Thursday, May 11, 2006

Better than a dog, but terrible loss of time

Dear Marc, did you go see the Darwin exhibition at the Museum of Natural History? You don't have to, I'll give you the highlight of the show right here. The man, legendary for his apt intellect worked like the rest of us when faced with a tricky situation. He made lists of pros and cons.

This is what he considered as pros as he contemplated marriage:

"Children-(if it Please God)—Constant companion, (& friend in old age) who will feel interested in one,—object to be beloved and played with.-better than a dog anyhow.—Home, & someone to take care of house-charms of music and female chit-chat.—These things good for one's health.-but terrible loss of time.—."

The appeal of female chit chat proved succesful. The famed scientist married his first cousin and multiplied with her. But from a genetic point of view, wouldn't marrying your first cousin be somewhat of a backstep?

You're not into that kind of thing are you? I just think it would be strange to have my grandkids marry each other.


paradise said...

darwin didn't really know much about genetics and even though his evolution theory was radical, he couldn't quite figure out how traits were passed on from parent to offspring. it was gregor mendel, with his pea hybrid experiments, that really figured it out. actually mendel was familiar with some of darwin's work, which helped piece together his own genetics theories. darwin, on the other hand, didn't quite have access to mendel since the latter was a monk and was quite isolated from society.

KEN said...

Marilyn Vos Savant, of "Ask Marilyn" fame pointed out that the birth defect rate when first cousins are the parents is exactly the same as in the regular population!