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August 30, 2005

Forced March of the Penguins

Via John Cole, George Will gets this just right.

"March of the Penguins" raises this question: If an Intelligent Designer designed nature, why did it decide to make breeding so tedious for those penguins? The movie documents the 70-mile march of thousands of Antarctic penguins from the sea to an icy breeding place barren of nutrition. These perhaps intelligently but certainly oddly designed birds march because they cannot fly. They cannot even march well, being most at home in the sea[...]

The penguins' hardiness is remarkable, as is the intricate choreography of the march, the breeding and the nurturing. But the movie, vigorously anthropomorphizing the birds, invites us to find all this inexplicably amazing, even heroic. But the penguins are made for that behavior in that place. What made them? Adaptive evolution. They have been "designed" for all that rigor — meaning they have been shaped by adapting to many millennia of nature's harshness.

"Tedious" isn't the right word for the forced march an abusive Mother Nature requires of Emperor Penguins. "Brutal", "sadistic", or "excruciating" all fit much better. If everyone in America saw that film, the problem wouldn't be belief in intelligent design, it'd be a wave of spiritual crises sweeping across the "Heartland". God may have a plan, but watching those penguins, the blueprints look suspiciously like what the scary neighborhood kid used to do with a magnifying glass and salt.

While you're at John's place, check out his post on Haley Barbour. I don't know what exactly would make Mississippi's governor encourage "ruthlessness" in national guardsmen, but it really seems like the first step en route to catastrophe.

August 30, 2005 | Permalink

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» Some more thoughts on Intelligent Design from Justus for All
I have noticed a resurgence of posts around the blogosphere on intelligent design again. Most are accompanied with assertions that anyone who is taught intelligent design will be less versed, and less knowledgeable in science, and that therefore if t... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 30, 2005 4:14:32 PM

Comments

Re: Barbour and the Hurricane.

OT, but am I the only one wondering whether Mississippi's tax base just got destroyed? Remember, casinos are one of the few ways to raise money that wouldn't result in a taxpayer revolt in such a deeply conservative state (increased tax, car licenses, etc...) and I'm not sure if there are unpopular "benefits" left to cut.

According to CNN, they're losing $500K a day in revenues b/c of the loss of the casinos. If that's true, three weeks means a shortfall of $10.5M (and it may be multiples of that), not even including other tax shortfalls and inevitable spending due to the disaster.

Posted by: Chris R | Aug 30, 2005 2:12:06 PM

"...it'd be a wave of spiritual crises sweeping across the "Heartland"..."

Don't worry, they'd all just credit God for thoughtfully equipping the penguins with such a thick layer of blubber and feathers for their journey. There ain't a spiritual crisis that can't be pre-empted by even more spirituality.

Posted by: Mr Furious | Aug 30, 2005 2:30:00 PM

"Tedious" may not be the right word...but then, neither "abusive" nor "Mother" really modify "nature" properly, now, do they? :)

Posted by: weboy | Aug 30, 2005 2:30:35 PM

I just love it when the atheists (and that is what you are) pick at those who are not. Why all the attention? Only one reason. The Christians are the only thing standing in the way of the liberal agenda. Why else would you care?

Posted by: Fred Jones | Aug 30, 2005 2:54:04 PM

Another reason: we'd like our schoolkids to use their limited time (and our schools' limited resources) wisely. As a frind of mine recently asked, what would an "Intelligent Design" lab project be like? "Look at how complex this squid is. That could NEVER have evolved on its own! Let's go eat lunch."

Posted by: Kagro X | Aug 30, 2005 3:21:29 PM

If you don't know why Barber would encourage "ruthlessness" in National Guardsmen, you've never lived through a bad hurricane only to find your house looted.

Posted by: Lex | Aug 30, 2005 3:21:29 PM

"The Christians are the only thing standing in the way of the liberal agenda. Why else would you care?"

Um, because I'd like not to be subjected to their agenda? Funny thing, these agendas... the liberal agenda tends to offer opportunity, and one can choose to partake—or not. The religious right wants to shove beliefs into schools, public squares and pretty much right down everybody's throats. If you don't like it, too bad.

No "liberal" I ever heard of wants to force Christians to marry someone of the same sex or have repeated mandatory abortions. But you can't really say the reverse is true, now, can you?

Posted by: Mr Furious | Aug 30, 2005 3:22:51 PM

"The Christians are the only thing standing in the way of the liberal agenda. Why else would you care?"

Actually, Zimmy, you have it kinda backwards. The only standing in the way of a dictatorial pseudo-Christian theocracy is sane people.

Posted by: sprocket | Aug 30, 2005 3:36:53 PM

Actually, I'm not an atheist. But nor do I think a benevolent, involved God would create this sort of a world. If you'd like to argue the case for a divine, merciful creator consigning the penguins to live this life, though, I'd love to hear it.

Posted by: Ezra | Aug 30, 2005 3:56:41 PM

"But the movie, vigorously anthropomorphizing the birds, invites us to find all this inexplicably amazing, even heroic."

Seriously. "And now the penuin is overcome with heartache. You can tell because it's standing around squawking like an idiot. Now the pengiun is filled with joy. You can tell because it's standing around squawking like an idiot." There was some pretty incredible footage in that movie, but the narration got pretty old.

Posted by: MattT | Aug 30, 2005 4:09:03 PM

Before you judge the penguin's harsh breeding conditions
as completely inexplicable, keep in mind that nearly
complete isolation from predators during a breeding cycle
counts a lot in terms of survival.

