Dawkins vs. Coyne?

Looks like Richard Dawkins has a new book coming out. It’s called The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence For Evolution. I can’t wait to read it!

But wait a sec? Didn’t Jerry Coyne just write that book? Yes, I believe he did. It was called Why Evolution is True. No subtitle needed; the title pretty much says it all.


Dawkins certainly wins round one: Better title. Why Evolution is True sounds like the start of a philosophical discussion. The evidence Coyne meticulously documented is not the reason why evolution is true. It is merely the reason we are confident that evolution is true.

Meanwhile, The Greatest Show on Earth is much catchier and well-captures the excitement of the science. Put the boring stuff about evidence and evolution in the subtitle.

Guess we’ll just have to wait and see about the rest…


  1. #1 divalent
    June 2, 2009

    Any guess if either of these will be suitable to recommend for school libraries in very religious districts? I.e., no overt anti-religious statements that would cause an administrator (high or low) to nix the suggestion?

    I should find out soon on Coyne’s book, as I should a copy within the week. Dawkin’s name is probably toxic even if his book is “clean”, so my hope is on Coyne’s.

  2. #2 Sigmund
    June 2, 2009

    It’s even more complicated than that!
    Dawkins gave an interview last year when he mentioned he was writing a book about evolution for the general public. He mentioned the title he was intending to use:
    “Only a theory.”
    Unfortunately for Dawkins, Ken Miller released a book with the same title before Dawkins managed to finish.

  3. #3 slpage
    June 2, 2009

    I am about halfway through Coyne’s book. While I find it well written, lucid, entertaining and all that, it just feels as though something is missing. I can’t put my finger on it, but it just rings a bit… empty. Maybe it gets ‘better’. I got the same feeling reading ‘Making of the Fittest.’

    Maybe I am being too picky…

  4. #4 Fred Mim
    June 2, 2009

    Is it wise to liken evolution to a circus?

  5. #5 itchy
    June 2, 2009

    Any book without “Monty Hall” in the title loses.

  6. #6 Jason Rosenhouse
    June 3, 2009

    itchy –

    Best. Comment. Evah.

  7. #7 Glenn Davey
    June 3, 2009

    My copy of WEIT is due to arrive today! I had to come all the way to England for it tho (on an unrelated trip). Excited to read it!

  8. #8 Prof.milton Wainwright
    June 3, 2009

    Will Dawkins Mention Matthew and Wells?
    It will be interetsing to see if Dawkins will mention these two scientists who Darwin and Wallce both admited got to the idea of natural selection before them.Dawkins has covered up this fact until this year, when he mentioned it at a meeting of the Open University.For more details search Google for “wainwrightscience” and associated link to the Dawkins website,.

    Professor Milton Wainwright Dept.Molecular Biology and Biotechnology,University of Sheffield,UK

  9. #9 Kirsty
    June 3, 2009

    I’m a big Jerry Coyne fan – Dawkins hams everything up terribly. For content, I’m with Coyne.

  10. #10 Bayesian Bouffant, FCD
    June 3, 2009

    This rings up some awesome points for Coyne: do a search on –
    “jerry coyne” botfly

  11. #11 Steven
    June 5, 2009

    Not to mention the fact that Dawkins has already sold millions of books. Not that this makes his book better, it will however, sell more.

  12. #12 John Kwok
    June 5, 2009

    I believe this is the book for which Dawkins earned a very hefty advance for from Simon and Schuster. Ironically, his publisher – the Free Press imprint of Simon and Schuster – also publishes Michael Behe’s “Darwin’s Black Box” and “The Edge of Evolution”.

  13. #13 Andrew
    June 15, 2009

    I have a question Is propensity to be religious an evolutionary trait? Is propensity to believe, to have faith an evolutionary trait?

  14. #14 Andrew Njeru
    June 16, 2009

    If we were all blind and only one man claimed to have seen this thing he and only himself refers to as light, how would science go about to verify of refute this one man’s claims.

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