Friday, February 13, 2009

Guest Blog from Lauri Lebo: Darwin's Pilgrims 2

Tuesday 10th February, 2009
Visited King's College Chapel in Cambridge yesterday. Henry VI was only 19 when he laid the first stone of the foundation on Passion Sunday, 1441. Built for a few dozen students attending the newly formed college, it is a place of overwhelming opulence - filled with stained glass and gold statues.

William Wordsworth wrote of the Chapel,
'...where music dwells
Lingering – and wandering on as loth to die;
Like thoughts whose very sweetness yieldeth proof
That they were born for immortality.'

Darwin, as a young seminary student at nearby Christ's College, didn't attend the services, but he used to slip in here in the evenings to listen to the choir hymns. He was not exactly a devout student. Our host Mark Pallen described a story of Darwin staying up late drinking with a friend until the two young students fell asleep in their easy chairs.

I imagine him sitting quietly in one of the back pews, drawing inspiration, not from the sermons, but from the music. I find these glimpses into his contradictory nature make me feel connected to him in some way.

Later, Heidi Bernhard-Bubb came out to our talk that was held tonight. For those who might not remember her, she was the York Dispatch reporter slandered by Dover's school board members, who was compelled to testify to the accuracy of her articles. She moved to England about a year after the trial and had a third baby. She looks terrific and stays home raising her babies, while her husband runs a school for autistic children.

Also, the first performance of Rap Guide to Evolution was performed tonight by Baba Brinkman - a Vancouver rapper touring with Cyndi and me.

Amazing summation of Darwin's theories, natural selection, sexual selection...Cyndi and I are blown away - the guy raps the phrase Australopithecus afarensis!

Sample rhyme:
No I wasn't born in Ghana but Africa is my mama
'Cause that's where my mama got her mitochondria
You can try to fight if you wanna, but it's not gonna change me
'Cause it's plain to see, Africans are my people
And if it's not plain to see then your eyes deceive you
I'm talkin' primeval; the DNA in my veins
Tells a story that reasonable people find believable
But it might blow your transistors; Africa
Is the home of our most recent common ancestors
Which means human beings are all brothers and sisters
Tomorrow, on to Westminster Abbey and Darwin's grave.

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