Re: Evolution in Cartoons

Tanned, Rested, & Ready for 2000 (jackechs@EROLS.COM)
Sun, 17 Mar 1996 19:16:20 -0500

At 05:42 PM 03/17/96 CDT, Andrew Petto wrote:

>First off, no need to get snooty -- or ad hominem for that matter.

If you are going to make assumed, generalized comments on the "why" someone
did what they did be prepared to be taken to the table for them. While I
was/am being a bit sarcasitic in this situation it fits. Besides your
referring to the writers as "The writers clearly didn't understand this"
assumes way too much. As Carl Sagen would say ... your missing a far more
accurate and simpler solution.

>The misunderstanding is in the statement "You are not a separate race from us;
>you have just evolved differently." The misunderstanding is in the
>of the implications of significant reproductive isolation and separate lineages
>for human variation over millenia.

Was the comment necessary for the storyline? That is what you should be
asking, not whether or not it reflects comtemporary evolutionary beliefs.
Unless I missed it ... you have never stated that FOX or the producers of
the show claimed that the views expressed in this program are real and not

>The alien fantasy scenario is not a problem for me here -- it is a fantasy
>cartoon full of all those amazing superpowers.

So that fantasy is not your cup of tea ... kewl, don't watch it. There are
a lot of channels you can turn your set to. While Oppenheimer, Einstein,
Curry, and Meitner would make up a Fantastic Four for us ... with out some
fictionalization they wouldn't be everyone's ideal of superheros. We need
our escapes from reality. It's what keeps some of us sane. Without a clear
answer as to why life on this planet does what it does, fiction distracts us
from the reality of cancer, aids, hate, ignorance, the general hopelessness
that many in society face.

>Improbable, but possible, I suppose; however, that was never my main point.

With an infinite number of possibilities in the Universe improbable doesn't
have much meaning.

>The point is -- and always will be -- that people who would write that line
>about the implications for "racial" variation due to evolution as we understand
>it to have occurred on earth don't understand either evolution or the
process of
>differentiation among populations. It is a window into our culture's
>understanding -- or lack thereof -- of an important scientific concept when we
>see and hear statements like this.

So I'm not white because my ancestors lived and evolved in Northern Europe?

>Agreed. I make no demand that the fiction be based in fact, but only that the
>"factual" statements be based on fact. IN this case, the writers are
saying, in
>essence, "We are all one family, because we are related genetically and through
>the evolutionary process." This statement was not fiction nor fantasy,
>the story itself was both.

As I said ... unless your leaving something out a fictional piece as no
requirements (I double checked this in the dictionary) to be based in
reality in any shape or form. If the program was claiming this piece or
another to be "fact" then I agree with you, but as long as the program
remains a fictional piece created soley for entertainment and the hopes to
increase capital of those willing to sponsor it I don't.

I don't see much interest in this thread on the list, so if you do respond
it would probably be advantageous to do so personally.