature, it is a blind one — working without foresight or purpose. In an eloquent, uniquely persuasive account of the theory of natural selection, Dawkins illustrates how simple organisms slowly change over time to create a world of enormous complexity, diversity, and beauty.
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The blind watchmaker Richard Dawkins
About this book The Blind Watchmaker is the seminal text for understanding evolution today. Customer Reviews Review this book. Richard Dawkins Richard Dawkins is an English scientist and author, who came to prominence with his ground-breaking work of evolutionary biology The Selfish Gene , although he is equally well known for his outspoken atheism and the controversial bestseller The God Delusion. Visit the Richard Dawkins author page.
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