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It made Tyrannosaurus rex. It made Bin Laden too.
February 7, 2011 10:48 AM   Subscribe

Evolution Made Us All
posted by brundlefly (52 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Bid Laden"? FML.
posted by brundlefly at 10:49 AM on February 7, 2011


Species arise, species become extinct. There's never a miscommunication.
posted by fleetmouse at 10:51 AM on February 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


Boy, that's got something to piss off everyone. Plus a lamprey eel!
posted by chavenet at 10:52 AM on February 7, 2011


Score one for the baby cow eaters!
posted by phunniemee at 10:53 AM on February 7, 2011


While this is an amusing snub at the evolution deniers, it really plays into their arguments in some ways: positioning evolution as a "replacement god" (idolatry in their terms).

I don't think it's a valuable approach.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 10:56 AM on February 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


Plus a lamprey eel!

You can never go too wrong with a lamprey eel. Except, you know, by getting into the water with one.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:56 AM on February 7, 2011


Man I hate bad child singers.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:00 AM on February 7, 2011


, it really plays into their arguments in some ways: positioning evolution as a "replacement god" (idolatry in their terms).

That's not an argument, it's a dismissal. And they managed to come up with it without evidence, I don't think they're going to back down from it for lack of evidence. Might as well have some fun with it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:02 AM on February 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


love it. I LOLed at the 'going to hell' line.
posted by milestogo at 11:02 AM on February 7, 2011


While this is an amusing snub at the evolution deniers, it really plays into their arguments in some ways: positioning evolution as a "replacement god" (idolatry in their terms).

The people who are too stupid to grasp that this is exactly what the video is mocking are the last people we should allow to dictate the limitations of satire.
posted by fleetmouse at 11:03 AM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Might as well have some fun with it.

I certainly have a deep history of mockery, that's for sure - but I'm slowly starting to ask myself: what is gained by seeking to make people on the other side of an important argument feel bad? What's the point of being right and having my own moral code if I just use it to humiliate others? If I make the purpose of my existence to be about proving that morality and righteousness have no corollary to religion then how can I justify seeking to make others lesser humans for their life's journey? High road, etc....
posted by victors at 11:13 AM on February 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


I much preferred the Monty Python version. Not nearly as pompous. Only a matter of time until it's linked, I imagine.
posted by koeselitz at 11:13 AM on February 7, 2011


Everyone, it seems, has an opinion about evolution.
posted by Danf at 11:16 AM on February 7, 2011


That was just stupid, poorly thought-out and needlessly combative.
posted by oddman at 11:17 AM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for men of good will to tear down the hilarious work of other men of good will.
posted by DU at 11:18 AM on February 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


AZ, I agreed that it was fun, I just didn't find it useful. There is a percent of the population that will respond to education, this is just preaching to the choir.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 11:22 AM on February 7, 2011


this is just preaching to the choir.

That kind of language is not a valuable approach.
posted by stbalbach at 11:24 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


There is a percent of the population that will respond to education, this is just preaching to the choir.

Sometimes even the choir gets to enjoy an in-joke. I think you may be mistaking comedy for debate.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:30 AM on February 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


What's the point of being right and having my own moral code if I just use it to humiliate others?

I don't actually see this as humiliating anybody. I guess a case could be made that, because it uses a hymn, it's profaning something Christian. But the hymn itself is based on an old English melody called "Royal Oak," so it;s not like the Christians have a unique right to it, or it didn't start out profane.

I think people would be ill-advised to link to this in a church's online newsletter, but on its own it is what it is: A joke than can easily be enjoyed by those who are likely to enjoy it and ignored by those who aren't.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:33 AM on February 7, 2011


Viewed solely as a comedy bit, I suppose it is mildly humorous. As a parent of children who are starting elementary school, however, I do sort of resent the religion v. atheism flamewar and the way that the religion side of it demonizes science while the atheism side attempts to appropriate it for its agenda. I want my kids to enjoy, understand, and use science on its own terms, without having it be used as a pawn in what is, ultimately, a political fight.

