View Full Version : Richard Dawkins gives an update on his condition after his recent stroke

04-29-2016, 04:57 PM
“Altogether you forget what fantastically precise an instrument the human hand is, I was reminded when struggling with buttons of a levelly passage in Steve Pinkers how the mind works, about the hand he says ‘The hand can be configured into a hook grip [to lift a pail], a scissors grip [to hold a cigarette], a five jaw chuck [to lift a coaster], a three jaw chuck [to hold a pencil], a two jaw pad to pad chuck [to thread a needle], a two jaw pad to side chuck [to hold a key], a squeeze grip [to hold a hammer], a disc grip [to open a jar], and a spherical grip [to hold a ball]. Each grip needs the precise combination of muscle tensions that mould the hand into the right shape and keep it there as the load tries to bend it back. Think of lifting a milk carton, too loose a grasp and you drop it; too tight and you crush it; and with some gentle rocking, you can even use the tugging on your fingertips as a gauge of how much milk is inside!’ I cant help wondering what was the original selection pressure that led to the evolution of such a precise an instrument as the human hand, one that can even do up buttons. It reminds me of a passage about my childhood in an Appetite for Wonder, this is written by my mother, it’s a memoir she wrote which I reproduced in the book referring to when I was five, “February was bitterly cold and spartan and Richards confidence ebbed and he took to having a stammer. He couldn’t cope with his clothes. Having lived most of his life in very few garments (that’s because I was brought up in Africa), buttons and shoe-laces defeated him and the grandparents thought he was backward: ‘Cant he dress himself yet?’” That’s how I feel now a bit back to childhood.”

- Richard Dawkins

“We will show them Our signs in the horizons and within themselves until it becomes clear to them that it is the truth. But is it not sufficient concerning your Lord that He is over all things, a Witness?” (Quran 41:53)

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