Pop Culture Parades Darwinism as Science
by Christine Dao *
Charles Darwin attempted to explain the origin of living organisms in On the Origin of Species, published in 1859. Two hundred years after his birth, his theory of descent with modification by natural selection, better known simply as evolution, has miraculously become equated with the scientific method and experimental research, despite having never been observed in action and having no irrefutable supporting evidence. And besides dominating American public science curricula, Darwinist philosophy has cemented itself into the entertainment and pop culture arenas as well.
MythBusters host Adam Savage told Popular Mechanics last September, “The newspapers talking about evolution versus creationism is very much an attack on science as a type of religion—believing that the scientific method is some type of religious belief.”1 MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews further politicized the issue when he challenged a GOP congressional member about his beliefs in creationism.2 On the May 5 broadcast of the popular daytime talk show The View, Joy Behar said not teaching Darwinism to a child is “child abuse.”
Michael Crichton published Jurassic Park in 1990, a year before paleontologist Mary Schweitzer discovered that Tyrannosaurus rex bones unearthed in Montana had soft tissues and red blood cells that should have decayed long before if the supposed age of 68 million years attributed to the find were true.3 Steven Spielberg promoted the long-age theory in his blockbuster film adaptation of Crichton’s book in 1993.
The presenters of the British motoring show Top Gear have made a few digs using Darwinism, citing motorsport as the “spear tip of evolution” in finding the best road cars, or in one case, metro buses. And speaking of cars, Mitsubishi Motors has manufactured a sports car since 1992 called the Lancer Evolution, or the Evo for short.
Even though debate continues within scientific circles over the factual nature of evolution (and anyone who doesn’t acknowledge that there’s still a debate is simply in denial), the hypothesis nonetheless receives plenty of free PR in other areas of society. No doubt the naturalistic and godless aspects of the hypothesis make it attractive to a culture that rigidly preaches “separation of church and state” without ever having read Thomas Jefferson’s letter containing these words in context.4
Darwin had “bulldogs” in Thomas H. Huxley and his friends to advocate and promote his theory before and shortly after the publication of Origin. Today, academics have the added help of Hollywood and others to do the promotional work on concepts that have been refuted by newer finds and studies.
Science made entertaining without the science. Darwin would be proud.
- Dao, C. MythBuster Mistakes Evolution for Science. ICR News. Posted on icr.org November 13, 2008, accessed May 12, 2009.
- Interview with Rep. Mike Pence on Hardball with Chris Matthews, May 5, 2009.
- Fields, H. May 2006. Dinosaur Shocker. Smithsonian.
- The concept of “the separation of church and state” was advocated to protect religious rights (i.e., the church) from governmental control (i.e., the state), not to bar religion from the public arena. The phrase was first used by Thomas Jefferson in his 1802 letter to a group that called themselves the Danbury Baptists. The text of the original letter is available on the Library of Congress website at www.loc.gov. Despite popular belief (and in part, distorted education and bad press), the phrase does not appear in the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, which reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
* Ms. Dao is Assistant Editor at the Institute for Creation Research.
Article posted on May 26, 2009.