Evolution funnies

February 8, 2015 • 2:10 pm

The latest Herman strip, drawn by Jim Unger, shows us one way of accommodationism. And it comes perilously close to those theistic evolutionists—including both scientists and creationists—who accept evolution but say that God either set up the process so that it would be guaranteed to produce Homo sapiens (the view of Simon Conway Morris, whose theory we discussed earlier today), or tweaked evolution from time to time to ensure that we’d appear.


And over at The Onion, there’s a grim report on natural selection (click on screenshot below to see the piece):

Screen Shot 2015-02-01 at 11.51.45 AM

An excerpt:

EARTH—In a seemingly unstoppable cycle of carnage that has become tragically commonplace throughout the biosphere, sources confirmed this morning that natural selection has killed an estimated 38 quadrillion organisms in its bloodiest day yet.

Numerous reports from biomes on all seven continents revealed that over the past 24 hours, the ruthless biological phenomenon had ended the lives of a record 360 trillion animals and 908 trillion plants, along with 36.7 quadrillion fungi, protists, and bacteria.

“What we’re seeing here is the work of a hardened, practiced killer,” said Yale University evolutionary biologist Richard Prum, describing the brutal process through which a massive number of victims—among them thousands of starfish, countless patches of moss, and entire colonies of intestinal protozoa—were massacred with little to no warning. “These weak and helpless organisms, all of which appeared to have had no way to defend themselves against this latest wave of violence, were wiped out in cold blood.”

“It is painfully clear this slaughter was perpetrated by a force that holds zero regard for the value of life,” Prum added . . .

What’s curious is that there really is an evolutionary biologist at Yale named Richard Prum. I wonder if he really said that stuff (in jest, of course). They also quote a “University of Calcutta zoologist” who appears to be fictitious. Jeez—they’re making stuff up!

h/t: Steve



42 thoughts on “Evolution funnies

  1. This is just like during the “Cold War” days, when the supermarket checkout line rags would quote a Russian scientist, the source that could never be checked, about some ridiculous scientific discovery. Nice touch: “…a University of Calcutta zoologist…”

  2. /Karen Armstrong mode on\. This is not a true form of evolution. Real evolution is a process of peace. These animals are merely adopting evolution to advance their own secular goals like dominance over the animal kingdom. It hasn’t got anything to do with evolution whatsoever. Real evolution is a spiritual power that hates the mauling of antelopes and endorses the coëxistens between lions and wildebeests. /Karen Armstrong mode off\.

    1. I just wrote my very first comment on this excellent website and I made a spelling mistake. My apologies Coexistens should ofcourse be coexistence. I guess I just proved I’m not created in the image of a perfect being a.k.a. God. Or did I make this mistake due to Adam eating the forbidden fruit? If only there was Sophisticated Theologian™ in the room…

      1. Misspellings! Feh! You aren’t a full-fledged WEITer until you’ve combined misspellings, run-on sentences AND improperly-formed HTML in a single comment.

        Still, congrats on earning your misspelling badge! Baby steps!

      1. Thank you Rickflick, watchingpaintdryblog and Mark Sturtevant for your warm words of welcome. I’ve been following this blog for a while and I thought it would be nice if I joined the legion of commenters.

        1. Welcome! Always nice to have new people comment! when I first commented, I was nervous because everyone here is so astute!

        2. Ha! You haven’t arrived until you have described a lava flow as a 290 km larva, and given half the WEIT readers nightmares.

  3. I’m very surprised and dismayed that Jim Unger died in 2012, and I had not even heard about it (I was very busy being a caregiver for someone very ill at the time). I had hoped to locate him, some day, on behalf of a dear and mutual friend who had predeceased him.

  4. I always loved Herman! I wonder when this strip first appeared? Unger stopped doing the strip back in ’92 and died in 2012.

      1. I know. Isn’t it awful? To stay in touch with nature, you should kill with the foot bare. But so many are past redemption in that department.

  5. I have been pulling my weight in the microbe-killing department since Costco started carrying the three-pack of Clorox wipes. I’m hardly anyone’s germophobe, but bleach is the only thing that smells “clean” to me. Lysol wipes come in fruit scents. What’s the point of that? My kitchen already smells like food; that’s one reason we clean it.

    Some time ago, we discovered our housekeeper wasn’t using any of the harsh chemicals we stock, and was wiping the kitchen and bathrooms down with a rag and diluted shampoo. I mean, honestly, not only was she not contributing to nature’s blood bath, she was likely helping to breed superbugs by only taking out the weakest members of the herd! I’m confident she still uses the shampoo when we’re not looking. So out come the Clorox wipes.

    Do I need to ask if she’s an anti-vaxxer? She’s bringing her kid to play with ours next week …

    That moment you realize, “I probably am a germophobe.”

    1. I cleaned my new laptop from work (previous used by others) with Lysol wipes then I vaccumed the keys with my Dyson. The thing looks brand new!

              1. I knew I should have quoted Merilee’s first sentence before my comment but I was too lazy. Thanks, I deserved that! 😀

              2. I have vacuumed some of my cats, tail up the hose and all, and they loved it. Freddie hated the vacuum and don’t want to terrorize new kittens.

  6. The Onion article made we weep. As I trace my relations back through the generations, eventually back to the LUCA, the last universal common ancestor, I realize that I’m related to some of those protozoans, at least one gazelle, and assorted asparagus spears that met their doom today. If I just sit here quietly in the corner for a while, I’ll feel better. Maybe after dinner.

  7. Seriously for a moment, folks. The reminder of the range of life that dies everyday is a healthy perspective. People often speak about reverence for life in lots of contexts—animals, abortion, conservation, ecology–, but we rely a whole lot more than we realize on distinctions between lower life forms that we can ignore and higher organisms (us and any others that suffer) that we care about. As for living things as such, for literally any and all organisms regardless of size and complexity, we’re not notably reverent.

    And I’m not saying that we should be; we need to make the distinctions that we make if only because we have to eat and fight off enemies. But the claim of reverence for all life that sometimes comes out of religion or politics or even naturalism is not thoughtful or useful. I guess that was what the Onion piece was actually about, in fact.


    1. Yes, I second that. We can base our morality and ethics towards other animals on their capacity for suffering (wasn’t that Jeremy Bentham who started that?).
      However, it is not so easy to determine who/what can suffer, and even more difficult to quantify that suffering.
      “Some we love, some we hate, some we eat”
      (eg. cats, rats and sheep -to stick to some mammals), forgotten the author of the book with that title.
      And it does not even mention “Some we fear” , the ones that we admire, but that would eat or kill us without a second thought, from Grizzlies, Tigers and Salties to the Black Mamba…

    2. I mean we have different types of aggression.
      We kill parasites with gusto, as a cause of pride.
      We kill ‘vermin’ and ‘pests’ with a cool head, rarely excitedly.
      We hunt with excitement, and possibly some pride too, but that is pride at our own skills, not the killing of prey itself.
      And we fight our own in a highly emotional way.
      I guess there are good evolutionary reasons for that. Has that ever been systematically investigated?

      1. I like the distinctions you make a lot, especially in this second part. (Certainly, hunting is a group things often as well as a killing things.) So this is yet another way that taking other lives of all kinds is about not just the creatures but how it all feels for us.

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