1.Thus it came to pass that in the eighth year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, when Macmillan was governor of Westminster, a youth by the name of Richard Dawkins went to Oxford to study zoology.
2. And he learned the ways of the ferret, yeah and the ways of the terrapin. The ways of the donkey and the vole studied he also, and for many days he studied the ways of the earwig. And... (Get on with it. God.)
3. But the way of the marsh-wiggle studied he not, nor the ravenous bugblatter beast of Traal. Neither did he study the way of the snark.
4. Nor indeed did he study the ways of the cookie monster. For the learned professors in their wisdom said unto Richard, "These animals are a snare and a delusion, and not real animals at all."
A snare and a delusion
5. And Richard was troubled in his heart and said, "Surely this proves that God is also a delusion?" For logic was not his strong point.
6. Thus after three years of study, in which he learned the ways of the possum, yeah and the ways of the whelk... (I said, get on with it. God.)
7. It came to pass that Richard said to himself, "I am as clever as anyone else round here, and I shall write a thesis on animal behaviour."
8. And the learned doctors they said, "Richard, thou whose mind is as the icebergs of the north, vast but frozen, go thou forth and write a thesis on models of animal decision-making."
9. And Richard said, "Yea, I shall tell the world how chickens make decisions. How doth the little chicken know when to say 'cheep' and when to remain silent? How doth a wise chicken weigh up the evidence and decide that there is no God? Why doth the foolish chicken sing 'cluck' to the Lord?"
A decisive chicken
10. Thus three years passed, and Richard wrote his mighty thesis. And the men of Oxford said, "Richard, you are too brainy for us. Go thou to Berkeley."
11. And Richard took unto himself a wife, the first of three comely wenches to be fascinated by his charm and animal magnetism, and he made his way to California, the land of the fanatical, the deranged, and the exhibitionist. Strangely, he felt at home there.
12. And it came to pass after three more years, that Richard decided that the time had come to grow into manhood, for he was twenty-nine years of age and people were starting to say, "Surely this limey kook is the oldest hippie on campus?"
13. And so Richard returned to Oxford, there to take up the post of lecturer in zoology.
14. And he spake unto the people, telling them the ways of the hedgehog, and the emu, and... (I warned you. God.)
An Oxford zoologist