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Mutation, part II

June 17, 2011

I know the question is going to come, probably sooner than later because I allow my tiny children and their developing minds to watch the X-Men franchise movies.

What is a mutant, what is mutation, how does it happen, and is it real?

It’s the key to evolution. It’s what makes my eyes green. It’s what makes Daddy and Georgia’s hair auburn.

It’s what triggered our evolution from single-celled organisms to bilaterally symmetrical invertebrates to fish to fish with jawbones to fish with four fins to a variant of lungfish to amphibians to reptiles (but not dinosaurs) to mammals to primates to hominids to modern humans. We’ll talk about Lucy the Skeleton, and Neanderthals, and about the possibility that we’re part Neanderthal ourselves on account of Daddy’s red hair.

We’re going to talk about how some people don’t believe in evolution, and we’re going to talk about Galileo and the Scopes Monkey Trial, and we’re going to talk about why my kids are in private school, and how it’s okay to teach both creationism (in religion class) and evolution (in science class) and about faith versus reason and how it’s not really a versus, but a both-and.

It’s going to be a lot of fun.

I’m not going to stop there.

I’m going to tell my children that gene mutation is what causes cancer, and that it happened to me, and we don’t know whether it happened in the genes I was born with, perhaps the genes I passed down to them, or whether it was a freak thing that happened after. I will tell them that I think it’s the latter, but that I can’t say for sure.

I can only hope that their takeaway is that perhaps I am also hiding a super power.

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  1. You are awesome. I aspire to parent like you.

    And: Michael Fassbender is hawt. Have you checked him out in “Jane Eyre” [2011] yet?

  2. Jane Eyre is the book that jangles all of my strings. I haven’t seen it yet. I should, just for the hawtness of Michael Fassbender, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to stomach the myth that Love Will Change Your Abusive Man, if you only try harder. Maybe if they do a remake of it like they did Pride and Prejudice, with zombies, I’d like it more.

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