I really enjoy the opportunities I have to talk with them and teach them about organic evolution, biology, the history of the universe, and similar topics. But it makes me dread the day when they're exposed to some jerk with an agenda on one side or the other of the religion v. atheism thing.
posted by The World Famous at 11:40 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


*laughs at video*

*comes back to read the mefi comments*

Sorry, I forgot about the part where this was the internet. ಠ_ಠ
posted by d1rge at 11:58 AM on February 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


> Sometimes even the choir gets to enjoy an in-joke. I think you may be mistaking comedy for debate.

While I can't speak for anyone else, I wasn't so much mistaking this attempt at comedy for debate as I was upset that this attempt at comedy undermines the point of atheist proselytising in the same was that I'm upset when someone does *anything* LOLXIANS.
posted by Fraxas at 12:32 PM on February 7, 2011


That's fair. I'm about as rabid as anybody when it comes to respecting the religious, even if we may disagree with them. In this instance, though, I didn't see it so much as mocking Christians as creating as counter-hymn.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:38 PM on February 7, 2011


I much preferred the Monty Python version. Not nearly as pompous. Only a matter of time until it's linked, I imagine.

Yep, here's the Python take on the same original hymn.

Still one of my favorite satirical songs ever.
posted by the other side at 12:57 PM on February 7, 2011


Whoops.
posted by the other side at 12:57 PM on February 7, 2011


I stopped watching after 1 second and by God I want that 1 second back.
posted by dougrayrankin at 1:11 PM on February 7, 2011


"Bid Laden"? FML.

The youtube version substitutes Sarah Palin.
posted by spasm at 1:21 PM on February 7, 2011


"I certainly have a deep history of mockery, that's for sure - but I'm slowly starting to ask myself: what is gained by seeking to make people on the other side of an important argument feel bad? What's the point of being right and having my own moral code if I just use it to humiliate others? If I make the purpose of my existence to be about proving that morality and righteousness have no corollary to religion then how can I justify seeking to make others lesser humans for their life's journey? High road, etc..."

The nature of politics is the same as that of a schoolyard argument. Nothing has changed for us as we have gotten older, except perhaps we are more sophisticated about it.

Except in fields such as mathematics, arguments are not won by reason and logic. Arguments are won by berating and intimidating one's opponent until they are afraid to speak or act. We like to tell ourselves that we are rational human beings. However, all that pretending to be rational is just a salve for our irrational selves. We pretend to be civilized.

Lawyers and politicians are often castigated for their treatment of the law as a "playground for manipulation". Though they deserve contempt for this, they nevertheless have a far more realistic grasp of "the law" as it is practiced than the layman.

Laws are excuses. Reason and rationality are just tools to be used. If your position is not supported by reason and rationality, you aren't at a serious disadvantage. You just can't lay claim to those tools. However, there are of course plenty of opportunities to lie and obfuscate so that others cannot see your weakness. Turn your disadvantage into strength. Smear the reasonable as "fence sitting cowards" and paint the rational as "intellectual elites". Attack logic itself.

This is why we mock the willfully ignorant. This is why we torment malevolent stupidity. Reason and rationality are useful only when both sides agree to respect reason and rationality. As they say, you can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into.

You have to crush them.

I wish this wasn't the case. If I sound cynical, it's because I used to believe that being factually and demonstrably correct was good enough to persuade people. I was wrong.

You have to crush them.
posted by Xoebe at 1:37 PM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


If I sound cynical

you don't sound cynical to me. you sound like you're in pain.
posted by victors at 2:01 PM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Evolution Made Us All

This makes it sound like Evolution is some sort of God/Creator.

Evolution is a process through which we made ourselves.

That is until science comes up with a better explanation.
posted by three blind mice at 2:25 PM on February 7, 2011


The nature of politics is the same as that of a schoolyard argument.

You said it all right there.

Arguments are won by berating and intimidating one's opponent until they are afraid to speak or act.

