Every public building in London is about to collapse

You don’t believe me? Well, this means you’re a doubting Thomas ready to reject incontrovertible evidence before your very eyes.

And if that’s true, as it has to be for lack of any other possible explanation, you’re a reactionary, obscurantist and… well, I’ve promised my wife not to swear during the festive season.

What facts, I hear you ask as you assume a belligerent pose. What on earth makes you think every public building in London is going to come down on our heads?

So happy you’ve asked me this. For now I can present both the facts and the subsequent irrefutable inference. Both boil down to a simple syllogism:

Thesis: The balcony of Apollo Theatre in the West End collapsed last night, injuring 75 people and scaring all others out of their wits. Antithesis: Apollo Theatre is a public building. Synthesis: All public buildings in London are unsafe.

Can you find a hole in this logic? What, big enough to drive a juggernaut through? A sample of one is statistically inadequate? Congratulations! You’ve just proved that the readers of this blog are smarter than the readers and writers of Nature and Science magazines.

Said magazines triumphantly reported the discovery made at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig. Scientists at that venerable institution have managed to decipher the genome of a Neanderthal woman found in an Altai cave.

Actually what was found wasn’t a whole woman but a fragment of her finger bone, but the wonders of modern science are such that her full portrait can be reconstructed with absolute certainty.

The portrait, or perhaps the effigy, can then be put on public display at a science museum, with a plaque saying ‘Neanderthal woman, circa 50,000 years ago’. The plaque won’t tell impressionable visitors that what they’re admiring is merely some conjecture built on a bone fragment. (Chesterton was scathing about this sort of thing in his Everlasting Man.)

There’s no need: the perspicacity of evolutionary scientists can’t be questioned, especially when they’re out to prove that man descends from a single randomly self-created cell and therefore there is no God. So if they can look at a petrified finger joint and deduce that its possessor was a 5-foot tall woman with a broad nose, small brown eyes and large hairy breasts, who can argue against the inference?

Certainly not me, what with my lamentable and self-admitted ignorance of science.

Nor am I going to take issue with the Leipzig chaps’ finding that the finger’s parents were closely related, and therefore practised what in our Burgundian backwater is called le cinéma des pauvres. The local definition of a virgin is a 12-year-old who can outrun her brother, and looking at some of the locals one can believe that the ‘cinema of the poor’ just may be their entertainment of choice.

In fact what the scientists say rings true: the finger’s genetic mix is so limited that it had to come from close relations, like brother and sister. But then things get a bit dicey.

The Leipzig chaps reached, and Nature hacks bullhorned, the conclusion that therefore Neanderthals practised incest en masse. Poor things like the finger lived in caves, which somewhat limited their choice of sex partners.

The gonadically starved darlings had no choice but to turn to the nearest members of the opposite sex: Mum, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, little brother or big sister – whomever they could catch up with and hold down.

This explains why Neanderthals died out: you have your wicked way with next of kin for a few generations, that’s what going to happen. Mind you, the denizens of my Burgundian village haven’t died out yet, and in fact seem to be in robust physical, if not invariably mental, health.

But then again, they haven’t been at it long enough. Give them another 50,000 years, and it’ll be their bone fragments that nine-foot-tall scientists will be digging out of the ground. No doubt they’ll look at a finger or two and reach the conclusion that most Frenchmen and all Burgundians routinely practised incest circa 50,000 years ago, which is why so few of them are now nine-foot-tall.

It has to be said that a sample of one isn’t always regarded as sufficient in most kinds of research. For example, if I were the sole subject of a poll aiming to gauge public sentiments about our MPs, few sociologists would decide on this basis that most Brits regard politicians as vile, self-serving and stupid.

Nor would any sane person conclude on the basis of last night’s Apollo accident that most public buildings in London are about to do a Jericho. The only defensible conclusion is that all those present are entitled to a refund, and those injured to some kind of compensation. Also, they must all be spared inane jokes along the lines of, “Yes, but apart from that, how did you like the play?”

But when atheists are riding their hobby horse they can’t be dismounted. Normal logic, common sense, intellectual honesty and even scientific integrity have to fall by the wayside.

So yes, because the finger’s parents were kin, all Neanderthals were incestuous perverts who were too lazy to walk a few hundred yards to another cave full of willing females to whom they weren’t related.

That’s why they all became extinct, but not before evolving into Richard Dawkins. What other conclusion can there possibly be? Other than that there is no God because evolutionary anthropologists say so? None at all.

The Altai finger, RIP.





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