An Evolutionary Tale- The Power of Accumulating Mistakes
On the Derivation of Ulysses from Don Quixote
I IMAGINE THIS story being told to me by Jorge Luis Borges one evening in a Buenos Aires cafe.
His voice dry and infinitely ironic, the aging, nearly blind literary master observes that "the Ulysses," mistakenly attributed to the Irishman James Joyce, is in fact derived from "the Quixote."
I raise my eyebrows.
Borges pauses to sip discreetly at the bitter coffee our waiter has placed in front of him, guiding his hands to the saucer.
"The details of the remarkable series of events in question may be found at the University of Leiden," he says. "They were conveyed to me by the Freemason Alejandro Ferri in Montevideo."
Borges wipes his thin lips with a linen handkerchief that he has withdrawn from his breast pocket.
"As you know," he continues, "the original handwritten text of the Quixote was given to an order of French Cistercians in the autumn of 1576."
I hold up my hand to signify to our waiter that no further service is needed.
"Curiously enough, for none of the brothers could read Spanish, the Order was charged by the Papal Nuncio, Hoyo dos Monterrey (a man of great refinement and implacable will), with the responsibility for copying the Quixote, the printing press having then gained no currency in the wilderness of what is now known as the department of Auvergne. Unable to speak or read Spanish, a language they not unreasonably detested, the brothers copied the Quixote over and over again, re-creating the text but, of course, compromising it as well, and so inadvertently discovering the true nature of authorship. Thus they created Fernando Lor's Los Hombres d'Estado in 1585 by means of a singular series of copying errors, and then in 1654 Juan Luis Samorza's remarkable epistolary novel Por Favor by the same means, and then in 1685, the errors having accumulated sufficiently to change Spanish into French, Moliere's Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, their copying continuous and indefatigable, the work handed down from generation to generation as a sacred but secret trust, so that in time the brothers of the monastery, known only to members of the Bourbon house and, rumor has it, the Englishman and psychic Conan Doyle, copied into creation Stendhal's The Red and the Black and Flaubert's Madame Bovary, and then as a result of a particularly significant series of errors, in which French changed into Russian, Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Anna Karenina. Late in the last decade of the 19th century there suddenly emerged, in English, Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, and then the brothers, their numbers reduced by an infectious disease of mysterious origin, finally copied the Ulysses into creation in 1902, the manuscript lying neglected for almost thirteen years and then mysteriously making its way to Paris in 1915, just months before the British attack on the Somme, a circumstance whose significance remains to be determined."
I sit there, amazed at what Borges has recounted. "Is it your understanding, then," I ask, "that every novel in the West was created in this way?"
"Of course," replies Borges imperturbably. Then he adds: "Although every novel is derived directly from another novel, there is really only one novel, the Quixote."
The above is from David Berlinski's the Deniable Darwin - an oldie but goodie that I can't help thinking about every time someone spews universal common descent is a fact.
The question is do evolutionists really think the above scenario is possible? It seems to me the answer would be yes. But don't forget these people think "The Island of Dr Moreau" is a documentary showing what changing DNA can do to forms.