Posted by: Jacel | Aug 30, 2005 5:08:56 PM

Kagro X, :) Plus it makes an important point (which Matt Yglesias made), which is that the most fundamental reason intelligent design is not a scientific theory is that you can't do anything with it, it doesn't go anywhere.

I don't want to pontificate about spiritual matters. Suffice to say that I've sometimes felt that I'd like to believe in a caring god and felt that I simply couldn't. But I don't feel that way anymore, despite the undeniable fact that life is rough.

Posted by: roublen | Aug 30, 2005 5:32:52 PM

You guys aren't making feel any better about sitting through this movie with the kids tonight :(

Posted by: Sonny | Aug 30, 2005 5:58:20 PM

the liberal agenda tends to offer opportunity, and one can choose to partake—or not...

Really? Let's see.....*You* wish to jam homosexuality upon the rest of us forcing us to accept them as "normal" when many think they are not. *You* decide who landlords can and cannot refuse to rent to and who businesses can and cannot refuse to hire. Never mind that it is not your capital at risk. I think you get the picture. The liberal agenda is not one of choice, but one of conformity.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Aug 30, 2005 7:09:23 PM

Fred Jones, the problem is that you seem to think that "decency" includes homophobia and racism. Good luck with that.

Posted by: TJ | Aug 30, 2005 7:14:30 PM

Actually, I'm not an atheist. But nor do I think a benevolent, involved God would create this sort of a world.
God is what he is. He is not what you wish him to be. He has given you the Torah for your worshiping pleasure. It ain't complicated.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Aug 30, 2005 7:32:08 PM

Be honest, Fred. It's not your capital you're worried about. Why does renting to or hiring a gay person put your capital at risk in ways that your normal vetting process does not?

Stick to one excuse or the other, please.

Posted by: Kagro X | Aug 30, 2005 7:33:38 PM

I promise you Fred, I don't care whether you think I am normal or not. And I promise to avoid trying to rent an apartment from you. I think all I'd like - and most gay people for that matter - is a world where we can coexist without making things too fiddicult for one another. And that's not forced conformity. Forcing me to pretend I'm something that I'm not - now that IS conformity. And I tend to rebel against it.

Cheers
Weboy :)

Posted by: weboy | Aug 30, 2005 9:28:26 PM

I believe your hate for conservatives has served you poorly and led you to an incorrect conclusion. I should have used smaller words.

In my business, I deal mostly with minorities. I don't go out of my way to deal with them nor do I avoid dealing with them. Their money is as green as the rest. What I detest is loons, like yourself, telling me what I can and cannot do. Loons that hate business in the first place and have no experience in the second. There will be times when renting to homosexuals would not be a good idea if I have nothing but rednecks in the neighborhood. I, alone, make this choice as to what is best for my business....sorry, Charlie. when you are taking the risks, then you can call the shots.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Aug 30, 2005 10:41:47 PM

Weboy,
It is, indeed, a free country. You can be just as queer as you please and I am free to believe it is normal or not. We both have those rights. So what? I really don't care that much. More pussy for me.
What I *do* care about is attempting to change the entire marriage institution so that you can feel better about yourself. Other than that, have at it! As I stated, it's a free country!

Posted by: Fred Jones | Aug 30, 2005 10:47:49 PM

More pussy for me.

BWAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Posted by: antid_oto | Aug 31, 2005 12:34:07 PM

Gosh, Freddie, I know you like nothing better than to cast invective about, but be serious. Your argument tells me that you're not refusing to rent to homosexuals because they're homosexuals, but because you prefer to collect rent from bigots.

As silly as that is, at least it's an economic argument. And it seems clear now that that's the one you'd prefer to stick to, and that's fine. At least you've declared your position -- something you were obfuscating before.

Your first pass at this was that homosexuals were "not normal," and that they therefore deserved the discrimination, whether it came from you, or whether you were hiding behind your "redneck" tenants.

Now you've correctly reversed yourself and declared their money as green as anyone else's. So what happend to the argument that they're "not normal?"

If you want to wage this battle on economic terms, that's OK. But don't tell me I'm a "loon" for arguing what you just did -- that their money is as green as anyone else's.

And yes, there's always the possibility that you can both have economic motive not to rent to homosexuals and be personally bigoted in your views about them. But stand up and say so. Don't chicken out and blame your poor, redneck tenants for your weakness.

Posted by: Kagro X | Aug 31, 2005 12:40:52 PM

Now you've correctly reversed yourself and declared their money as green as anyone else's. So what happend to the argument that they're "not normal?"

I don't see this issue as mutually exclusive. I rent to those with other afflictions, as well. I may rent to you, if I choose to do so, and then vote against homo marriage. So what?

Posted by: Fred Jones | Aug 31, 2005 1:06:47 PM

So don't blame your fears, if such they be, on your redneck tenants. Stand up for yourself, ridiculous as you are.

Just as you want the "loons" to stop telling you who you can and can't rent to, your redneck tenants may well want you to stop telling them who you think they'd be afraid to live next to. If it's your business judgment that they'd be disturbed by homosexual neighbors, so be it. But be a man and admit that it's your judgment, not some other poor cracker's.

Posted by: Kagro X | Aug 31, 2005 1:26:43 PM

Hehehehe....you are correct, Sir.
I'm in the driver's seat. I make the decisions...not them and certainly not you, the loons.

It's the "Golden Rule of Economics"


Posted by: Fred Jones | Aug 31, 2005 2:09:22 PM

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