Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week: Scientists, Learn Darwinism on TV
In Current Biology, Kenneth E. Sawin of Wellcome Trust Center for Cell Biology at Edinburgh University was interviewed about his career. One of the questions was, “What are the big ideas for you now?” Here is part of his answer:
Another thing that I think about, which may be more ethereal, is that cell biologists interested in molecular mechanisms should always be reminding themselves that evolution proceeds without any predestined direction, and this is as true for cellular regulatory mechanisms as it is for organismal evolution [sic]. Even if we don’t think too much about evolution in our day-to-day work, it is the backdrop against which everything takes place, and one needs to keep a very open mind [sic], and not be too dogmatic, about how biological systems may be “designed”, because there is no designer [sic]. The best stimulus for this is to watch a few nature programs on TV. (Emphasis added.)
1“Q&A: Kenneth E. Sawin,” Current Biology, Vol 16, R268-R269, 18 April 2006.
If anyone can figure out how being dogmatic about evolution is an example of open-mindedness, or how directionlessness produced cellular regulatory mechanisms, or how maintaining faith in purposelessness as a backdrop aids thinking, or how telling oneself there is no designer demonstrates things are not designed, let us know. Notice two other things he said: (1) scientists don’t think too much about evolution in their day-to-day work, indicating that evolutionary theory is useless, and (2) TV is this evolutionist’s source of inspiration (see visualization in the Baloney Detector). So producers get their stimulus from the dogmatic claims of the evolutionary biologists, and biologists in turn get their inspiration from watching the resulting TV shows: a vicious cycle, with emphasis on vicious.
Example: last night The Science Channel replayed The Rise of Man, one of the dumbest examples of evolutionary storytelling ever made for the tube. In this ridiculous portrayal of made-up history, presented in all seriousness, naked ape-faced actors invent religion when lightning strikes, invent language when stealing ostrich eggs, invent the family when she-ape needs help in childbirth, and invent art when one ape-man sticks a shiny stone on his female’s mud-plastered forehead. The group all giggles in the mud together at this new sign of beauty. If this is Sawin’s inspiration, God help him.
Cave Man was much better. At least Ringo Starr, Barbara Bach and John Matuszak all knew it was only a spoof. Let’s offer Sawin and his ilk free unending reruns of all the evolution shows they want; maybe this will keep them in a permanent state of euphoria – and out of the classroom.