According to eyewitness reports, the “Bad Ad-hoc Hypotheses” (BAH!) Festival at MIT was a rollicking good time.
The BAH! Festival pokes fun at evolutionary just-so stories that are argued soundly (according to evolutionary theory) but are downright silly. What’s striking about first annual BAH! Festival is that it was organized by evolutionists for evolutionists:
The Festival of Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses (BAH!) is a celebration of well-argued and thoroughly researched but completely incorrect evolutionary theory. It is put on by Zach Weinersmith (cartoonist of SMBC), breadpig (publishers of SMBC and XKCD), and MIT’s Lecture Series Committee. It is sponsored by the http://bahfest.com/ and This View of Life magazine (Editor-in-Chief David Sloan Wilson). We are also proud to be part of the Cambridge Science Festival.
Apparently Weinersmith, the cartoonist of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, thought the sold-out event was a great success, calling it “glorious” and a “dorky good time” (see his cartoon of a bad ad-hoc hypothesis that inspired the event on the home page). Another attendee, blogger and MIT student Krystal Lai, also had fun:
The Festival of Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses (or BAH!Fest for short) that was held Sunday night in Kresge auditorium was essentially one enormous anti-joke. The premise? Have seven educated individuals present seven well-argued, but astronomically absurd evolutionary theories in front of a panel of distinguished judges. To the victor go the spoils. And by spoils, they mean a 3-D printed rendering of Charles Darwin looking doubtful and saying, “I guess so?”.…
The crowd laughed and clapped like it was adaptively beneficial to be the loudest ones there.
Apparently one entrant gave an evolutionary explanation for why frogs taste like chicken, but polar bears do not. The winner explained the evolutionary advantages of a screaming baby.
Since the first festival went so well, the organizers are beginning to plan for a second one. Given the initial success, it could become an ongoing series like the Ig Nobel Prizes.
This is a great sign of progress! When evolutionists themselves begin to see how silly their style of explanation can be, maybe they will start looking more askance at the ones that get published in leading journals. They will argue, of course, that bad examples don’t invalidate good ones. But apparently, it has become obvious to even some hard-core Darwinists like David Sloan Wilson (9/03/11, 12/21/05), who lasered his Darwin-colored glasses onto his corneas, that some housecleaning is in order in the Darwin Castle.
Laughter is good medicine. We would love to see the Darwinists laugh themselves into such an irreversible break-up, that the men in white coats will come and take them where they can get proper care without hurting anyone. To aid that effort, we offer some BAH! stories we’ve reported recently to contribute to their next festival, with the warning that the sheer volume of material might require a month-long event:
- Bird arms got longer, their legs got shorter, and they were flying (9/30/13).
- An early fish invented the human face (9/28/13).
- How small balls made men more caring fathers (9/13/13).
- Fear of holes (trypophobia) evolved from fear of poisonous animals (9/13/13).
- The Red Queen drives mammals extinct (9/13/13).
- Cyanide is an evolutionary elixir of life (9/11/13).
- Life came from Mars. Why? It couldn’t have evolved on Earth (9/07/13).
- Evolutionarily speaking, sometimes it pays to be a weakling (8/21/13).
- Stuff evolves because not having it would be terrible (4/23/11).
- Survival of the slowest (5/11/09).
- Leaky fat blobs produced life (7/07/08, 9/03/04).
- The evolution of shopper’s arm (3/31/07).
- How marathon runners evolved from early hunters (10/11/06).
- Why are kids hyper? Blame evolution (9/28/06).
- How teenagers evolved to be like cockroaches (6/16/05).
- Introducing the Popeye theory of evolution (5/31/05).
- Human language evolved from throwing spears (2/25/04).
- Partridge chicks holding out their wings while running up ramps show how dinosaurs evolved flight (12/22/03).
- Plasma blobs hint at new form of life (9/17/03).
- Language evolves by Creole-ization (6/06/02).
- Sweaty T-shirts enhance sexual selection and evolutionary fitness (11/15/01).
… and so forth, going back to our first reports from September 2000, when our first Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week was posted on 9/16/2000. Laugh along with your own personal BAH! Fest by searching on our Dumb Category, ending with singing “Bah! Bah! Quack Cheap” (4/21/03 commentary).