Richard Dawkins' horribly titled new book for 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

I'm not sure when the title and cover design for Dawkins' new book came out, but I just noticed it for the first time today. It has a horrible title. Take a look for yourself.

There are two good parts to the cover: the cover design is quite nice, and the first part of the title (The Greatest Show on Earth) is also very good. Now for the problems with the book:

- "Bestselling Author of The God Delusion" on the top. We can only assume that since this book is presenting the evidence for evolution that it's for people that don't already accept it, and that would mean mostly biblical literalists, Christian fundamentalists. If that's the intended audience, what's the point of including a book called The God Delusion right on the top? It would be like writing a book called "The Evidence Against Evolution" and including on the top that it's by the "Bestselling Author of Atheism is Insanity", and then expecting atheists to buy the book in droves and change their opinions on religion.

- "The Evidence for Evolution". That's playing into creationist hands a little bit IMO, since it seems a little bit like it's taken until 2009 for someone to come forth and present the evidence, when evolution has been mainstream for a long time now.

Ideally it would have been best if Dawkins could have co-written this with a Christian scientist (Protestant is better since fundamentalists often don't think of Catholics as being the same religion), and given the book a different title under The Greatest Show on Earth...can't think of anything particularly catchy right now but something that references how animals have changed over billions of years to adapt to pretty much every environment on Earth would be nice. In fact, the word evolution doesn't even need to be on the cover. Assuming the audience is to be composed of those that believe the Bible to be the complete and infallible truth in a very literal way (and probably very opposed to the idea of evolution), it would be best if the book began with subjects that they could agree with, and not begin the "creationism is bunk" part until a few chapters in. Begin with "the universe and Earth and animals are amazing and mysterious", and get to the creationism is bunk bit later on.

As it is right now, it is very well titled to be a best-seller among his fans.


Jeff said...

If you're looking for a book like you describe, Dawkins is not the author to read. Try "The Star Thrower" by Loren Eisely "The Phenomenon of Man" by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

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