Monday, November 1, 2010

People I would have liked to have met, but it's too late now: Leigh Van Valen

"Stomp your feet, crack your tail, 6.6 on the Richter scale!"

Who wouldn't want to meet the guy like Leigh Van Valen who wrote these words to "Sex Among the Dinosaurs?" Or someone who provides insight into evolution through comparisons to Alice and the Red Queen? Well, unfortunately he died on Oct. 16, which I read about in a whimsically written NY Times obit on Sunday.

All things evolution have fascinated me since 10th grade biology and Darwin's theory and way of thinking has been a lynchpin of the way I approach many issues beyond the narrow frame of science.  I haven't read as much as I should, though I have a stack of books sitting around waiting. I even remember when there were some shenanigans in Kansas over evolution telling Randi that we have to push back on basic issues such as this.

Van Valen was an out of the box thinker and there are no more stimulating people. I had never heard of him until yesterday but I hope to add some of his writings if available (he never wrote a book) to my pile.

With up to 70% of the Tea Party crowd not believing in evolution, I better get Van Valen's stuff before tomorrow's election after which we just may see a large bonfire on Capitol Hill.

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