Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Story of the Beetle Collector

I had signed up for a talk in NUS but I was in no mood to drive there.  Neither was I in the mood to take a cab there.  Public transport was out of the question; it would be far too inconvenient.  The only attractive means of transport for me was... 


But it was raining (and had been raining the whole day) and I thought I would give the talk a miss, so averse I was to driving.  But I soon noticed that the rain had stopped even though the clouds were still dark.  I took the bike out.

And it was such a pleasant ride. It took me only 30 minutes to get to NUS. Locked my bike at the bike shelter which was just in front of the lecture theatre and took a pic.

There was time enough for me to change into a fresh t-shirt and place my sweat-soaked t-shirt into my bag.

I then listened to the one-hour talk by a man who is truly in love with the subject of his talk, having spent 30 years researching it and who has even contracted malaria in the Amazon where he retraced the steps of his beloved Alfred Wallace.

I took a quick pic (so I could post it in this photo blog of mine) just before the talk.  

At the end of the talk, during the Question-and-Answer session, I felt I had to put in a good word for Darwin.  Didn't Darwin urge the scientific community to give Wallace a pension even though they were reluctant because Wallace was an irrational spiritualist who attended seances?  But the diehard Wallace fan replied that Darwin could very well have done that because he felt bad about having stolen the idea of evolution from Wallace.  Interestingly, there were others who came to Darwin's defence.

Ultimately, it's never safe to accept apocryphal anecdotes.  That the theory of evolution by natural selection is the brainchild of Darwin's is indisputable.  Darwin was brilliant to have come up with this wonderful theory that has been validated by a preponderance of evidence that continues to emerge right up to our time.  

I am also heartened by the fact that in all the academic talks that I have attended in Singapore, I have yet to encounter a single flat-earther who insists that evolution is false or that an intelligent Designer (notice the capital "D") created it all.  I would blush crimson if that should happen.

The evening would have been perfect but for a puncture in my rear tyre on my way home. My wife picked me up in the vehicle I had been trying to avoid.  I was a little upset with the puncture because the carbon emission would have been almost the same if I had driven there and back home.  But the comfort is it's not every day that I have a puncture and I think I'm doing my best to be as green as I can be.

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