|Feature Article - January 2010
|by Do-While Jones
Discover magazine announced the five best evolution videos to as little fanfare as possible.
Last June, we told you about our tongue-in-cheek entry into Discover magazine’s video contest. 1 In case you missed it, here’s a recap to bring you up to speed.
The editors of Discover magazine picked April 1, 2009, to initiate a contest inviting readers to enter a home-made video describing evolution in two minutes or less. They wanted videos that would “convince even the most hard-headed creationist that Darwin was right.” It was a foolish thing to do, so April 1 was the perfect time for them to make their dumb mistake.
We could not resist submitting an entry spoofing evolution in two minutes. It is called, “Evolution for Intellectuals” because “Evolution for Dummies” was already taken. You can download it from the link on our home page. We had a lot of fun making it, and judging from the email responses, many of you got a good laugh out of it. Of course, you are free to copy it and distribute it however you like.
The contest was supposed to end on June 1, but the deadline was extended. We heard nothing about it for months. Finally, we received an email (which may have been sent only to those people who entered the contest) announcing the winners in November. We would have written about it then, but we had so much to write about Ardi in the November and December issues that there wasn’t room in the newsletter.
We aren’t surprised that Discover hasn’t made very much about the contest. The results [formerly were] at http://Discovermagazine.com/contests/evolution-in-two-minutes-or-less, but we were unable to find a link from their home page to the winning videos. Clicking on the “video” tab takes you to a page of videos, but the evolution contest finalists aren’t on that page, either. The only way to find the results is to know about the contest and search for it.
[You can't find the winners on the current link to the November 2009 issue https://www.discovermagazine.com/magazine/2009/november, either.]
We suspect the editors of Discover wish they had never opened that can of worms in the first place. The videos certainly fell far short of their expectations. One can’t present a compelling case for evolution in two hours, or even two days, so trying to make a compelling video about evolution in two minutes is doomed to failure.
The Official Winner (which clearly is the best of the five finalists) is Evolution: The Song, by teacher Scott Hatfield and student Brianna Christoffersen, from Bullard High School in Fresno, California. [Hatfield is also a member of NCSE, which might have helped him produce the video. https://ncse.ngo/evolution-two-minutes-or-less] It is a catchy song performed very well. The music is synchronized well with the video.
[In 2022 we found a copy of the winning video incorporated in a 4-minute YouTube video titled "Evolution in 2 Minutes - The Contest Winners" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anxBCU37M9k. It is the last 2 minutes of the 4-minute video.]
Like all of the other finalists, it doesn’t really address the controversial evolutionary issues. It just talks about microevolution, which creationists accept as fact. So, the repetition of “Mutation, Translation, Expression, Occasioned, Genetic Variation,” isn’t controversial. Of course, you have to know what those terms mean, because they aren’t really explained in the video.
All the song really says is that there are random variations in individuals of a particular species. If those variations are inheritable, and provide some survival advantage, then those variations will become more common in that population. It is obviously true, and nobody disputes it. Microevolution explains variation in existing species.
Microevolution has nothing to do with the origin of life, or the origin of kingdoms, phyla, classes, and families of living things. So, it is irrelevant to the controversial question of origins.
Those few people who knew about the contest were invited to vote on which of the five finalists they liked the best. According to Discover, “The Viewer’s [sic, but maybe there really was only one vote cast ] Choice Winner” is 120 Seconds by Stephen Anderson of Texas. Anderson’s pathetic premise is that, just because evolution is a “theory” doesn’t mean it isn’t true. He makes the false, unfounded assertion that there are, “literally millions of separate facts from fields as diverse as paleontology, embryology, comparative anatomy, and genetics that support the theory.” (As he is saying the word “embryology” a picture of Haeckel’s faked drawings is shown on the screen.) He concludes by saying, “While scientists may disagree with some of the underlying details of how evolution works, there is no debate whatsoever in the scientific community that evolution is a fact.” Claiming there is no debate doesn’t make the debate go away.
The remaining three losing finalists are even more embarrassing to evolutionists.
Where do we come from? by Maggie Tse, Tony Cheng, and Stella Chung, of New York begins with a cartoon showing how long-necked sheep might evolve because they can eat the leaves off tall trees that other sheep can’t reach. They make the foolish statement, “Today, an understanding of evolution is crucial to modern medicine.” If that were true, they would teach evolution in medical school. 2 The last sentence of the video is, “But the biggest challenge faced by today’s scientists is not finding more evidence for evolution, but helping the theory gain general acceptance by the public.” If they could find some actual evidence for evolution, maybe the public would accept it.
It’s Evolution by Benjamin from Arizona simply claims that evolution is change over time, and that microevolution leads to macroevolution. They really had to be scraping the bottom of the barrel to call this video a finalist.
The strangest finalist is Why Elephants Do Not Have Wings by Whitney Gray, of Chapel Hill, NC. The video does not mention elephants. It doesn’t even mention any creatures with wings. So, it is hard to imagine why he chose that title for his video. His video consists of nothing more than foolish, unfounded assertions. For example, he says, “Despite public opinion to the contrary, the scientific debate as to whether or not evolution happens ended nearly 100 years ago.” If that is true, then why is the debate still going on? He ends his video making the absurd claim, “Indeed, evolution is universally accepted as the origin of species simply because every aspect of every discipline in biology confirms it independently. All of these analyses independently line up to give us a clear picture of the history of life on this planet. It is for this reason that after 150 years of rigorous scientific testing every day not a single observation or experiment has been made which has falsified the unifying theory of biology.”
We should not be too hard on him, we suppose. He is just repeating the propaganda he has heard in school.
It is wisely said that, “It is better to be quiet and let people think you are a fool than to open your mouth and remove all their doubts.” Most evolutionists know this. That’s why evolutionists avoid any debate, or even any real discussion, of the theory of evolution. As soon as they start talking about it, it exposes their foolishness. That’s why they try to cut off discussion by saying there is no debate.
Discover made a huge mistake by opening this can of worms. They don’t really want you to see “winning” videos because they make it clear that there is no good argument in favor of the theory of evolution. That’s why all the entries avoided the subject, either by talking about microevolution, or by claiming that there is no question about evolution.
Since it is our goal to disclose “things evolutionists don’t want you to know,” we could not fail to mention it.
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Disclosure, June 2009, “Evolution for Intellectuals”
2 Disclosure, August 2009, “Unanswerable Questions”, http://scienceagainstevolution.org/v13i11f.htm#med