Nora, on Sunday:
You are a Mummy, and you had a Mummy. When was the first one? How did that happen?
...at which point one's head explodes in panic and amazement. Er.... right, how can I focus Evolution in about 2 setences, for a 4 1/2 year old?
The answer comes in recalling Richard Dawkins' delightful line of Mummys. Mackay described the slight changes that happened along the way, and in fact you suddenly realise that it's ok - you can even talk about survival of the fittest, and make it make sense. I shall have to find a DK type book with lots of pictures to help explain it. Maybe there's a decent poster.
...can you imagine the hilarious answer that would come to that question if you were a creationist?
Survival of the fittest has always blown me away. The ridiculous circumstances by which you happen to be alive - out of all of the potential billions upon billions of beings that could have been there in your place. It's a bit.. eh? Me? Shit, I'd better do something to justify it then...
And of course, then one remembers the astonishing array of complete pea-brains that exist (including at times, oneself, of course), which only goes to show that at some point, we started wandering off on a path of our own, quite substantially. Survival of those most closely adapted to survive within concrete, whilst having one's shopping delivered. Ah. Oh. Shit.
(Stupid rubbish warning)Can you imagine having a time machine, and going back to meet Darwin? I would be completely speechless with awe - somewhat similar to trying to have a sensible conversation with Stephen Fry (arf). Except I would take him aside and tell him not to send his daughter to an inept quack. As if that would do any good.