“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives," wrote Charles Darwin [See Update* at end of post] Yes, you, Ben "No Intelligence Allowed" Stein. The Beagle Project Blog is having a caption contest for this photo of Stein staring up at the larger-than-life statue of Darwin in London's Natural History Museum, where TBPBs nunatak works. When we typed "darwin quotation intelligent" into a Google search, the above-mentioned perfect quotation fell into our lap. (Kelly Engstrom photo)
We'd been aware, out of the corner of our consciousness, that the supremely annoying Ben Stein was grabbing headlines and interviews on cable TV with a Darwin-bating film but hadn't paid much attention till this morning, when we received email notice from our friends at The Beagle Project Blog of a photo caption contest . We doubt anything could beat the great naturalist's own words (see caption above), but if you're feeling clever and are so inclined, head on over and join the fun. "Submit your entries in comments by 18 April. Thought/speech bubbles allowed. Winner to receive bragging rights," notes nunatak.
The appearance of an ad for Stein's film right there on the page headed by Darwin's "nor the most intelligent that survives" quotation seemed too ironically good to be true. Chance or intelligent design?
In his movie "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" -- marketed by Motive Entertainment, the same folks who brought us "The Passion of the Christ," "The Chronicles of Narnia" and "Amazing Grace" [Nobody's perfect. --ed] -- Stein apparently casts the Darwinism vs "Intelligent Design" so-called debate as an instance of what we would call a "fear society lite," where -- as a biology teacher interviewed in the film says -- “If you just stand up and question Darwinism -- that’s it -- your career is over.” 'Reminds us of our own blogging re the crushing of dissent by the Anthropogenic Climate Change community, but with one difference. Intelligent Design is based upon faith rather than science. Check out our post "When consistency is obtained, the hypothesis becomes a theory" and scroll down for "a poetically laconic answer" to the question "What is the 'scientific method'”?
*Update: Thanks to Michael D. Barton, FCD [Friend of Charles Darwin] -- proprietor of The Dispersal of Darwin blog -- in the comments, for pointing out the error of our ways. That too perfect quotation we found yesterday at the end of a Google search appears nowhere in Darwin's writing, according to John van Wyhe, a historian of science at the University of Cambridge and founder and Director of [the totally awesome] Darwin Online. Barton refers us to the Guardian article "It ain't necessarily so . . ." where van Wyhe "clears up some myths":
There are many [false quotations] attributed to Darwin. Probably the most common is: "It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change." Versions of this catchy phrase adorn many a book and website. But it was never written by Darwin. There is no longer any excuse for taking someone else's word about or misquoting Darwin, because all of his publications are available for free at darwin-online.org.uk/.
We stand corrected. Not that the false quotation doesn't express the Darwinian idea, of course. Or how about this: "It is not the most authentic of quotations that survives. It is the one that spreads halfway around the internet before the authentic ones have a chance to get their pants on." Truthiness, anyone?
Update II: "We need to get the NCSE's [National Center for Science Education] counter-site to the hideous little propaganda film, Expelled, to rank higher in the search engines," writes Glen Davidson of Pharyngula:
The way to do this is for lots and lots of you to link to the Expelled Exposed site with the word Expelled. It's not hard: just copy this code into a blog post.
Thanks to nanatak of The Beagle Project Blog for the heads up.