Charles Darwin stickers and bookmarks
March 21, 2005 7:40 AM   Subscribe

Charles Darwin has a posse.
posted by sudama (33 comments total)
Great! Just forwarded to my "anti-Intelligent Design" list.
posted by By The Grace of God at 7:48 AM on March 21, 2005

Now all we need's a lynchin'!

I'm joking. I think.
posted by Decani at 7:49 AM on March 21, 2005

That was fun. Thanks!
posted by at 7:49 AM on March 21, 2005

I like the stickers, but I wonder how come they're not sold here?

/doesn't have a printer, doesn't like Kinko's
posted by dhoyt at 7:50 AM on March 21, 2005

see also ranganathan has a posse.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 7:51 AM on March 21, 2005

see also everybody has a friggin posse
posted by Cassford at 7:53 AM on March 21, 2005

hence Too Much Posse.
posted by jonmc at 8:07 AM on March 21, 2005

I want to be in jonmc's posse.
posted by AlexReynolds at 8:11 AM on March 21, 2005


When it comes to posses, this old chestnut says it all, methinks.
posted by jonmc at 8:14 AM on March 21, 2005

Although scientists worldwide view evolution and natural selection as completely uncontroversial, popular support in the United States is waning, especially with respect to the origin of humans.

Can anyone find data to support this? What I can find (just a few Gallop polls on scare-mongering Creationist websites) seem to say that American beliefs on the subject have been pretty flat for the last decade or more.
posted by sohcahtoa at 8:16 AM on March 21, 2005

(Uh, I meant my link wasn't worth an FPP, not this one.)
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:21 AM on March 21, 2005

fearing protests from people who object

fearing protests?

"Oh, heavens, there's people chanting and holding signs! Whatever shall we do?"

What the hell is wrong with people? When did risking offending someone become a capital crime.
posted by jonmc at 8:24 AM on March 21, 2005

Haven't heard of the USA Patriot Act, have ya, jonmc? ;)
posted by LouReedsSon at 8:35 AM on March 21, 2005

That's a law, LRS, and a stupid one, but this was going on long before that. People knuckle under to protests from both the left and the right way too easy, especially over trivial matters, like a fucking IMAX movie.
posted by jonmc at 8:38 AM on March 21, 2005

When did risking offending someone become a capital crime.

The wacko end of political correctness has come home to roost.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:49 AM on March 21, 2005

Just for shits 'n giggles, has anyone read The Handmaid's Tale recently? Margaret Atwood.

I'm seeing some scary parallels between this slippery slope and Gilead.

OT: I've sent the Darwin Posse link to a few beleaguered educators I know.
posted by Corky at 8:59 AM on March 21, 2005

OT: Whatever builds bridges is a good thing. I'm in favor of both God and CD's work. I figure the former created the conditions observed and documented by the latter so there's no conflict in my little world view at least. I don't find truth in extremism of either type.

The wacko end of political correctness has come home to roost.

Yes agree, but unfortunately I don't think we've come to the end yet. Oddly, freedom has become constraint. In a world where anyone can say anything they want, it's also possible for anyone to be offended by anything they want and that has somehow led to a new imperative: give no offence.
posted by scheptech at 9:06 AM on March 21, 2005

Here's an interesting interview with Shepard Fairey, the man who started the whole "...has a posse" ball rolling.

From the interview:
"The other thing is that I'd like to make corporate or mainstream companies not suck as hard, by doing some artwork for them that doesn't insult the consumer. I look at it like "wouldn't it be great if you could turn on the radio and hear great songs even on the top 40's station?". I know this philosophy won't appeal to the elitist who thinks it's cool to be marginalized and special and into the hip things that no one else knows about, but I'm a populist, and I think that attitude is very immature."
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 9:10 AM on March 21, 2005

Only in ShrubCo's America can there be a sustained battle against not only the theory of evolution but the mention of the theory of evolution.

And, in those infamous red states, they appear to winning where science teachers don't even mention the evil "e" word for fear that some idiot redneck will try to get them fired.

The further assault on science and basic sensibilities continues nearly unabated.
posted by fenriq at 10:41 AM on March 21, 2005

By The Grace of God: Did you mean "anti-Intelligent-Design list" or (judging by your username) were you making a funny with the "anti-Intelligent Design" hyphenation?
posted by spock at 11:26 AM on March 21, 2005

I'm all for Darwin, but these stickers are ugly.

And who cares about Darwin's height and weight -- on the Andre the Giant stickers these parody, the height and weight were of interest because that was what distinguished Andre. But if you want to distinguish Darwin, well, show a finch, or a collection of barnacles.

This really sends the wrong message: Darwin isn't notable because he was "cool" or because he had a "posse" -- Darwin is notable because his theory has so much explanatory power, because it's so right and so fundamental to biology.

The way to combat religious zealots who prefer plaster saints to Darwin's explanatory power is not to turn Darwin into our own version of a plaster saint, venerated not for what he thought but as some quasi-religious icon.
posted by orthogonality at 12:41 PM on March 21, 2005

Get rid of these assisne stickes, and replace them with one that's purely text (if you need to be "edgy", print the text in some "hand-written" looking font and use mutiple font sizes), the text of teh final paragraph of The Origin of Species. Then let people ask about the idea, not the man.
It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the conditions of life, and from use and disuse: a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms. Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.
posted by orthogonality at 12:49 PM on March 21, 2005

orthogonality, it seems that you didn't actually read the full site. Note that the Swarthmore site has multiple copies of "the 'blank' bookmark (plain or posse) and add whatever text your heart desires." I bet you can even release your bookmark into the creative commons, so we can all print out copies of it.

