Monday, March 06, 2006
Hot Burger Fat

So, I've just undertaken a reading of Richard Dawkins' The Ancestor's Tale. I've barely started it (and I probably won't tuck in in earnest until I finish re-reading Katherine Dunn's Geek Love.) But I've been increasingly fascinated by the (ahem) "controversy" surrounding evolution, and wanted to better understand. To put it simply: wherever the fundies decide to pick a fight, I want to be intellectually prepared to resist them. (Though why I should have to, 81 years after Scopes, is a bitch-session for another day.) As a reasonably well-educated, fairly intellectual woman, I already understand the rough outlines of evolutionary theory, and I'm equipped for all-purpose critical thinking; but I also know that there's a lot I don't know. I figured it would be a good thing to fill in some of the gaps, and Dawkins seems like the man for the job.

But I'm always curious to see what other people who've read a given book think, so I turned to for a preview. Most of the reviews were lucid and reasonable. And then, predictably, a few were hysterical -- in both senses of the word. You gotta read this stuff, it's a work of faith-based genius:

If life had been evolving for billions of years then surely even animals like goats and squirrels would have turned into humans by now.

Maybe they got a look at you and decided they were better off hoarding nuts in their cheeks and eating garbage. I couldn't blame 'em.

A simple syllogism proves that existence must have been Created:

Things that exist must have been created
Existence exists
Therefore existence must have been created

Stupid people make stupid assumptions.
Your argument hinges on a stupid assumption.

Many of nature's wonders - such as the motor-driven tails of the bacterium Helicobacter - simply cannot be accounted for by the incremental genetic framework proposed by evolutionists such as Dawkins. Like a George Foreman GRP4P Next Grilleration 4-Burger Grill, if you remove the functionality of a single component (such as the grease tray) then the organism (grill) will fail to operate, and hot burger fat goes literally everywhere.

Wasn't that great? I'll just let you enjoy it for a minute.*

Moving on...

Here's the best one of all. This one wants to be savored line-by-line:

Creation may be contradicted by facts, but facts don't necessarily add up to truth.

That's what you call a core thesis of ignorance.

Evolution itself is flawed on several counts, for example it cannot explain:

1) Why heavy fish, like whales, don't just sink to the bottom of the ocean

Kinda makes you want to cry, huh?

2) Why most trees are so much taller than necessary

This one's cool because the sheer stupidity behind the question is so overwhelming, I'm having trouble even finding the words to address it. It's like some kind of mysterious dumb-fu.

3) How non-biological animals, like crocodiles and ostriches, came into existence

What's a "non-biological animal"? Do you actually understand how words work?

(Are you sure?)

4) Why sharks haven't grown legs, moved onto land and taken over the world

Dude, you haven't even managed to take over operation of your frontal cortex; who are you to criticize?

5) The existence of invisible species that remain undiscovered

Because if they were visible, we'd probably have seen them by now.

Fucking idiot.

There are a few longer ones that are worth a read if you're inclined -- right now, I'm feeling pretty good about my choice of teams. The ignoramuses are breeding faster, but when it comes to evolutionary survival, I think we all know who's going to come out on top in the end. God bless the smart, creative motherfuckers.

(Incidentally, if you've never read Geek Love, you should. I read it some years ago, together with Gregory Maguire's Wicked, and they complemented each other well. Personally I think Geek Love is the more interesting of the two, but then, I tend to like my freaks extra-freaky. What can I say? I'm a purist.)

*I strongly suspect this one was intended as satire -- obviously heliobacter is morphologically much closer to the George Foreman GRP90WGR Next Grilleration Removable-Plate Grill with 5 Plates. I mean, duh.
1:17 AM ::
Amy :: permalink