I’m sure we can think of better TV to convince people there is no god

While I might wish that this satire were true, it has a few problems.

SEATTLE–Members of The Discovery Institute, a Seattle based think tank, publicly rescinded their demands that intelligent design be taught in public schools after watching an Ultimate Fighting “best knockouts” compilation video Monday night. The video, which depicted wild men viciously attacking one another before a crowd of bloodthirsty spectators, provided “the smoking gun ” that man is descended from apes.

“It is with great regret that we abandon our quest to have the theory of intelligent design taught in public schools,” said Bruce Chapman, president of the Discovery Institute. “We are now convinced that Charles Darwin was right and we are just a bunch of hairless apes. We came to this conclusion after watching some Ultimate Fighting. Those men are subhuman brutes. The violence was unremitting. What’s worse, we thought it was extremely entertaining, which doesn’t bode well for us, either.”

Verisimilitude is lost because:

  • There’s no way the members of the Discovery Institute would be sufficiently self-aware or cognizant of the evidence that they would back off. If one of those fighters had smacked them hard in the nose, they wouldn’t have noticed.

  • Brutish thugs pounding on one another for an audience is more a human trait than an ape trait, I’m afraid. It sets us apart, which nominally fits with DI biases — the DI might just concede that it tells them the designer is a vicious bastard, but that’s about it.

  • Most of those DI guys are Christians. They’re familiar with the Old Testament. Evidence that the Designer is a vicious bastard would just confirm his identity with the Christian god.

Personally, the few times I’ve seen a couple of minutes of American Idol, I’ve almost been convinced that there is a Satan.


  1. says

    Personally, the few times I’ve seen a couple of minutes of American Idol, I’ve almost been convinced that there is a Satan.

    Simon Cowell gets that all the time.

  2. says

    “Personally, the few times I’ve seen a couple of minutes of American Idol, I’ve almost been convinced that there is a Satan.”

    American Idol, any reality TV show, Grey’s Anatomy, The OC, Desperate Housewives, Lost — all definitely the works of the devil.

  3. says

    Okay, as a UFC fan, I have to say fuck those guys. Ultimate Fighting is a hell of a lot safer than boxing, but it gets a ton of bad press. Part of this is the fault of their macho marketing, but it certainly doesn’t help when boxing fans like John McCain call it “human cockfighting” and such. Mixed martial arts isn’t the same thing as street brawling; there’s a lot of strategy and skill that goes into being an MMA fighter–and I should point out that there’s (usually) a spirit of sportsmanship that’s frequently missing in boxing, and in a lot of other sports. Did anyone else see Griffin and Bonnar hugging and joking with each other right after that epic fifteen-minute fight they had on the first The Ultimate Fighter finale?

    Frickin’ jerks.

  4. says

    Good points aside, I think calling MMA fighters “subhuman brutes” is a bit of a stretch. Despite it’s sordid reputation (which mostly stems from stereotypes about underground fighting) it’s just as well structured and rule-bound as Boxing or traditional Greco-Roman grappling.

  5. says

    I just misread “Brutish thugs” as “British thugs”, which is unfortunately all too common a phrase (normally used in conjunction with “Football”)

  6. says

    Common chimps (Pan troglodytes): warfare, rape, cannibalism.

    Bonobos (P. paniscus): sex, sex, sex.

    Which would bother the ID/DI people more, do you suppose?

  7. says

    All this article proves, in case anyone still doubted, is that the DI folks don’t let their opinions get sullied with reality. One need not watch much MMA to see that these guys are far more intelligent than boxers, if not athletes in general. Light heavyweight champ Chuck Liddel has an accounting degree, and former middleweight champ Rich Franklin was a math teacher.

    If combat sports are not your cup of tea, no biggie, vive le difference’. Just don’t criticize out of ignorance. MMA is less violent and dangerous than boxing or even football. About 60% of MMA matches end in submission. The violent knockouts are the exception, not the rule. As usual, by drawing their conclusions based on a knockout video, the DI folks are cherry-picking the data yet again.

  8. Christian Burnham says

    Sounds like a rip-off of The Onion to me, except that The Onion would never print an article that is this unfunny.

    Satire requires talent and intelligence. It’s not enough to just shoot the proverbial aquatic vertebrate in the proverbial hollow wooden cylindrical container.

  9. Christian Burnham says

    Sounds like a rip-off of The Onion to me, except that The Onion would never print an article that is this unfunny.

    Satire requires talent and intelligence. It’s not enough to just shoot the proverbial aquatic vertebrate in the proverbial hollow wooden cylindrical container.

  10. mikmik says

    What?? What about pro wrestling? That proves we are descended from sludge!

  11. frog says

    Chomsky once said that there was no evidence for ID, but that there was some good evidence for MD – Malevolent Design.

  12. says

    Moody834: Yeah, but the sex with the kids and family members still bothers me. I suppose not as much as the warfare, rape and cannibalism, but it’s like eating a rotten apple rather than a bucket of worms, you know?

    And phylogenetically speaking, we’re equidistant from each. (Someone slap me if my terminology is wrong.) How wacky is that?

