Re: Evolution in Cartoons

Tanned, Rested, & Ready for 2000 (jackechs@EROLS.COM)
Sun, 17 Mar 1996 16:56:52 -0500

At 03:09 PM 03/17/96 CDT, Andrew Petto wrote:

>Well, it looks as though we're all scared by something.

>Let's try to set the record stratight. I am "scared" by the obivous
>misunderstanding of a "factual" nature -- what it is that we mean by evolution,
>how it works, and what sorts of variation it produces among descendants. The
>writers clearly didn't understand this. As far as the fantasy aspect of the

I wasn't aware that you had personal knowledge of the "writers" in question
educational background. This is hardly the first time writers have used
"alternative" evolutions or other stretches of reality in their work. There
is "Journey to the Center of the Earth", the genetic stretch in "Jurassic
Park", "2001: A Space Odessy", etc. Sorry, but I see no "obvious"
misunderstanding of anything except for the concept of what is fiction.
Fiction stretches the limits of reality to tell it's story. While in the
past storytelling served to instruct the young as well as to entertain
education is no longer a primary attribute to modern societies use of
fiction. Besides that, while the evolutionary history portrayed in the
cartoon did not happen it is possible. The Universe is infinite and it is
quite possible for another species to travel to a primordal world and tinker
with the genetic make up of the natives of that world. Our own ongoing
research at the Human Genome Project will be and is doing this to a small
extent at this moment. Actually, it's far more possible for the alternative
evolution to occur than for a human to light up and fly.

>program is concerned, you notice that I didn't complain about the flying humans
>that turn into torches or can expand infinitely into complex shapes, etc.
>If there is one thing you learn from having an 8-year-old, it is that there is
>value in a rich fantasy world.

But following your reasoning since in reality there are animals that can fly
and it being physically impossible for a human to fly without the aid of
something beyond said human's physical structure ... well, then the writers
obviously have no concept of the "factual" nature of flight or aerodynamics.

>And, the problem is not so much in those who write this stuff (I think) as in
>those of us who try to teach the stuff. Something, somewhere is not getting

True if everyone was required to learn archeaology or anthropology.

>So, fantasy is fantasy; we all use them and like them. We are able to
>distinguish fantastic elements of the things we experience to varying degrees
>from those that are grounded in real-life experience;
>but let me ask my cultural colleagues out there -- does
>fantasy have no effect on how we experience "reality" -- whatever that is?
>Does the "world" at Walt Disney World have no reprecussions for the lives for
>the millions of people who pass through the gates every month?

Never been to Epcot? Very big on science and culture ...

However, my point is this ... fiction is not nor should it be required to be
based in fact unless the fiction in question is being made to educate. A
cartoon which is created to keep the attention of chronologically deficient
human beings long enough for the next commercial does not need to reflect
reality. Since it is designed for these chronologically deficient human
beings and not the adult versions it is excusable in it's lack of reality.
While it would be so much easier if we could escape our responsibility to
our prodigy by setting them down in front of entertaining and educationally
correct programming it just ain't gonna happen. Unless of course you lock
out every channel, but PBS. But then I don't recall there ever being any
small purple T-Rexs running around either.

thank you for your time and space ... respectfully submitted,

Anthony Dean Dauer
Senior Functional Applications Analyst
PRC, Inc

All views stated are of the author only and do not reflect
PRC, Inc., Litton Industries, or their affiliates.

"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly (1913-1973), Pogo

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