Re: Darwin in a Fish Decal

Richard Spear (rspear@PRIMENET.COM)
Mon, 15 May 1995 20:22:07 PST

In article Andrew Petto <AJPETTO@MACC.WISC.EDU> writes:
>Date: Mon, 15 May 1995 21:36:00 CDT
>Reply-To: Andrew Petto <AJPETTO@MACC.WISC.EDU>
>From: Andrew Petto <AJPETTO@MACC.WISC.EDU>
>Subject: Re: Darwin in a Fish Decal
>To: Multiple recipients of list ANTHRO-L

>Tom Love raised an important question. It's a discussion I have been involved
>in before.

>With the appearance of the fish symbol all over bumper stickers, license plates,
>window decals, and now car body and refrigerator magnets, one can hardly argue
>for the deep reverence and symbolic meaning of this image. On the other hand as
>*another* Christian anthropologist, I understand Tom's reaction.

>The "Darwin Fish" is both a reaction to these obiquitous Christian fishes and an
>important symbol for evolutionary biologists. After all, it is the emergence of
>the first fishes onto the land that gave rise to the vertebrate lineages that
>include us humans. It is, in a way, a parallel symbol system to the image of
>the fish that included Christians as a "corporate body" within a larger context
>of all humanity. (I invite such an analysis from the symbolic anthropologists
>out there; I, after all, am a biological antro -- tho 4-field trained).

>In the end, though, the meaning/use of the Darwin Fish is in how it is used and
>perceived by its users and those who see it; No?

I too thought that Tom's query was interesting and fertile. Here in the United
States (I think Tom is in England?) the decal is a political
statement. There is a very visible conflict between creationists and
evolutionists here and the outcome of that conflict has real consequences.
While the symbol is ubiquitous it is associated with an outspoken "moral
majority" that is perceived to hold creationist views and the Darwin fish is
the counterstatement.

Regards, Richard