Actually that's only partially true. That's how political power is obtained sometimes, sure. but it's not how arguments are won in the sense of actually arriving at accurate information, agreeing on the right things, resolving disputes, or arriving at the best possible outcomes.

Lawyers and politicians are often castigated for their treatment of the law as a "playground for manipulation".

Sure. Some litigators do use intimidation and berating as a tactical device in discovery and some motion practice. But they don't ultimately win cases by berating and intimidating their opponent until they are afraid to speak or act. They win by effectively advocating their position to a neutral finder of fact and law. Litigation is not politics. It is sometimes political. But it's not a schoolyard argument.

This is why we mock the willfully ignorant.

I agree with you. You mock people you think are willfully ignorant because you're intentionally choosing to behave as the bully aggressor in a schoolyard argument. In short, you are willfully ignorant - because you think that willful ignorance is the most effective political tactic. See that thing flying out the window with the bathwater? That's the baby. As soon as you care more about winning than about actually arriving at the right outcome, you lose.

This is why we torment malevolent stupidity.

By intentionally employing tactics that, by your own admission, use reason and logic merely as tools, pretend to be civilized, and berate and intimidate intentionally, you are, by definition, malevolent. And doing so in the ostensible service of the advancement of reason and truth is, frankly, stupid. If you feel tormented, that might be part of the reason why.

Reason and rationality are useful only when both sides agree to respect reason and rationality.

But if the whole point of your side of the debate is to conquer unsupported, false superstition and to advance what is reasoned and rational, you automatically lose when you reject and abandon reason and rationality. What side are you on? If you're not on the side of reason and rationality, you have joined the other side. The fact that your stupid, irrational, malevolent bullshit is different than theirs doesn't change the fact that you switched from the side of reason to the side of malevolent bullshit.

As they say, you can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into.

Then again, if you're not willing to use reason, you cannot very well criticize someone else's unwillingness to use it, can you? (But yeah, you can reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into. That's the whole point of reason.)

I used to believe that being factually and demonstrably correct was good enough to persuade people. I was wrong.

At some point in life, people have to ask themselves whether it's more important to them to actually be virtuous or to be perceived as virtuous by others. As you discovered, it is much more difficult to be both of those things than it is to just pick one. You picked the latter, it seems. But that doesn't mean you have to berate people who are strive either to be both or to settle for the former.
posted by The World Famous at 2:28 PM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I want my kids to enjoy, understand, and use science on its own terms, without having it be used as a pawn in what is, ultimately, a political fight.

Oddly enough, I feel similarly about religion. Perfectly fine thing to enjoy, understand and use, on its own terms.
posted by chavenet at 2:44 PM on February 7, 2011


I agree, chavenet. I am a bit suspicious, though, of using religion on its own terms as a general policy. Science is, by its nature, a method of neutral, objective observation and interpretation. Religion not so much.
posted by The World Famous at 2:49 PM on February 7, 2011


till I heard that brat I believed in evolution. Now I am no longer so sure.
posted by Postroad at 2:50 PM on February 7, 2011


Oddly enough, I feel similarly about stoning infidels. Perfectly fine thing to enjoy, understand and use, on its own terms.

Oh, you meant the wishy-washy feel-good bits of religion that you personally like, not the inconvenient bits about not eating bacon and killing gay people and how women are to blame for everything.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:21 PM on February 7, 2011


not the inconvenient bits about not eating bacon and killing gay people and how women are to blame for everything

cute. all I'm saying is that for me personally, I'm having a harder and harder time justifying advocating for compassion from a place of sarcastic hostility.
posted by victors at 3:38 PM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


First they came for the Quakers, 'cause they were easy.
posted by No Robots at 3:41 PM on February 7, 2011


not the inconvenient bits about not eating bacon and killing gay people and how women are to blame for everything

Well, there's also the bits about pursuing justice. You can't scream at somebody from trimming off the parts they don't like and then go and trim off the parts you don't like.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:02 PM on February 7, 2011


Personally, I think everyone should watch Carl Sagan's Cosmos before they diss science as being a cold and depressing way to view life as many religious people do (ie "You're saying my kids were just an accident of the chaos!?" or, my favorite, "You're calling people animals!"). Yes, I know the details of the science in the show are pretty outdated these days, but the general ideas are sound, and shows that just because your philosophy isn't tied to a creator god doesn't mean the world is a depressing place.

