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The Good Times Are Killing Me

I'm a nerdy girl with too much time on her hands, and too many books on her to-read pile.

Currently reading

Household Stories by the Brothers Grimm
Wilhelm Grimm, Jacob Grimm, Lucy Crane, Walter Crane
Natasha Wimmer, Roberto Bolaño

The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution

The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution - Richard Dawkins There are times when I think of the process of reading as a way to find happiness by leaving the nuisances of my own life and getting lost into someone else’s problems and reflections. In this scenario books are like spaceships that allow me to fly far away from my own planet, with the advantage of delivering me safe in my bedroom at any time. At other times though, reading turns my spaceship into a microscope through which I gain greater insight into all the different things that make my life the way it is. When this happens, I come out from the experience with a new sense of wonder and respect for things I previously didn’t really care for that much. In the case of “The Greatest Show on Earth”, the aspect of reality I now find completely fascinating is evolution, and while I don’t claim (I don’t think I ever could) to understand everything there is to know about it, I’m now way more interested in the process than I was before finishing this book. What I like the most of TGSOE is how it breaks down the science and the very, very complicated biology processes in ways that allow those of us with a scientific background that pretty much stopped in high school to understand them, without going to the other side and sounding condescending. (Unless you’re a proponent for young earth creationism or intelligent design, in which case prepare to be challenged on very chapter) I especially liked the section devoted to embryology and the explanation about the tree of life, along with the introductory chapters where Dawkins explains the relevance of theories, and their meaning in a scientific context. There’s also a lot to be said in favor of a book that doesn’t pretend to completely satisfy your curiosity on a given subject, but instead tries to leave you with more questions and a newfound respect for all the people that have dedicated their lives to answer them. A lot of people might find Dawkins’ intolerant stance on creationism and intelligent design off-putting, (especially those who feel that religious beliefs are above criticism) but I found it amusing, informative, and justified. The fact that in some countries as much as 42% of the population believe that humans and dinosaurs coexisted (and I’m not talking about birds) paints a worrying picture of our current state of affairs in terms of basic scientific knowledge, and gives merit to the idea that we as a society are not doing right by kids when it comes to education. I’m not going to use this space to talk about my opinion of religion in relation to science and evolution, because in my very personal opinion the idea that religion has to do with everything and needs to be involved in every discussion is part of the reason why things are the way they are today (that is, fucked up), so I’m going to end this review on a positive note: Nature is terrifying, sadistic, and even outright mean when it wants to be, but most of the time it’s simply awesome.