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April 6, 2006

Selfish Jeans

I’ve got things to say about “The Selfish Gene”. First, no book I’ve read has ever provoked such a reaction from strangers who spy the cover. Yesterday someone said, “Don’t you love it?” I wouldn’t go that far. Dawkins assumes a foundation of knowledge I’m far from having attained. I didn’t know what a chromosome was, what DNA was (in spite of my extensive CSI background- I know- crazy!), how genes factored into chromosomes etc. etc. Now with this sort-of grasped, thanks to my fine biologist husband, I am enjoying the book. I’m not used to having to follow a text so carefully to understand, and sometimes that’s a bit frustrating. And I’m still waiting on character development.

It’s strange to realise just how much I don’t know, a realisation encourged by reading Annie Dillard, who knows everything. But at the same time, really, how wonderful it is that we can never run out of things to learn. And it all comes together. So much of what Stuart and I have been discussing about genetics, and what it means to give credit to microscopic things, was quite relevant to my class today and I enjoyed that perspective upon it. In fact I quite loved school today in general. Though I was so close to hit by a car on my way home. Apparently I am invisible to people driving through stop signs. I yelped like a wounded bird as the car drove toward me, which caused a group of high school boys to imitate my cry. This was altogether less humilating, of course, than when I fell off my bike in 2001, and a group of high school boys yelled “Whoa! Wipe out”.

I’m now reading “Six Words You Never Knew Had to do with Pigs”, which is a bit too “gift book” for my liking. And I got a book of Grace Paley’s nonfiction out of the library yesterday, so when I’m through with Dawkins I might go there. Bad news. Men still don’t like books by women. The winner of the Blooker.

I just baked a cake! Must go and add the topping.

2 thoughts on “Selfish Jeans”

  1. PatrickMH says:

    Can’t resist. My own view is that once evolution lead to love being the most adaptive trait (the well loved are the most creative, most empowered, most fit), the days of selfishness, the muchie munchie, the dog eat dog, were numbered: they’ll soon enough go the way of the dinosaurs (thanks to us–the chords of our jeans. I mean the lords of our genes). We can rewrite all the rules, and can and will erascidate (my word, I think) the original villain, the source of the “problem”: scarce resources. (I forget if this is Dawkins’ too. His stuff on memes makes me think not. But maybe.)

  2. Kerry says:

    I haven’t got to the memes chapter yet, so I’m not sure. But I think Dawkins’ point- “If there is a human moral to be drawn, it is that we must teach our children altruism, for we cannot expect it to be part of their biological nature”- is not entirely incongruous with yours.

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