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Richard Dawkins

Multiple heads, not a good evolutionary choice.

Multiple heads, not a good evolutionary choice.

Richard Dawkins spoke at University of Washington today as part of the book tour for his new book. I went to hear him speak because he is Richard Dawkins, I tend to agree with what he says (funny how that sometimes makes events more appealing) and the event was free. Free was a big part of it.

The format was about half an hour of selected readings from his book followed by questions and answers. The excerpts were good, nothing really compelling enough for me to buy the book; I still have not finished The God Delusion. The best part was the question and answer session. Instead of the normal line up to ask a question or write them in and submit them, all of the questions were texted in and selected from a pool of texts.

The best question of the evening was essentially “What is your proof of evolution elevator speech?”. I thought this is a really good question since I have been in situations where I need easy, fast and concrete proof of evolution. He would use either the geographic distribution of species or genetic relationship.s

Geographic distribution is how species are located around the world. All the marsupials in the Australia area, penguins in the antarctic but not arctic and alpacas are only in South America. If Noah’s arc was true then the distribution should be peaked in the middle east with little to no diversity on the edges. Not to mention the tough swim some animals would face.

Genetic relationships are bit tougher to explain quickly, it is the tracing of particular genes among species. From that tracing a family tree of life can be made, no matter which gene is traced the tree comes out the same every time. It might be more convincing (well it is) however it is a harder concept to grasp compared to penguins and kangaroos.

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Questions?

Questions?

Now for questions I have been asked. Well, questions I might be asked since I have not actually been asked any questions by anyone other then myself.

So Michael, what about pre-planned or pre-packaged trips like bus tours?

What a great questions. I have used four tours companies before in: China, Scotland and Ireland. The first was Overseas Adventure Travel with a three week trip in China. The next two were in Scotland: Haggis Adventures and was MacBackpackers. I then did two trips with Paddywagon in Ireland.

OAT is geared more towards travelers in their fifties and above, I was on the trip because my parents and grandmother were planning to go to China and I wanted in. It was a very good trip and I would recommend it to the older and non-hostel crowd. For the duration of the trip you have one guide (though in China we also had local guides) to help with everything.

The other three were more for the 20-30 crowd, overnights were in hostels though some (Paddywagon) allows upgrades to bed and breakfasts. All are bus tours of the areas of interest, I signed up because it was hard to get to where I wanted to go by train and I had no car. Out of the three I went on I found MacBackpackers to be the best with the best guide out all of them. Haggis was good but my trip was only a day trip without overnights. I chose Paddywagon since their tours fit into my schedule the best, they were larger and a bit more impersonal. The one in Northern Ireland was a lot better then the one in the Republic of Ireland. The alternative to Paddywagon in Ireland would be Shamrocker (a cousin to Haggis Adventures). I I recommend the Scotland tours, especially MacBackerpackers Isle of Skye trip, I think Ireland would have been better if I was traveling with someone I knew and we had a rental car.

Are there anymore questions?

Not yet, but I would like to end this series by saying the most important thing to do is relax while traveling and enjoy the trip.

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