Carl Sagan may not have ever declared his religion, but I think his approach to the unknown and zest for knowledge is something anyone could appreciate.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:28 PM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


One of the reasons that I don't like tone arguments is that it's a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. If you joke, you're mean-spirited, and if you don't you're humorless. It's something that was made clear to me when the Brazos Valley Atheist Vuvuzela Atheist Marching Band was criticized for humming Jingle Bells and wishing onlookers a Merry Christmas.

So certainly I'm not going to go out of my way to offend, but neither am I going to let people who just plain find me offensive set the rules for the proper tone.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:19 PM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


what is gained by seeking to make people on the other side of an important argument feel bad?

Can you think of anything that is gained by making them feel good?
posted by HiroProtagonist at 5:25 PM on February 7, 2011


I don't have to think of it, I have experience trying it both ways.

I used to adhere to Sam Harris' very logical point that moderately religious folks enable fundamentalist behavior which enables terrible things. I never wasted an opportunity to mention this to religious people. That got me absolutely nowhere. The argument was logical and useless at the same time.

Like I said above, this is a transition period for me - I'm now trying being compassionate by example rather by just words. So far, I've had far more (i.e. non-zero) success by appealing to a religious person's compassionate side. I know for a fact that at least 2 formerly anti-gay marriage religious people have completely turned around their opinion.

I'm now starting to think that as long as a person is without prejudice and finds peace then I don't give a rat's ass if they used some cut-up version of the bible or koran to get there. Fuck it, I'll take it.

To the 95% of Born Again Christians that make up 45% of all of Americans who see me as less morally righteous as them because I'm an atheist, well, I'm hard pressed to lecture them on compassion when i don't demonstrate it toward them. I just can't figure how treating them with loathing disdain proves anything at all. I certainly don't feel like a better person when i do that....
posted by victors at 6:08 PM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


till I heard that brat I believed in evolution. Now I am no longer so sure.

Clearly you were never a real evolutionist.
posted by fleetmouse at 6:33 PM on February 7, 2011


I really enjoy the opportunities I have to talk with them and teach them about organic evolution, biology, the history of the universe, and similar topics. But it makes me dread the day when they're exposed to some jerk with an agenda on one side or the other of the religion v. atheism thing.

You know, TWF, I really do understand what you want to do with your kids, and I do respect it. But this is a situation where no matter what you try to do, someone is going to politicize it.

And I can tell you that taking evolution out of the picture of biology guts our modern understanding of everything related to biological processes. So the people who want to talk about how evolution is just a theory are exactly like people claiming that gravity is an unproven hypothesis which should not be covered in physics class, or people who think you must teach mathematics without algebra. It just doesn't make sense as a unified field without it.

And it's a struggle in every biology class across the nation, except the ones in which the people who don't want evolution taught have won. I have, myself, sat in classrooms with people who told the entire class that they were taking biology degrees to further their attempts to fight evolution being taught, which is a feat of deliberate ignorance similar to the previously mentioned mathematician who doesn't think algebra is a valid part of mathematical theory.

So I can understand your feelings, but at the same time, I feel really sorry for the little kids who will be taught the cored-out remnants of a beautiful, moving and fascinating science because the central theory upon which the rest of the science hangs is inconvenient to some people's preconceived notions of what the world is and can be.

