New Friend of Darwin Award Winners Announced

The National Center for Science Education has announced the winners of the 2013 Friend of Darwin awards. I think this is a change in the way they give out such awards. The tradition has been to ambush people at conferences and give them the award when they least expect it. That’s how I got mine. This year’s winners: Baba Brinkman, Jay Labov and Sean Carroll (the biologist, not the cosmologist). Which prompts an obvious question: How the hell did I get this award before Sean Carroll?

12 comments on this post.
  1. steve84:

    Not to be confused with the Darwin Award you get for creatively removing yourself from the gene pool

  2. Michael Heath:

    I’ve read two of Sean Carroll’s books; both were most excellent. Amazon distinguishes this Carroll with the physicist by including this Carroll’s middle initial, ‘B’.

    The ones I read were: Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species along with Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo.

    I didn’t read Carroll’s, The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution, because I’d instead read Daniel Fairbanks, Relics of Eden: The Powerful Evidence of Evolution in Human DNA . While I loved Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution was True, I found it lacking on DNA evidence, where Fairbanks complemented Coyne’s book nicely where I’ve observed others claiming Carroll’s did as well.

    So as someone whose mostly learned about evolution from reading books given the lack of evolution taught in my red state area public school, I’m extremely pleased Dr. Carroll won this award.

    I did take one evolution-related class in college, an introduction to human anthropology. But anyone whose literate in evolution knows one mere class can not provide enough material or reinforcement to understand evolution. That class merely had me discovering how much creationists (read, conservative Christians) were covering up from the children they abuse when it comes to the vast wealth of knowledge we have regarding evolution. I.e., that their con was far greater than I realized.

    Carl Zimmer’s The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution , which is a truly awesome introduction to evolution, could not be fully taught in a 10 week semester. And even if one did use it in say, a 15 week semester, that’s hardly sufficient time to reinforce what’s taught or provide sufficient examples of the laws at play in evolution to reverberate for a life-time.

  3. ricko:

    Though Sean Carroll is from Madison, you got the award first because they had to determine which Sean Carroll they were going to give the award to.

    And, you also deserved it.

  4. Ed Brayton:

    Steve –

    In 2003 I was out at Berkeley for a conference and my friend Wes Ellsberry got the award. Later we were walking back to the hotel and he said, “Someone just came up to me and said ‘congratulations on your Darwin award.’ I’m sure I’m the only person in the world that has ever been said to.”

  5. Phillip IV:

    How the hell did I get this award before Sean Carroll?

    There is no rational explanation. Ergo, goddidit! Checkmate, athiests!!!!!

  6. martinc:

    Michael Heath @ 2:

    “anyone whose literate”

    Aha! More support for my theory that there is an innate force in the universe that makes sure that the chance of a typo, spelling error or grammar error experiences a quantum leap if the topic one is writing on refers to spelling, grammar, literacy or intelligence.

  7. martinc:

    Ed, there will always be confusion with the Darwin Awards if it’s called the Friend of Darwin Award. I suggest a name change based on simple word replacement: imagine how great it would be if someone came up to you and handed you the award with the immortal words: “ChuckMate, atheist!”

  8. azportsider:

    martinc, where would you like me to send this shiny new internet?

  9. richardelguru:

    Ed and Steve &c,
    My immediate reaction to the hed was to imagine an award for those who encouraged the Darwin Award winners to make their stupid exits.

  10. Marcus Ranum:

    I really did think “friend of darwin award” was something that applied to the family and friends of the now-deceased. You know, the guy who handed Bob his .22 and said, “here, it’s loaded” or the friend who told Lee “the horse’s name is ‘satan’s spawn’ he sounds just right for a beginner like you” — you know, those friends of the darwin awards. They’re not the chlorine in the gene pool, they’re the guys who turn the filtering system on at an awkward time.

  11. democommie:

    Like richardelguru and Marcus Ranum I was thinking that this was an award given to the survivors of primary winner’s “experiments”.

    Perhaps a tarnished and dented cup on a charred pine base, with the legend::

    “Hic , habitum meus beer quod vigilo is!”

  12. Michael Heath:

    Michael Heath @ 2:

    anyone whose literate

    martinc:

    Aha! More support for my theory that there is an innate force in the universe that makes sure that the chance of a typo, spelling error or grammar error experiences a quantum leap if the topic one is writing on refers to spelling, grammar, literacy or intelligence.

    I’m a longtime devout believer myself. This law is the most compelling evidence for God I’ve come across.

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