BBC Plays Misinformation Teacher about Darwinism
There is only one right answer to each question. If you don’t agree with the Darwin teacher, you fail. Off to Reform School you go.
“Test your knowledge of evolution.” The BBC invites the public into the classroom of reporter Helen Briggs, who is going to play teacher. She will dispense “knowledge” of evolution in the form of a quiz. There is no debate about knowledge. You can’t have an opinion about knowledge. Either you know it, or you don’t.
In this little quiz, we get a glimpse into how Darwinism is dispensed to students and to the public by DOPE pushers (Darwin-Only Public Education). You must take your DOPE. The populace needs its Darwin euphoria in order to become compliant subjects for societal evolution. As Briggs passes out the DOPE, you need not raise your hand and ask questions. There will be no discussion. This will be a true or false test.
Briggs, a.k.a. Miss Information, begins gently with cute stories of 7-year-olds who ask questions about why animals got the way they are. She is glad they found their way to a new DOPE dispensary.
At the opening of the new Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath, school children are learning about evolution through the help of cuddly sharks of all shapes and sizes, fruit flies and even a tame owl.
Their comments reveal a budding interest and knowledge of evolution – at even a tender age.
Those children are lucky that they have this new indoctrination center to help them. Many in the BBC’s readership, however, may need a booster shot. “Evolution is based on well-accepted scientific principles, yet there are many misconceptions,” the proctor says, opening the door into Miss Information’s class. “Test your knowledge of evolution here.” We file indoors, holding our cuddly sharks, and take the BBC test to score our “knowledge” about evolution. Remember, there is only one right answer to each question. Miss Information will give instant feedback (a gentle rap on the knuckles) if you answer improperly.
Note: Professional DOPE pushers may wish to read, “How to Overcome Student Objections to Evolution” (21 Dec 2005).
WARNING. Do NOT open the textbook.* This is not an open-book test. To pass this test, the only thing you need remember is the Stuff Happens Law.
*Even the title of the textbook, On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection and the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, might confuse you. The DOPE pushers do not want you to ponder about how Pope Darwin’s encyclical meant that humans came from bacteria through millions of years of blind mistakes. The implications might scare you and make your mind wander. So just remember; whatever happens, it evolved.
1. Humans are still evolving. TRUE. “On the outside, it may look like we haven’t changed much, but humans are continuing to evolve, as are other animals, including the apes. We’re still evolving new characteristics that help us survive in a changing world, from drinking milk to fending off diseases.”
Who are you going to believe, Darwin or your lying eyes?
2. Evolution can only happen slowly, over long periods of time. FALSE. “Almost everything changes a little over time as genes mutate. Evolution can happen over a time scale of thousands or millions of years, but that’s not always the case. For instance, there’s been a rapid rise in antibiotic resistance among bacteria. The first bacterium resistant to penicillin was found a few years after the drug started to be used on a large scale.”
Stuff can happen fast or slow. You wouldn’t want to put constraints on Darwin’s elegant theory, would you?
3. The giraffe’s neck is an example of evolution. TRUE. “Charles Darwin argued long ago that the giraffe’s long neck comes from ‘natural selection’. This is where individuals that have inherited characteristics which help them to survive and reproduce pass on the genes that make them successful. In the case of the world’s tallest living land animals, the giraffes, those with long necks were more likely to survive hard times and pass on their genes to the next generation than their short-necked rivals, who weren’t as good at reaching food from high branches.”
Stuff happened one way with giraffes, but stuff happened other ways with their neighboring vegetarian mammals. This is why Darwin’s theory is so elegant. It explains opposite outcomes with equal ease. Giraffes could have learned to eat grass like the zebras, but they didn’t. Whatever happened, Darwin’s theory can envision a scenario (scientific jargon for just-so story) that explains it.
4. Evolution can cause an individual to change during their lifetime. FALSE. “Evolutionary change is based on changes in the genetic make-up of populations over time. Populations, not individual organisms, evolve. Gene changes are produced by random mutation, and over the course of many generations, natural selection may favour those that are advantageous, causing them to become more common in the population. Individuals retain the same genes throughout their lifetime.”
