2 June 2008


...it is curiosity, scientific curiosity, that has delivered us genuine, testable knowledge of the world and contributed to our understanding of our place within it and of our nature and condition. This knowledge has a beauty of its own, and it can be terrifying. We are barely beginning to grasp the implications of what we have relatively recently learned.
-- from The day of judgement by Ian McEwan.

McEwan also writes:
Natural selection is a powerful, elegant, and economic explicator of life on earth in all its diversity, and perhaps it contains the seeds of a rival creation myth that would have the added power of being true - but it awaits its inspired synthesiser, its poet, its Milton.
But I don't think summoning Milton is helpful. It's not just that we have already had Darwin (who, if you have to stretch for a comparison, is more like natural selection's Homer) but that Darwin, his predecessors and successors, are part of an encounter, a conversation, a long argument for which the entrance requirement need be no more than, for example, stopping to listen, really listen, to birdsong -- plus a readiness to be open to where evidence leads.

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