Rat Race

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I’m currently enjoying Richard Dawkins’ The Ancestors’ Tale. The narrative is quite compelling, and I haven’t come across a book presenting me with such a sheer depth and breadth of information since I read Guns, Germs and Steel. Here’s a rather witty outtake:

“I have a post-Armageddon vision. We and all other large animals are gone. Rodents emerge as the ultimate post-human scavengers. They gnaw their way through New York, London and Tokyo, digesting spilled larders, ghost supermarkets and human corpses and turning them into new generations of rats and mice, whose racing populations explode out of the cities and into the countryside. When all the relics of human profligacy are eaten, populations crash again, and the rodents turn on each other, and on the cockroaches scavenging with them. In a period of intense competition, short generations perhaps with radioactively enhanced mutation-rates boost rapid evolution. With human ships and planes gone, islands become islands again, with local populations isolated save for occasional lucky raftings: ideal conditions for evolutionary divergence. Within 5 million years, a whole range of new species replace the ones we know. Herds of giant grazing rats are stalked by sabretoothed predatory rats. Given enough time, will a species of intelligent, cultivated rats emerge? Will rodent historians and scientists eventually organize careful archaeological digs (gnaws?) through the strata of our long-compacted cities, and reconstruct the peculiar and temporarily tragic circumstances that gave ratkind its big break?”

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7 Responses to Rat Race

  1. quirksalight says:

    HAhahahah!!! That’s pretty sweet… I may have to pick that book up. :-)
    Just curious – how’d you find my blog?

  2. Hm…possible, but pretty far fetched. My bet’s on the cockroaches.

  3. Diganta says:

    Why don’t you go through ‘The Selfish Gene’ and ‘The Blind Watchmaker’. I feel you should read both as they’ll suit your choices.

  4. globalizati says:

    Actually, I’ve read most of both of them–I just keep getting sidetracked so I never finish. I’ve promised myself to finish Ancestor’s Tale first though. What’re you reading now?

  5. Diganta says:

    DNA : The Secret of Life by James Watson :). I have finished The God Delusion and The Selfish Gene.

  6. globalizati says:

    I’m not sure I like the God Delusion approach to religion very much, the main reason being that it mostly ignores religious moderates. You should read this post and let me know what you think. It seems that Dawkins and Harris and such can only be the way they are since they have no religious friends. As one who doesn’t live in a rationalist enclave, that sort of visceral hatred for all things religious wouldn’t work very well.

  7. Diganta says:

    I have responded to that thread.
    You can come and read my article on Dawkins at
    http://horizonspeaks.wordpress.com/2007/05/25/81/
    and let me know what your concerns are :). I didn’t see much of hatred in Dawkins’ book, he only declared religion as ‘untrue’.

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