Thursday, 24 November 2011





5000 WORDS

Biology – GCSE level.

The creation-evolution controversy, particularly its place in the classroom, is undoubtedly a hot topic du jour. Contemporary reaction to Darwin’s theory of evolution was in many ways less critical than that of today. A post-First World War surge of opposition to the idea of evolution, culminating in the Scopes monkey trial, has led to creationism (latterly in the guise of intelligent design) being taught for decades in US schools. The level of scientific support for evolution is overwhelming, but still the debate rages.

The idea that humans evolved from monkeys (or monkeys from fish) is a common misconception of Darwin’s theory, which actually proposes that humans and monkeys share a common ancestor that lived about 40 million years ago. It is also wrong to state that Darwin believed that humans evolved from monkeys via Glen (presumably the ‘missing link’ so beloved of creationists). A number of transitional fossils have been found to support the hominid evolutionary record, including Lucy (Australopithecus afarensi) and Ardi (Ardipithecus ramidus), but as yet there is no Glen. Such a discovery would surely only weaken the creationists’ standpoint.

The decision by the Kansas State Board of Education to allow the teaching of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution was challenged by concerned citizen Bobby Henderson, who called for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, his belief in a supernatural creator that closely resembles spaghetti and meatballs, to also be allotted equal time in science classrooms. The idea of a parody religion is not new – Bertrand Russell’s celestial teapot is the most famous argument that the philosophic burden of proof lies upon those who make unfalsifiable claims, not on those who reject them. Calls have also been made for physics teachers, alongside Newton’s law of universal gravitation, to teach intelligent falling. President Bush endorsed the teaching of intelligent design alongside evolution, stating, "I felt like both sides ought to be properly taught … so people can understand what the debate is about.” This is apt when he is perhaps the closest thing to a missing link yet found.

If creationism is to be taught in schools, then it should not be in the science classroom, but as a separate subject of politics of science and religion. And it should certainly be more balanced than simply calling Darwin a crackpot. Charles Darwin is one of the most influential figures in human history, and has the ultimate accolade of appearing on the back of an English banknote. What next: Elizabeth Fry = wally? Boulton and Watt = bozos? Adam Smith = nincompoop? (His name has been appropriated by the Adam Smith Institute, responsible for recommending the privatisation of British Rail and the introduction of the Poll Tax, so maybe the jury should stay out on that one.)

A ‘WO’ has been inserted in front of ‘MAN’, pointing out that the gender-neutral ‘human’ should perhaps have been used (despite the original use of ‘man’ as being a gender-neutral indefinite pronoun). Whilst this kind of direct linguistic rejection of a patriarchal hegemony might seem a little ‘bra-burning wimmin’ now, it provides a welcome relief to all the other conservative, reactionary nonsense.

A 5000 word essay by what is presumably this Friday is a tall order, but if God made the world in six days then it should be doable.

0/10 See me.

(Many thanks to Wayne for sending this picture in.)


  1. You're assuming this is a biology class - maybe it's RE?

  2. btw I always read the name of the site as Blackbeards in Porn, am I the only one?

  3. These keep getting longer and longer. Not always a good thing.

  4. Actually upon reading this it's hilarious and surprisingly well-informed. Keep up the good work. :)

  5. D P - I saw a bit of the rest of the video - it's definitely biology. And apparently blackbeards in porn is something entirely different, of which I've only recently become aware.

  6. I spent a lot of time carefully inspecting Ms. Maui and the blackboard behind her and came to the conclusion that her career choice does not exactly gel with her religious views. But glad you enjoyed!

  7. I'll be seeing Glen in the pub tonight so I will ask him, but I agree that it is unlikely that all human evolution passed through him. The idea of one central 'Glen' figure acting as (to use a visual metaphor) the narrow centre through which the sands of the evolutionary hourglass must squeeze in order to spread out once more to form humankind is an interesting theory, however. I'm not sure if you've read any Greg Egan, but it reminds me a little of his work.

    I read the blackboard, however, as an attempt to explain what creationists believe, rather than a lesson in creationism itself (I have not seen the entire video). I may be mistaken. What I would point out however is that if you listen to the words of the popular primary school hymn 'Who Put the Colours in the Rainbow', we in the UK are on shaky ground when it comes to mocking the Americans for teaching absolute creationism in schools.

  8. I'm totally in love with this site. It's about time to appreciate those who pay attention to the little details.

  9. hey this is pat from we plugged your website on our site. So your welcome for the traffic. Thought we could help you out.

  10. Nice and interesting (detailed work).:-) I came from one serbia forum which show your blo posts...

    greetings and keep it up


  11. So what, is this porn made by religious fundamentalists?

  12. I'm guessing the "Glen" refers to Glenn Beck, well known US right wing nutjob and fundie.

    Wow - even porn producers understand satire...

  13. I admire this. Great job!

    But what's this porn's name>?

  14. I'm getting the sense that the person who directed this porno was making fun of fundamentalists, but maybe that's just me.

  15. Its cool to stay in school!

  16. Just wanted to say that the understanding of intelligent design is that. There is a large amount of order in the universe and that the vast amounts of it couldn't have happened by accident. And because of entropy things are burning out and going extinct rather that becoming new ordered unless there is an intelligence behind it. There cars, computers, houses, books and all sorts of things that have been made because of intelligence rather than accidence. Also wanted to say that people come up with theories to justify or find out if there beliefs are true and that most people don't bother to find out if something is actually true they just believe what some preacher or professor said. If you want to find out if God/Jesus is real try praying to Him. If you want to find out if a scientific theory is true try running an experiment. Don't just believe blindly in what people say find out. Thanks and have a good day. :)

  17. I was thinking that "GLEN->[WO]MAN" referred to this: