Communicator (communicator) wrote,

The Ancestor's Tale

While I was poorly I found it quite hard to read novels, so I've been reading popular/easy science books. I'm better now but I'm just coming to the end of 'The Ancestor's Tale' on audio, written by Richard Dawkins, and read by Dawkins and Lalla Ward.

erm... I hate to say this but Dawkins does come across as slightly irritating and patronising, scolding various rivals, worthy and otherwise. Nevertheless the book is interesting, going over familiar but lively ground. I got used to his manner. And plus, you kind of feel affectionate to the old curmudgeon.

He counts back through evolution to our last common ancestor with (for instance) birds, or fish. I thought each tale would be about this ancestor, but instead he tends to offer an informative story about modern birds or fish, such as the Galapagos finches. Nothing wrong with this, just not what I expected.

The version on audio is abridged, and it does this by just dropping about half the 'tales'. I think that's better than trying to skim through the lot of them too quickly.

There's a big digression about a third of the way through, where he criticises the false idea that nature is broken down into strict discontinuous 'things' and 'essences' whereas really it is all loose vague categories that smear into each other with no firm boundaries. It's funny to hear him rail against it, because I do find him in some ways a bit of a discontinuous thinker himself.

  • Phew what a scorcher

    I see Gove has backed down on climate change and it's back in the curriculum again.

  • GCSE Computer Science

    My book is now for sale

  • LJ Settings

    At the moment I have set up this journal so that only friends can comment. I hate doing this, but I was just getting too much Russian spam.

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