I took my kids to see March of the Penguins the other night. In between the Red Vines and the popcorn, all I could think was: "this is the most poorly designed animal I had ever seen." A more apt title is The Plight of the Penguins. Intelligent Designer? Give me a break.
(Caution: Spoiler ahead:)
After selecting a male mate, females lay a single large egg on the top of their feet after a long wait. When the father returns, both attempt to roll the single egg, in the freezing artic, from the top of the mother’s feet to the top of the father’s feet. Cold weather has let evolve a large belly flap to protect it from freezing. Then the fathers dutifully huddle together on an inland bed of ice for four months during unimaginable storms without food to guard their eggs, while the mother marches hundreds of miles to the sea to gorge herself so she can come back months later. When she returns to find her male mate who now has lost half his body weight, she regurgitates the food she’s eaten to her hatchling, and the male then repeats her journey to the sea to get some food, and start all over again. Eggs roll off the feet and crack open all the time. Hatchlings come early and starve. It’s an awesome, gruesome, stupefying tale and the ultimate story of survival, adaptation and evolution.
So why on EARTH is The Kansas Board of Education entertaining “new standards for science education”, implicating evolution as merely a controversial unresolved option? The real mystery isn’t between Darwinian evolution and some deity. The real mystery is why the cover of Time Magazine shows Michelangelo’s God-touches-man with the ape again? Who is exhuming this buried 19th century argument? I thought the Supreme Court decision in 1987 to separate church and state in the classroom settled all this.
It turns out that one of the Intelligent Designers showed up on Nightline the other night. He is named Stephen Meyer of the Discovery Institute. He and Cal Thomas had the nerve to accuse the educational system of “secularist fundamentalism,” as dangerous as any religious fundamentalism; i.e.: Islamic fundamentalism. (Remember, “If Yer not For Us, Yer Against Us!”) And even though ten out of the ten biology departments across the country in the Nightline survey reaffirmed that THERE IS NO CONTROVERSY, Mr. Meyer concludes that the only argument is assessing who the intelligent designer is. (George Will, also on the show, gently noted that the only proof of “Intelligent Design” is the Bible”.) It’s THE NEW MARKETING campaign, folks! They are the producers and promoters of this great marketing scheme called ‘Intelligent Design’. Kudos to them for the GREAT BRAND NAME. It’s right up there with The Clean Air Act. New Pepsi--watch out!
In Richard Dawkins book The Selfish Gene, he maintains that ideas, like genes, also mutate and evolve for survival. We are witnessing the adaptation of the idea of creationism. This is nothing new. The Church is actually a fantastic study in evolution. For example, the church figured out that men of cloth had to be celibate to ensure that no heirs could take away its wealth. Too bad that adaptation caused an outbreak of pedophilia, child molestations and massive cover-ups only recently brought to light but no doubt going on for hundreds of years if not longer.
Intelligent Design is just creationism in new clothes. The genius this time is that they’re pitching it as if believing in evolution and god is mutually exclusive. Unfortunately, they’ve unleashed the shiny PR campaign on woefully unequipped school boards across the country and the leader of the free world’s brain. Beam me up, Galileo! If there is an Intelligent Designer, I know of some pretty mad penguins who’d like to talk with Her.