Darwin fish

Rob Quinlan (C611417@MIZZOU1.MISSOURI.EDU)
Tue, 16 May 1995 13:55:36 CDT

Longish post on Darwin fish follows:

We have a Darwin fish on our car. They're all over the place here in
Columbia, MO. At first sight I thought it was just a funny little
thing. Marsha and I aren't really into bumperstickers, but this was
too rich to pass up. I don't really know why this seems so funny,
but I saw a T-shirt somewhere that had a little fish w/ "Looser"
written where the Greek stuff goes and thought that was funny too.

After some reflection, I have an idea why this seems funny to me.
It's mostly funny because it's a clever little image manipulation --
just like those bumperstickers that say "Reunite Ganwanaland!"
However, I think anthrolers who say it's meant to be offensive to
Christians are partly right. The Darwin fish has special meaning to
me. After having a bunch nuns cram Christian morality down my
throat in grade school, I have some resentment against the religion.
Most of the stuff they "taught" was geared at making me feel bad
about stupid little things -- not going to church on Sunday, not
going to confession, not thinking that premarital sex is bad, and
various other sins (mostly of omission). I had the feeling
fairly early on that religion was about conformity -- worse it
was about conforming to the views of someone who I didn't think
had my best interests at heart. This still seems at least partly
true to me now, but studying other religions sort of watered down
the feeling.

Anyway, when I see a Jesus fish these old feelings return. The Jesus
fish are bold, judgmental statements. They say I'm saved, you're not.
They imply moral judgements about various life-styles. They
convey the message of a religious "right" that thinks my dissertation
research is not worth funding. They conjure images of anti-intellectualism
like the "Scopes Monkey Trial".

Darwin fish are funny to me, because they distort the negative message
of the Jesus fish into a positive message about rationality and
reason. However, the amphib version doesn't convey the spontaneous
expression of membership and morality that the Jesus version does.
I don't like to compare science (or Darwinism) to religion.
Although, science and religion ask many of the same questions,
science doesn't come with a moral code. You aren't required to
believe anything in science, but you are in Christianity. Right and
wrong don't exist in science -- only ideas and evidence.

Please don't take this as a flame, and sorry for the length.

Rob Quinlan

P.S. I guess the semester is over.