Saturday, 18 March 2006

The Best Quotation in the History of Everything: Why Intelligent Women Shouldn't Reproduce (Circa 1900) [To all thems I owe 1) an email, 2) a theoretical justification for historicism or 3) an update on the state of the Valve's publishing enterprise . . . I apologize. I will reconnect with y'all on the other side of this chapter.] Those of you who don't keep close eye on my progress may be confused by my vehement assertion that the following quotation is the Best Quotation in the History of Everything: "I have sometimes been led to think that over brain-work tends not only to stunt the body and to contract the pelvis, but, by the law of evolution, to develop bigger headed offspring, or at least offspring with heads relatively disproportioned to the pelvis of the mother." "That's sorta awesome Scott," y'all say, "But, um, why?" Because Silas Weir Mitchell wrote it. For months now I've been digging through vast pastures of Mitchell's prose in search of direct evidence of his Lamarckian tendencies. Until yesterday I had found nothing. Because I've read his prose and poetry and scientific disquisitions, I knew him to be a Lamarckian . . . only I couldn't prove it. I had to rely on induction and forceful interpretation to establish his indebtedness to Lamarck. I knew I had him pegged but couldn't be certain others wouldn't tilt their heads quizzically when they read my chapter. Now I'm certain they won't. When hiring committees read my writing sample they'll know I'm not peddling nonsense. I caught Mitchell red-handed. He is a Lamarckian. There is no other evolutionary model popular at the time which assumes that an increase in the intelligence of a mother 1) increases the size of said mother's brain, which 2) increases the diameter of said mother's head, which 3) she passes on to her children, thereby 4) increasing the diameter of her baby's brain-pan and 5) the likelihood of a difficult birth. More succinctly: I win. Now will somebody give me a cookie already?

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