Making things up

by Andrea Elizabeth

Something a conservative would never say: “While we’re redefining words…“ Chapter 9 of The Greatest Show by Richard Dawkins. I actually don’t have a problem with his using “island” to describe an isolated habitable zone for a species. I do however have an irreconcilable difference with the following flight of fancy taken as believable fact:

“How New Species are Born

Every species is a cousin of every other. Any two species are descended from an ancestral species which split into two. For example, the common ancestor of people and budgerigars [a colorful bird] lived about 310 million years ago. The ancestral species split into two, and the two strands went their separate ways for the rest of time. I chose human and budgie to make it vivid, but that same ancestral species is shared by all mammals on one side of that early divide and all reptiles (zoologically speaking birds are reptiles as we have seen [I’ll not quibble with that for now]), on the other side. In the unlikely event that the fossil of that ancestral species was ever found, it would need a name. Let’s call it Protamnodarwinei. We don’t know any details about it; the details don’t matter at all for the argument, but we wont go far wrong if we imagine it as a sprawling lizard-like creature scurrying about catching insects.”