  13. says

    An interestng note: apparently the more common terms for the two cited practices indulged in by bonobos are verboten according to the Scienceblogs lameness filter.

  14. says

    Ha, I was ready to rush to the defense of MMA as well. There’s been some gasping from boxing fans of late of the “human cockfighting” variety, denying the intense dedication and skill of the athletes in MMA.
    also, Jeff Monson, a decorated mixed martial artist and submission wrestler, is a diehard anarchist.
    “Monson also is known for his left wing political views and affiliations. In an interview, he explained, “I am an anarchist, someone who would like to do away with all class hierarchy in society and the institutions that promote this inequality”[1]. He correspondingly receives sponsorship from AK Press and has several anarchist symbols tattooed on his body. In solidarity, Monson is a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (Wobblies).”
    from wikipedia

    my kinda peeps.

  15. frog says

    #13: Don’t forget that gene flow continued until 2 mya! Now that’s whacky!

  16. says

    one other bit from the wiki:

    “Monson has a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s Degree in psychology. For a few years he worked as a mental health professional, both in a crisis evaluation role as well as a child/family counselor. After initial success in Abu Dhabi and other MMA arenas, he left the professional world of psychology to devote himself full time to his MMA endeavors.”

    he also has the nickname “Naked Monson”, cryptically expalined in the article as “from an incident at Abu Dhabi.” Wha?

  17. mark says

    TV Shows that convinced me there was no g*d:

    Every single Law and Order franchise
    Glenn Beck
    The O’Reilly Factor
    Oh, and lest we forget: The 700 Club, Jimmy Swaggart, TBN …

  18. says

    PZ –

    I thought you might have a little fun with this commentary by Jason Lisle. Dr. Jason Lisle is director of the planetarium at the Creation Museum set to open May 28 in Petersburg. He received his Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of Colorado. He’s trying to say that science works because the Bible is true:



  19. QrazyQat says

    Brutish thugs pounding on one another…

    Hey, where’s the spoiler warning? I’m reading the Bible here!

  20. says

    #13 (grendelkhan):

    Of course, we can’t really compare human society with chimpanzee society as if they, the chimps, are so very like us (think mores). I doubt that what chimps do is truly comparable. Put another way, I doubt that, e.g., the bonobos are “molesting” their offspring.

    But is it at all surprising (I hypothesize, tongue-in-cheek) that we are, even culturally, related to both P. troglodytes and P. paniscus, and that we are as split between the two as they are distinct in themselves? More seriously, I do find it remarkable just how much we share with our cousins.

  21. Peter McGrath says

    PZ, knock it off with the ‘bastard’ thing as an insult: I don’t mind my parents not being married, I do object to being compared to members of the Discovery Institute and my accidental state of birth being used as an insult.

  22. arachnophilia says

    what makes you think christians are familiar with the old testament, exactly? i certainly haven’t seen much evidence of that…

  23. forsen says

    American Idol may be the work of Satan, but Simon Cowell is one of the best (and most vicious) incarnations of the Antichrist ever.

  24. Christian Burnham says

    Peter, #25

    I second that motion. We should try not to use that insult.

  25. Deepsix says

    Callandor, not ALL reality shows are “works of the devil”. “Deadliest Catch” on Discovery is really really good. Which proves God exists, as only God could create something so awesome. ;)

  26. Lago says

    I am going to go ahead and disagree with idea that violence is not an ape trait. I am not saying humans are all that nice either, but if chimps had guns, well…that would be bad…

  27. JMax says

    Monson’s nick name is a result of him protesting a decision where he got jobbed by taking off his trunks and sitting naked in the middle of the ring.

    The Abu Dahbi championship is a submission wrestling competition.

  28. Umilik says

    I dare say that the terms “Discovery Institute” and “think tank” should never be used in the same sentence. I think language types refer to this as an oxymoron. “Fox” and “news” would be another good example…

  29. Bruce A says

    Umilik, my first thought on the article, also. How do I go about creating a “think tank”? Do you just have to have t-shirts?

  30. Jenbug says

    OT – When I read ‘DI biases’ I read it as ‘Dibiases’ and thought you were talking about ‘Ted Dibiase’ the Wrestler, who I rememeber fondly from an adolescence spent watching WWF soap operas.

    Just an aside; Carry on, carry on.

  31. Nicholas says

    Personally, the few times I’ve seen a couple of minutes of American Idol, I’ve almost been convinced that there is a Satan.

    This sentiment seems rather common here and I was wandering what, specifically, everyone hates about American Idol so much?

  32. says

    Interestingly enough, Ted DiBiase is a fundamentalist Christian and runs a Pro Wrestling ministry called Power Wrestling Alliance with that godless commie Nikita Koloff.

    And I love how these people chose the happy, consensual violence of MMA as proof of god’s non-existence. I guess the brutal, life-ending violence that is happening right now, all over the world, and often in god’s name, isn’t as funny.

  33. Umilik says

    Bruce, how does one create a think tank ? Good question. T- shirts would help, as would stationary, I am sure. And I wonder how many thinkers does it take to fill a think tank ? Could I have/be my own think tank of one thinker ?