“THE question nobody can really answer is: outside science, what difference did Darwin make? It is reasonable to answer: none whatsoever.” – Bryan Appleyard, The Sunday Times
Bryan Appleyard is a bore. He bored me for years as a teenager reading the household Sunday Times, and even now he’s being boringly provocative with his articles which challenge convention and put a cat amongst the pigeons in the world of science.
“We were descended not just from monkeys but also, ultimately, from the same ancestor as bacteria, flowers and slugs. It was and is, for many, a grim vision.” -Byan Appleyard, The Sunday Times
Maybe he doesn’t really believe what he writes and is just a ratings chaser; an identifier of hot topics that are guaranteed to provoke reaction. A successful strategy of a great deal of journalism these days.
“Science itself is divided” – Bryan Appleyard, The Sunday Times
Or, perhaps the Great Commentator believes this stuff and thinks he’s geniunely getting to the nub of things or revealing that the current scientific zeitgeist is flawed and the people must be told!
“What has Charles Darwin done for you? Do you feel better or worse for the news that a gibbon is your close cousin? Do you even believe it, deep down?” – Bryan Appleyard, The Sunday Times.
I wouldn’t normally mind. If I worried about every anti-science sentiment on the web I wouldn’t get anything else done, but when this kind of posturing is presented by someone who clearly thinks himself an intellectual heavyweight and publishes ponderously stupid articles in a supposed non-tabloid newspaper– well, sometimes I have to scratch that itch.
“What has Bryan Appleyard done for you? Do you feel better or worse for having read his articles? Has he truly uplifted your soul and amazed you with his descriptions of science and the beauty of the natural world?…nah, didn’t think so.” – Oli, beneficiary of 3.5 billion years of evolution, whose ancestors include – but are not limited to – gibbons*, bacteria, flowers and slugs.
*Or at least Australopithicus, one of the earliest known common ancestors of modern humans and other primates.