Neddie draws our attention to two, connected, facts. It is 80 years this week since the Scopes Monkey Trial in Dayton, Tennessee. And the Smithsonian Institution has unearthed a bunch of long-lost pictures taken during the trial.

Being Neddie, he neatly sidesteps the issue everyone else would have glommed onto and presents, instead, an argument for the straw hat as fashion accessory and the decline of presentable dress in general, and today's lack of writers like H.L. Mencken. With the second I have no argument. But I question Neddie's characterization of the straw skimmer as "the single most beautiful thing ever to adorn the human male head". Now it is true that Scopes looks quite the guy in the picture Neddie posted. But selective quotation is everything, even with images.

Look, instead, at this one, and I submit that what you see is a pair of plonkers. And the boaters make them so.

Personally, and speaking as a plonker who not only owned a boater but wore it in public more than once, give me the slightly disheveled elegance of the Revd Howard Gale Byrd.

Byrd resigned as pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church North in Dayton because members of his congregation had objected a visiting minister, Rev. Charles Francis Potter of the West Side Unitarian Church in New York City, proposed to preach on the topic of evolution.

I can't help with the grammar of that quotation from the Smithsonian, but I can offer just one thought of my own on the matter.

How can anyone fail to appreciate the beauty, subtlety, wisdom, inevitability and sheer delight of Evolution by Natural Selection? Seriously. Given a choice between an explanation of such excellence that asks, and then proceeds to answer, so many intriguing questions, and a doctrinal injunction to believe, why would anyone prefer the latter?

Bertrand Russell said it best. "Many people would sooner die than think. In fact they do."

P.S. Nuts, relax. Put away your flies. I almost certainly will not be tempted to rise.

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