left biblioblography: A POWERFUL ARGUMENT AGAINST CREATIONISM – OF PENGUINS, PEREGRINATING, AND PROMISICUITY

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A POWERFUL ARGUMENT AGAINST CREATIONISM – OF PENGUINS, PEREGRINATING, AND PROMISICUITY

Back in March of 2006, I watched an incredibly heart-breaking film – ‘March of the Penguins’.

I recall about a week or so later, I was in the video store I rented it from (I do the Netflix thing now), and the clerk asked me about it (I’m a pretty chatty fellow in person as well as online). I said, very loudly, “It’s a powerful argument against creationism.” The Hispanic lady standing next to me goggled a bit (that sideways look – you know what I mean – surprise, a little WTF? thrown in).

It’s a heartbreaker – if you’re a weeper, bring Kleenex. The narrator, Morgan Freeman, pontificates about ‘gawd’s creation’ (I’m getting more than a little tired of that pandering crapola), and then the viewer is subjected to perhaps one of the cruelest examples of evolution. (Spoiler alert!)


These cute little critters are subjected to all sorts of horrid circumstance. First, a trek to the worst part of the Antarctic, where the landscape shifts so there’s no real path, to this specific section. The mating ritual isn’t the harsh part.

The male watches over the egg, as mama penguin goes searching for food. The temperature is so freezing, that if the egg rolls out, it’s an oval icecube. If mama doesn’t find food? Baby dies. Both of these scenarios are fairly common.

How on earth can any ‘just and loving’ deity implement such a savage cycle? Such a brutal, pitiless, unforgiving, torturous trek?

The short answer is of course: there isn’t any such thing.

And now, for a breathtaking instance of antiprocess, from here:

“IT WOULD seem extraordinary that a film about penguins trekking 70 miles through sub-zero temperatures and 120mph winds could be seized upon by the American religious right as a parable about monogamy and creationism. But that was exactly what happened when March of the Penguins became the surprise hit at the American box office this year.
Yesterday, days before the film’s British premiere at The Times bfi London Film Festival next week, the director hit back at the commentators he believes have wilfully misread his film. “If you want an example of monogamy, penguins are not a good choice,” Luc Jacquet told The Times. “The divorce rate in emperor penguins is 80 to 90 per cent each year,” he said. “After they see the chick is OK, most of them divorce. They change every year.”

For something even more hilarious (especially in lieu of the Religious Right seizing on using these creatures as an example):

In early February 2004 the New York Times reported a male pair of Chinstrap penguins in the Central Park Zoo in New York City were partnered and even successfully hatched a female chick from an egg. Other penguins in New York have also been reported to be forming same-sex pairs.[4]
This was the basis for the children's picture book And Tango Makes Three. The couple about whom the book was based, Roy and Silo, would see further interesting developments in their relationship when in September 2005, Silo left Roy for a female penguin, only to come back to Roy in a few weeks.
Zoos in Japan and Germany have also documented male penguin couples.[5] The couples have been shown to build nests together and use a stone to replace an egg in the nest. Researchers at Rikkyo University in Tokyo, found twenty such pairs at sixteen major aquariums and zoos in Japan. Bremerhaven Zoo in Germany attempted to break up the male couples by importing female penguins from Sweden and separating the male couples; they were unsuccessful. The zoo director stated the relationships were too strong between the couples.”

Of course, this begs the question then: has anyone tried splitting up a male/female penguin couple?

Let’s top this off with a comic from my favorite professor:

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5 comments:

Mesoforte said...

That's the first time I heard of that. I didn't know that the Penguin movie was used by the RR.

Krystalline Apostate said...

MF:
I didn't know that the Penguin movie was used by the RR.
Neither did I, till today.
I recall arguing about w/jcc on the NGB, though.

beepbeepitsme said...

I am always suspicious of "animal documentaries" which seem to humanize the actions and behaviours of animals.

Though I have never seen "March of the Penguins" I am sure god believers love it in all its anthropomorphic glory.

As Emerson said : ~ "All the thoughts of a turtle are turtle" and I kinda figure that all the thoughts of a penguin are penguin.

Sable Chicken said...

This is the first time I've seen the movie used as a promotion for atheism.

"The male watches over the egg, as mama penguin goes searching for food. The temperature is so freezing, that if the egg rolls out, it’s an oval icecube. If mama doesn’t find food? Baby dies. Both of these scenarios are fairly common."

I don't get it, how is this a powerful argument against creationism? Would it not also have to be a powerful argument for evolution, to be against creationism. personally I don't see how anything could live at all under those conditions, much less reproduce. It seems like the hardest life in the world to evolve into. The unforgiving harshness of there life, is more than just the strong ones survive. If the smallest of things changed in their life they would die....yet I am to understand that they changed in to what they are today. Are the penguins fully evolved at this point or will they continue to evolve? If we have global warming will it make it easier to keep their eggs from freezing?

People are happy to see penguins have babies in zoos because that is not what they are designed to do. We should have penguins coming out of our ears in the zoos. No frozen eggs, mama always has plenty of food. No worries. Yet it is a big deal when it happens outside of the savage conditions of the wild.

"How on earth can any ‘just and loving’ deity implement such a savage cycle? Such a brutal, pitiless, unforgiving, torturous trek?"

The thing is what these birds go through maybe brutal, but yet this is what they are designed to do. And as brutal as it is, there is a beauty in the way these birds live that is so planned out to the littlest detail. Like the father making something for the babies to eat, like magic, from nothing.

Krystalline Apostate said...

BBIM:
I am always suspicious of "animal documentaries" which seem to humanize the actions and behaviours of animals.
"Oh, look! They think they're people!" I think that's kinda silly too.

Sable:
This is the first time I've seen the movie used as a promotion for atheism.
It was actually an argument.
The unforgiving harshness of there life, is more than just the strong ones survive.
It's unnecessarily cruel, way I see it.
Are the penguins fully evolved at this point or will they continue to evolve?
No 1 has an answer there. Fossils are difficult to find - most archeologists don't want to do digs up in Antarctica.
And as brutal as it is, there is a beauty in the way these birds live that is so planned out to the littlest detail.
It's a horrible 'design'. Obviously NOT planned out.
Like the father making something for the babies to eat, like magic, from nothing.
Somehow I get the image of a penguin pulling a hamburger from a magician's hat. Tah-DAH!
I thought it was the mother who fed the chicks.
I can yank all sorts of ugly nonsense from nature, that epitomizes anything from bizarre to cruel. A great deal of it unrighteous, a great deal of it very poorly 'planned' out.
It's only obvious to me, that all of this is a design w/o a designer.