Climbing Mount Improbable
by Richard Dawkins
Original Drawings by Lalla Ward
Viking, Penguin, 1996, [Uncorrected Advanced Proof], ISBN 0670850187, black and white illustrations in text, paperback
Very Good Condition, a little edge and shelf wear, a little rubbing and bumping to edges and corners, no inscriptions (see photographs)
“The towering cliffs of Mount Improbable can never, it seems, be climbed. In Richard Dawkins’s remarkable new book, the heights of Mount Improbable represent the combination of perfection and improbability that is epitomised in the seemingly ‘designed’ perfection of living things. From the combination of strength and sensitivity of an elephant’s trunk to the life-saving camouflage of an ant-mimicking beetle, the living world is populated by creatures that seem miraculously designed for the lives they lead.
Bit for these complex and brilliantly effective features to have occurred by undirected chance would be equivalent to sealing the sheer face of the mountain in a single leap. The only way to explain seemingly designed objects is by slow, gradual evolution – inching cumulatively, almost infinitely slowly by the standards of human history, up the gentle paths on the far side of Mount Improbable.
Richard Dawkins guides the reader through the spectacular mountain passes of the natural world. We are led through the silken world of spiders; we are shown how wings gradually sprouted on the bodies of flightless animals; we see how a fig is a garden for its own teeming population of insects; and we learn how the eye has evolved no less than forty times independently. And through it all runs the thread of DNA, the molecule of life, responsible for its own destiny on an unending pilgrimage through geological time.”