I don't see how, in those circumstances, the situation cannot be politicized, even if I agree that it's regrettable. But I'm not the one putting stickers on textbooks that disclaim that the book teaches ideas not sanctioned by the school, when the ideas not sanctioned by the school are essential to understanding anything about a science.
posted by winna at 9:39 PM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I dunno, I think this particular video could have been a lot funnier if it got more combative and less appropriate. The Monty Python version certainly is (in part because it's just a bit of filler and not presented as a big production – the "it's all crap anyway" is implied).
posted by furiousthought at 12:26 AM on February 8, 2011


Religion v. Evolution - Causing snarky derails on the internets since 1995ish

I, for one, can't wait 'til we evolve past this.
posted by empatterson at 6:40 AM on February 8, 2011


You know, TWF, I really do understand what you want to do with your kids, and I do respect it.

Based on your comment, I'm not sure my comment was written well enough to really explain myself to you, actually. I don't want to take evolution out of the picture of biology. And I recognize that, no matter what I do, someone is going to politicize it. My consternation at that fact was the point of my comment.

So I can understand your feelings, but at the same time, I feel really sorry for the little kids who will be taught the cored-out remnants of a beautiful, moving and fascinating science because the central theory upon which the rest of the science hangs is inconvenient to some people's preconceived notions of what the world is and can be.

I don't understand how this is a response to what I wrote. I want my children - and, indeed, all children - to be taught science completely and accurately and without the inclusion of any "controversy" invented by either side of the religion v. atheism thing. I don't want them taught anything "cored-out." I have been teaching them about evolution since they were old enough to listen, and I will continue to do so. And I will fight to keep evolution in their public school education and to keep out any intervention in their education by anyone with an agenda on either side of the religion v. atheism thing.
posted by The World Famous at 10:21 AM on February 8, 2011


The World Famous: I don't recall any of the fights in school boards and courtrooms about evolution being a "religion v. atheism thing."
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:13 AM on February 8, 2011


It's actually been something of a pet peeve since reading Monkey Girl and the Kitzmiller court decision. Pivotal to the case was Tammy Kitzmiller's testimony that ID curriculum violated her religious rights as a Roman Catholic to provide her own religious instruction on human origins. Practically speaking, evolution battles involve churchgoing parents on both sides of the policy.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:31 AM on February 8, 2011


I don't recall any of the fights in school boards and courtrooms about evolution being a "religion v. atheism thing."

Sorry, I wasn't quoting anyone there. I agree with you that, often, battles over evolution education in public schools involve religious people on both sides of the argument. I suppose I could amend my prior comments so that, rather than saying "religion v. atheism thing" I say "religion thing." But that doesn't really fully capture what I'm trying to say. Going back to my prior statements that I "dread the day when they're exposed to some jerk with an agenda on one side or the other of the religion v. atheism thing," let's amend that one to read: I dread the day when my children are exposed to some jerk with an agenda about religion - regardless of whether or not that person is religious - who uses organic evolution (or, more broadly, science) as a vehicle for advancing that agenda. Does that work? I think, KirkJobSluder, that you and I likely see eye to eye on the issue, actually.
posted by The World Famous at 11:45 AM on February 8, 2011


Fair tales say a frog becomes a prince. "Scientists" call it Evolution. ("Anti-evolution bumber sticker... Oh, the Midwest")

And New Mexico Bill Seeks to Protect Anti-Science Education: If educators in New Mexico want to teach evolution or climate change as a “controversial scientific topic,” a new bill seeks to protect them from punishment.
D. For purposes of this section:

(1) "controversial scientific topic" includes biological origins, biological evolution, causes of climate change, human cloning and other scientific topics that are often viewed by society as controversial; and

(2) "scientific information" means information derived from observation, experimentation and analyses regarding various aspects of the natural world conducted to determine the nature of or principles behind the aspects being studied. "Scientific information" may include information that coincides or harmonizes with religious tenets, but does not include information derived from religious writings, beliefs or doctrines."
I've observed none of my relatives remotely resemble monkeys. Thus, evolution is bunk. Go New Science!
posted by filthy light thief at 4:19 PM on February 8, 2011


I've observed none of my relatives remotely resemble monkeys.

Lucky you.
posted by HiroProtagonist at 6:07 PM on February 8, 2011


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