You are correct, though, in saying that Darwin isn't notable because he was "cool" or because he had a "posse," but I just don't see what the problem is with having a little bit of fun with the far-too-often maligned founder of modern biology. We worship sports stars and celebrities for no good reason, so why not show a bit of modern admiration to those who are truly deserving, the great minds of our times?

Unclench, please.
posted by LimePi at 1:22 PM on March 21, 2005

The reason that theaters and the like don't want to show movies that might elicit protests is not because of political correctness or some political motive. Wel, that might be part of it, but the main reason is that protests lose you customers, and it's cheaper to just not do the thing the protestors are angry over than the losses they would take otherwise. This is the real power of protest, the ability to hit businesses where they hurt: their finances.
posted by Sangermaine at 2:48 PM on March 21, 2005

The wacko end of political correctness has come home to roost.

All "PC" movements have always been wacko. You think it was safe to distribute anti-Bolshevik fliers in 1923 Russia? How about an anti-Nazi pamphlet in 1937 Germany? How about civil rights workers in 1960s Alabama? Dangerous shit, man, that disallowance of dissent.

Unclench your font, indeed. I liked the quotes on the PDFs better, and yeah, you can make your own anyway.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:59 PM on March 21, 2005

LimePi writes " You are correct, though, in saying that Darwin isn't notable because he was 'cool' or because he had a 'posse,' but I just don't see what the problem is with having a little bit of fun with the far-too-often maligned founder of modern biology."

Because it's not what Darwin would have wanted, and it's bad for science.

Science isn't about "stars" or "celebrities" or heros. It's about truth.

When we start dealing in celebrity, we're tacitly acknowledging we've lost the battle, that science isn't wonderful -- full of wonders -- enough on its own, to captivate the mind.

There is only a little wonder in Darwin the man. He didn't have a cool crib, or a pimped out carriage, or a whack hair-do, or fist-fights with paparazzi, or a gig playing celebrity poker.

The wonder is in his ideas -- the grandeur is in his view of life, not in him. The wonder is in thinking about how each species of fig has a complementary species of fig wasp, and how the figs and fig wasps mimic and trick each other to the greater benefit of both. The wonder is in considering the variety of finches and finches' beaks, and why a millimeter of difference makes all the difference to life and death and inherited form.

When we turn science into some pale imitation of Hollywood or professional athletics, no one wins. Celebrity scientists are typically bad for science: einstein was a genius , we all know, but once he became the archetype of science, his renown held back the acceptance of quantum mechanics. Stephen Gould was celebrity champion of the fight against creationism, but at the expense of lionizing Gould's less successful career as a real biologist, and his mistaken ideas about punctuated equilibria and his condemnation of EO Wilson and evolutionary psychology.

If we lionize Newton the man, we have to discuss his theological writings and beliefs, when it's his mechanics and optics and The Calculus that deserve our attention. And Linus Pauling the man telling us of the wonders of nuclear moratoria (for which he received the Novel Peace Prize) and vitamin-C and did nothing to increase our knowledge of the chemical bonds for which he received his (first) Nobel Prize.

It's a bit like the decline of American Christianity, really -- the earliest days of American Christianity were the preserve of the Cotton Mathers and the Jonathan Edwards, men who, whether you agree with their theology or not, compelled their congregations to study the Bible and confront its meaning, to understand the theology or perish, to confront within themselves the nature of God and Man and their own sinfulness; while the current weak-tea American Christianity that features Biblical illiteracy, theologic incomprehension, and a feel good "personal relationship" with a "personal celebrity Jesus" who demands little more from His flock than more or less regular attendance at church.

The last thing science needs is a bunch of more or less illiterates repeating "Darwin's the kewl, dude! Evolution roxors! Darwin's got a posse!"

We don't need affection for celebrity, or uncomprehending belief -- we need clear, cogent understanding and study to confront the truth, and that's far harder to achieve than pasting a sticker on a wastebasket.
posted by orthogonality at 6:01 PM on March 21, 2005

Evolution roxors.
posted by rocketman at 8:15 PM on March 21, 2005

Because it's not what Darwin would have wanted

orthogonality, how did you come to that conclusion?

Also, you're engaging in a "slippery slope" argument w/r/t the "celebritization of science." Perhaps you should try reading about Dual-Process Persuasion before you discount the value of popularity for popularity's sake.
posted by LimePi at 8:22 PM on March 21, 2005

great idea.
posted by amberglow at 9:41 PM on March 21, 2005

LimePi writes "'Because it's not what Darwin would have wanted'. orthogonality, how did you come to that conclusion?"

Fair point. I didn't conjure up his shade and ask. ;)

But given that he labored twenty years writing Origin, in order to make it as airtight as he could, he seems to me to have put a premium not on celebrity but on science. (Once can argue that his being prompted to publish by Wallace's imminent publication counters that view, and perhaps it does, a bit, but on the whole, I think Darwin comes off more carefully scientific than desirous of celebrity.)

But you tell me: how do you think "Darwin Posse" stickers will be beneficial?
posted by orthogonality at 12:20 AM on March 22, 2005

Quite frankly, aside from a few blogs and maybe some university bathroom stalls, I doubt these stickers will have much penetration into general society.

Which is fine, because they weren't created for the "tweens" to slap on a skate deck. It's an in-joke, and in-jokes have the welcome effect of enhancing group cohesion and promoting morale. Darwin has a posse, and it is we.
posted by LimePi at 1:16 AM on March 22, 2005

But you tell me: how do you think "Darwin Posse" stickers will be beneficial?

Well if it works at all:

For pro-creationists: make him more human and less devil.

For pro-evolutionists: make him more human and less saint.

Both enlightening processes IMHO.
posted by scheptech at 8:15 AM on March 22, 2005

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