In the twenty-sixth chapter of The Science of Discworld, we learn of the beautiful complications of evolution. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of bullying.
AHHHHHHH THIS BOOK REFERENCED SOMETHING I TALKED ABOUT IN A REVIEW! When I was really starting to get vocal with my parents and friends about how much Creationism made little sense to me, I remember that human eye thing the authors examine in this chapter. It is LITERALLY as they describe it! Is there like some sort of Creationism newsletter that’s passed around that tells people to debunk all atheists or non-believers with the human eye??? Because I cannot possibly recall how many times someone has used the human eye as if it is the ULTIMATE CHECKMATE.
Unfortunately for me, I had not read this book and thus did not have a very concise method of rebutting this claim. I would try to explain that it wasn’t that the eye was formed piece by piece, but simply changed forms slightly over a very long period of time. I wasn’t as good at persuasive talking or thinking on my feet as a teenager, though, so these conversations always fizzled out with me feeling embarrassed that I could not defend myself.
While I wish the chapter would have addressed it more, I was pleased that it addressed what Darwin’s work was turned into, much of which either accidentally or deliberately misinterprets what he wrote. Another lie-to-children I learned growing up: Darwin’s theory of evolution really was just survival of the fittest, and animals competed with others to “win” at life. And that became social Darwinism, which historically was THE WORST. It also crept into our society in really insidious ways, which I’ll always find ironic. I grew up with people who despised evolution but believed in the SOCIAL application of his theories. If I complained about my brother or sister being mean, that meant I was weak and would not survive the world. The same went for any attempt to talk to most adults about being bullied. When it got particularly bad in junior high, I heard the same message (in different iterations) from figures of authority: Why aren’t you stronger? Why do you let it happen? You’ll never survive in the world if you don’t toughen up.
I’m sure none of will be surprised to learn that standing up to your bullies frequently meant getting in more trouble than the person who started it, but that’s a completely different point that I will rage about another time. Darwin’s theory of evolution held a strange force over my life in ways he could have never predicted, y’all, but life is weird like that.
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