Blind dates

Dear Johnny Fanboy,

While listening to the BBC's recent release of the otherwise excellent 1960s Radio 4 Day of the Triffids audio play, I spotted a bad mistake. When a member of one of the groups of sighted people declares that they will have to be responsible for repopulating the world, he says that they can accommodate a number of blind women, as they can give birth to sighted children. But no blind men are to be entertained.

Why is this? If they took in a number of blind people of both sexes, surely they'd be able to repopulate the planet faster. The blindness is not genetic and so won't be passed on to the next generation. Surely he should suggest a number of both men and women should be chosen from the blind community to go with them.

Alison Powell

Johnny Fanboy replies:

Maybe the guy just wants to have as many women for himself as possible! The fewer men there are, the more partners each man can have.

Seriously though, sexism aside, it's a biological fact that small populations need more women than men in order to achieve rapid population growth. This is because a woman produces only one egg per month and it takes nine months to carry a baby to term - and that's assuming the pregnancy is successful. On the other hand, a fertile man can happily sleep around and knock up as many women as he cares to.

It sounds as though the group in question has enough men already, and now they need extra women to achieve as many pregnancies as possible. There would be little point in hindering the group with more blind men.

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