If I can be elitist for a moment...  

Posted by doug

Those who know me (and it's fortunately only a few lost souls who do) know that I care a great deal about science in general and biology specifically. And even more
specifically, I care about evolution. I could go on and on about how elegant an idea evolution is, about how there is simply so much evidence for it, but as the authorities are banging on my door right now I'd better hurry this up. Two very interesting polls were done this year. This first is a CBS News poll regarding global warming. And it's fairly good news. You know that thing that can wipe out our way of life, whatzit called.. , oh yeah, our own goddamn stupidity? It turns out that more and more Americans are believing in global warming and its potential to turn our lives into a Dennis Quaid movie. I will quote and give a small sacrifice to the fair use gods:

"49% believe global warming is having a serious impact now, up 14 points since 2001. Another third think the impact of global warming will be felt but not until some time in the future. Few think it won’t have a serious impact.

Now 6/2001
Yes, now 49% 35%
Will in the future 36 41
Won’t have an impact 11 17
Most Americans agree that global warming is a serious problem, but some view it as a more urgent problem than others do. 52% see global warming as very serious – and something that should be one of the highest priorities for government. 37% admit global warming is a serious problem, but do not think it needs to be a high priority. Fewer than one in ten says global warming is not serious."

Yes, yes, that's all very interesting. The other poll concerns evolution. Here, the numbers are much more on the side of dumbassery (and here my spell check went crazy. Did you know ambassadress is a real word? Apparently it's a female ambassador. I always thought female ambassadors were just ambassadors. I am apparently a dumbass). 49% believe in evolution while 48% do not. I've certainly seen much more dismal evolution polls. Still, considering that evolution is a fundamental tenet of science much like, oh I don't know, gravity -- it shows that we do about as well a job of science education as Paris Hilton does as a Nobel laureate.

Why did I compare apples to oranges? I find it funny that global warming, being a relatively new phenomenon, has such a huge profile, while Darwinian evolution, or natural selection, has been around for about almost 150 years and still eludes half of the American population. I think it's because global warming can pop a cap in our collective asses, while evolution makes people worry that they evolved from apes. That's not even anywhere in the theory1. So I propose a massive re-education campaign. I blame religious bullshit. Global warming is non-controversial with respect to the Bible. In fact, you could just say its God's way of soaking up Noah's flood. Maybe evolution should be framed in those terms:

1 Paris Hilton notwithstanding.

A motivational speech from long ago...  

Posted by doug

Thank you for coming out tonight. I can tell by your being here that you crave success, that you are tired of being held back. You might be surprised to know that I was not always the semi-successful, barely evolved ape standing before you. The truth is, I was once an amoeba-like creature, trolling the ocean for scraps of organic molecules. I know, it's shocking, but I eventually realized that it didn't have to be that way. That's when I decided to evolve! Yes, I evolved, and you can, too.

I can now stand upright for minutes at a time, use rudimentary tools, and engage in grooming my fellow proto-humans to gain social status in our crude social system. No longer do I have to asexually reproduce by splitting in two. Sexual reproduction and its accompanying psychological hang-ups can be yours, too. How, you ask? Well, I certainly can't give away all my secrets for free (after all, these rough animal skins I cover myself in don't just construct themselves), but I will tell you that the secret lies in genetic mutations. Yes, you heard right! I don't entirely understand it, to be completely honest, as my brain is barely capable of language, much less any higher-thought processes. However, I don't have to understand it, because I have people who do that for me. Well, not people really, as they aren't around yet, but I got a few Cro-magnons on the the payroll.

Well, friends, I can tell by the pattern of the stars that my time is running out. I might evolve some more tonight! Before then, though, I'll be selling my pamphlet on how to evolve in the lobby. And by lobby, I mean that rock over there. So hop on your pseudopods and come get you a slice of evolutionary success!