In The Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection, Charles Darwin comments (Chapter I, "Variation Under Domestication") in charming fashion on the extraordinary genius for unnatural selection possesed by the best animal breeders:

... If selection consisted merely in separating some very distinct variety, and breeding from it, the principle would be so obvious as hardly to be worth notice; but its importance consists in the great effect produced by the accumulation in one direction, during successive generations, of differences absolutely inappreciable by an uneducated eye — differences which I for one have vainly attempted to appreciate. Not one man in a thousand has accuracy of eye and judgment sufficient to become an eminent breeder. If gifted with these qualities, and he studies his subject for years, and devotes his lifetime to it with indomitable perseverance, he will succeed, and may make great improvements; if he wants any of these qualities, he will assuredly fail. Few would readily believe in the natural capacity and years of practice requisite to become even a skilful pigeon-fancier.

(cf. LightOfEvolution (24 Apr 2006), ...)

TopicScience - TopicLiterature - 2006-08-11

(correlates: UnknownFriend, WutheringHeights, Comments on ToThePain, ...)