Do not be confused by that recent story about lizards (10 Sept 2018). And don’t worry if you’ve heard debates about the “unit of selection” (2 April 2018). Those are deeper nuances of Darwinism you will hear about in grad school. The FALSE answer will get you through the test for now.
5. Humans are descended from monkeys. FALSE. “It’s a common misconception that humans evolved from monkeys. In fact, we both evolved from a common ancestor, which lived millions of years ago. Humans and chimps share more than 90% of their genetic sequence. Thus, they are our closest living relatives, but they are not our great-great-great ancestors.”
Trick question! Miss Information knew the class might get stumped by this one! Whatever that “common ancestor” was, even if it looked like a monkey, it was not “technically” a monkey. Miss Information doesn’t want the class to think it was, because that would be politically incorrect. Kids tend to shy away from taking their DOPE if they hear that a “monkey” was their grandfather. It goes down easier if she can say it was a “common ancestor” of monkeys and humans, even if it was short, hairy, bent over, and screeched like a chimpanzee.
6. Evolution results in progress; organisms are always getting better through evolution. FALSE. “We tend to think of evolution as a process whereby species improve and become less primitive. But that’s not always the case. Natural selection does produce improved abilities to survive and reproduce; but this does not always produce living things perfectly suited to their environment. Natural selection is limited by natural variation that appears by chance in a species. And once living things have gone down a certain evolutionary path, some improvements are impossible. For example, wouldn’t be great if we could get food from light, like plants? It’s too late now for humans.”
Like we warned at the beginning of the test, meditating about Darwin’s doctrine that humans have bacteria ancestors can trip you up. All you need to keep in mind is the Stuff Happens Law. This way, “evolution” can include everything from the origin of flight to the degradation of blind cave fish, from adaptive radiation to extinction, or from science to mythology.
7. Evolution and religion are not necessarily incompatible. TRUE. “Evolution is not about the origins of life, but how animals and plants change over time. People of some – but not all – different faiths and levels of scientific training see no contradiction between science and religion.”
Students, just take Miss Information’s word for this now. Later, in college, your professors will help you discard any remaining faith you may have by assigning required reading of Dawkins and other militant atheists who will show you how Darwinism destroys religion. You will also get the expanded evolutionary doctrine, hearing about cosmic evolution, stellar evolution, planetary evolution, chemical evolution as well as biological evolution and social evolution. You might even learn about multiverse natural selection to hear how our universe was “naturally selected” for its life-enabling fine tuning. For now, though, thinking that evolution is just about plants and animals, and hearing that evolution is not an enemy of “faith,” won’t scare your parents, and won’t get school boards upset. Clutch your cuddly shark and say, “Can’t we all just get along?”
Oh, and beware the ones in that qualifier, (“People of some–but not all–different faiths”). They are the dangerous ones. You must learn to dislike them while you are young, so that we can teach you to hate them later and expel them wherever you find them. They are the enemies of Progress.
Check your score. How did you do? If you missed one or two questions, that may be acceptable. But if you scored lower, you might want to enroll in the Summer Re-education Camp offered by the Darwin Party. Miss Information has sign-up sheets for you, and the Darwin Party bailiff at the door can walk you to the bus. We don’t want your “misconceptions” to hold America back from leadership in global science. Each student must take their DOPE to have “knowledge of evolution,” so that all can sing the DODO anthem in unison:
1. No eyes have seen the story of the origin of life,
It’s an empty speculation and the obstacles are rife;
But we must explain it somehow, ICR will give us strife–
’Tis ruthless marching on!
Gory, gory evolution,
Gory, gory evolution,
Gory, gory evolution,
’Tis ruthless marching on!
2. Now the fit will be survivors, and survivors will be fit,
And survivors will survive to prove the fitness of the fit,
O, this natural selection, it’s so simple, isn’t it?
’Tis ruthless marching on.
(Slower, with emotion)
3. Now we’ve conquered education; evolution rules the land,
God is just imagination; there’s no purpose, right or plan;
As we face a brave new world without a moral high command,
’Tis ruthless marching on.