Easy As Falling Off a Bike pt 3195

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The Daily Dormouse.
(aka Bike, est. 2007)
Part 3195
by Angharad

Copyright© 2017 Angharad

  
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“We have invested too much in you to allow a group of fools destroy it all.”

Kneeling here before the goddess, staring at the floor, the reflected light was too bright to look at comfortably.

“We shall give you an extra weapon to defend yourself, but you will only become aware of it, if it needs to be used, you will therefore forget all about it. In fact you will remember nothing of this our meeting but you will have a residual sense of calmness and confidence that you work for our purpose and thus will be enabled to fulfil that purpose. Sleep now, Catherine.”

“What were you muttering about half the night?” asked Simon a minute or two after the radio alarm went off.

“Who me?” I asked sleepily.

“Well who else would I be sleeping with?”

“How would I know?” I yawned. I felt very rested, which considering the week I’d had, showed I must be tougher mentally than I thought.

“Your turn to make the drinks,” he said changing the subject and nudging me as he did so.

“I did it last time.” My protest was half hearted, I needed a wee anyway but I had to make a token protest.

“If you don’t I’ll tickle you to death,” he grabbed at me but I escaped. As I sat on the loo I realised I’d been had. He knew I’d need a wee...the bastard! I’ve a good mind to poison his coffee. Instead I dropped a wet flannel over his face as I left. I didn’t really hear quite what he said, but as a lady, I probably wouldn’t have understood it anyway.

I was busy making the tea for Stella and me, when the wet flannel got shoved down the back of my nightdress. Instead of reacting I pointed out I was working with hot fluids and he should know better. He apologised, so I sent him up to Stella’s with her tea while I made some coffee for him. We drank it at the kitchen table.

“You should cancel that talk on Darwin.”

“Why?”

“Because of those nutters.”

“They’re just a bunch of louts, too stupid to think about what they believe in and challenge it. If they did that they’d see how wrong they were.”

“What about these creative design people?”

“I think you mean intelligent design.”

“Do I?”

“If you mean the creationists by another name mob, yes. They’re more American than anything else and they’re still pretty stupid because they seem unable to understand the principles of evolution by natural selection, which was what Darwin and Wallace were on about.”

“Survival of the fittest and all that?”

“It’s more complicated than that but that’s what everybody seems to think it’s about. In a nutshell it’s about having some sort of advantage in a given environment and then passing that on to your offspring, which if it’s really useful will prosper and pass it on to their offspring. The bigger the advantage it gives the more your offspring or descendents will dominate the population and the gene pool. That is natural selection.”

“And Darwin and wossisname thought of that all by themselves?”

“Darwin actually did a lot of work on it but didn’t know the mechanism, genetics hadn’t been discovered then but he was trying to puzzle out how breeding pigeons and dogs, especially, seemed to show that humans could subvert the system and produce what we now call recessive genes in animals they wanted to exaggerate certain qualities, like flat faced dogs which is a great disadvantage to most dogs because they can’t properly breathe, so can’t run around like most dogs seem to enjoy doing.”

“I didn’t realise you could stop natural selection.”

“In nature you can’t, not really, but in selective breeding you can and produce animals or plants which wouldn’t survive in the wild. But then as a species we live in opposition to the laws of natural selection.”

“But we’d become extinct wouldn’t we?”

“Hopefully.”

“So why don’t we stop it?”

“Because its completely ruthless and it would mean that anyone like me or with a disability or just slightly different, unless that difference gave them some advantage, wouldn’t survive to breed, or if they did, their line would die out quite quickly.”

“Oh, I hadn’t thought of that.”

“No neither do the intelligent design idiots.”

“Goodness, you really do know quite a lot about it, don’t you?”

“I get by, but the people who really know about it are evolutionary biologists, it all they study, trying to work out how things happened in the past or will in the future.”

“So why aren’t they doing the talk on Darwin?”

He’s getting sneakier in his old age, I’ll have to watch out in future. “It’s not about evolution, it’s about Darwin.”

“I thought that was the same thing.”

He may be getting sneakier but he’s still dumb at times. “No, I’m talking about the man, so it’s as much biography as anything else, plus of course some reference to Alfred Russel Wallace.”

“The other guy who thought of it.”

“Yes, he was working on how things were as they were, why there were so many different species of things, how they seemed to be restricted by geography or environments. He’d been playing with it for years as he collected specimens for museums or private collectors in Europe, then he had a bad attack of malaria and in his delirium saw how it all fell into place. It nearly killed him getting up and writing down what he’d seen in his ramblings, but he did it and sent it on to Darwin of all people, who nearly died from shock. He was worried it would undo his twenty years of research to collect evidence for his idea.”

“Still he gave wossisface some recognition didn’t he?”

“He still got top billing, poor Wallace was well down the cast list.”

“I thought Darwin was a gentleman.”

“He was but he moved in certain circles, some of which he was biding his time to put a bomb under. Darwin was a Whig supporter, a non-conformist who only paid lip service to Anglican dominance in Oxbridge. It was all so political in those days, and even London, which was a much more secular university dumped one of its professors for being too outspoken about his agnosticism.

“Also he was very wary of what effect things would have when he did publish his ideas, one of his professors who feted him when he returned from his Beagle voyage, was Sedgewick, who believed the whole social system would collapse in England if evolution were ever proven. He was another of the clerical professors and he fought Darwin tooth and nail later after, ‘The Origin of Species,’ was published. Actually Darwin didn’t do that much fighting himself, he left it to some good friends of his, of whom Huxley is best known.”

“Was that before or after he wrote, ‘Eyeless in Gaza,’ and, ‘Brave New World,’” chirped Simon having found something intelligent to say at last only to mess it up with his schoolboy humour.

“That was his grandson and well you know it.” I said in my best schoolmarm voice and he nearly wet himself.

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huxley_family



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