Friday, June 13, 2003

Don't know much about biology

I have found a new guilty pleasure. One can arouse in all sorts of polite company a horror that a madman, an imbecile, even--horror!--a fanatic, is let loose amongst Respectability, simply by expressing some doubt about some elements of evolutionary theory.

You need not even say, “I don’t believe in evolution,” (and, in fact, I believe some sort of biological evolution to be the most probable explanation for the present state of the world’s ecology). All you need to do is point out that “natural selection” is a euphemism for “I, Charles Darwin, have no idea how it happens, only that evidence strongly suggests that it does.” When one points out flaws in the classic “spotted moth in pre- and post-industrial England” example most of us learned in high school biology (usually after being told about it in the overly loud and slow tones reserved for foreigners and especially simple children), one’s conversation partner usually begins visibly pondering deliberate spilling of a beverage, to create a distraction during which escape may become possible.

I enjoy this sort of thing a lot.


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