Saturday, May 07, 2005

In Search Of Our Warlike Panda Forefathers

Richard Dawkins interviewed in Salon, here, once you watch one of their annoying ads.

Not sure how I feel about Richard Dawkins - or how he feels about me, for that matter. He's one of those people who, even when you basically agree with them, always manage to phrase the issue in as contentious a way as possible, just for fun. (His problem with agnosticism, for instance, seems mostly to be that it doesn't piss religious people off as much as atheism.) On the plus side: we need such people to contribute to the lively flow of ideas in society! On the minus side: one fears that the guy is a prick.

So I very vaguely modeled the book on Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales," where the pilgrims start off as a band of human pilgrims walking backward to discover our ancestors. We are successively joined by other pilgrims -- the chimpanzee pilgrims at 5 million years, then the gorilla pilgrims, then the orangutan pilgrims. Starting with humans, there are only about 39 such rendezvous points as you go back in time. It's a rather surprising fact. Rendezvous 39 is where we meet the bacteria pilgrims.
Right, right, right. What we want to know, though, Dawkins, is about the pandas. Tell us about the pandas, please.