Thursday 5 February 2009

Darwin and dogs

I don't normally watch much TV, but I did enjoy the programme last Sunday night, when David Attenborough was talking about Darwin and evolution.

Now I know it's not the done thing to criticise the BBC's patron saint of Natural History, but it's struck me in the past that Mr Attenborough has been rather too focussed on the sort of creatures you find in wild and exotic places, to the neglect of us domestic species.

So it was good to hear him talking about Charles Darwin, a man both Gail and I admire.

Gail thinks Darwin's wonderful for reasons to do with the stunning explanatory power of his theory, and the fact that he combined being a great scientist with being a decent human being (a rare combination, apparently).

Well that's as may be. What I like most of all is that fact that right there in the opening chapter of 'The Origin of Species', us domestic animals receive due consideration, and the important issue of variety in dog breeds is mentioned too.

Not enough scientists have taken pet animals seriously in the past, I feel. And when they have, the results have been of questionable merit. I don't like the way we're portrayed by the whole Pavlov's dog thing, and as for Schrodinger and his Cat, what sort of a stupid thought experiment was that ?!

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