Tuesday, July 01, 2008

John Sladek: Stop Evolution in Its Tracks!

"Speaking as a scientist," he began, "it just beats me how anybody can believe in the evolutionary fairy tale for five minutes!" There was some nervous laughter and applause.

"Evolutionists will tell you how some little old amoeba evolved itself into some bigger bug, and how that evolved itself into a fish, and so on, right up the scale until the ape evolved itself into a man. But there's two things wrong with that cockeyed story.

"In the first place, the amoebas never evolved at all. They're still here! Speaking as a scientist, I can vouch for that! I have looked down a microscope myself and seen them. They look like this."

He showed a slide of blobs. "Still the same little critturs they was when Noah marched them aboard the ark, two by two."

When the murmurs of amazement had died down, he continued: "In the second place, apes could not evolve into humans for a very simple reason: There are no apes. The things we call apes in zoos are nothing but men dressed up in hairy suits. I myself have visited a theatrical costume place where they rent such costumes. There they are, hairy suits with nobody inside."
~ "Stop Evolution in Its Tracks!", John Sladek

Not long before I started blogging here, a some intelligent design creationists claimed that science fiction writers don't "push evolution's envelope" they way they do with "genetics, nanotech, biotech, neurotechnology . . . " Now hopefully readers here realize that not only does evolution play a central role in many SF stories, but the fact that evolution is, well, a fact is implicit in most SF. "Stop Evolution in Its Tracks!" is a 1988 short story by John Sladek that plays on that assumption. As the introduction to the story in The Ascent of Wonder: The Evolution of Hard SF explains:
"Stop Evolution in Its Tracks" implies by antithesis the validity of the hard sf attitude. It is an interesting contrast in technique to James P. Hogan's "Making Light," which approaches everything from the assumed hard sf attitudes (and equates them with moral superiority), without attempting any formal innovation. This energetic and sophisticated piece succeeds by making pseudoscience into surrealism. Sladek's allegiance to reason and science is affirmed by making the opposite madness.
Or, as David Harwell points out, the story is "funny only if you know the most basic facts of evolutionary biology."

Although the story gave me a chuckle or too, the claims of the fictional creationists are a bit too close to the claims of the real creationists for me to fully embrace the humor. Maybe I've just been reading the Panda's Thumb too long.

Anyway, if you like your science fiction to make satiric jabs at pseudoscience, John Sladek is probably right up your alley. Sladek's short stories are currently available in the anthology Maps: The Uncollected John Sladek.

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3 comments:

C. David Parsons said...

THE BIGGER PICTURE IN THE DEBATE ON DARWINISM IS NOT INTELLIGENT DESIGN.

The reason is elementary: the Discovery Institute and other ID proponents leave out the Triune God, Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Hence, Richard Dawkins can make the case for “aliens” seeding the earth.

The Quest for Right, a series of 7 textbooks created for the public schools, represents the ultimate marriage between an in-depth knowledge of biblical phenomena and natural and physical sciences. The several volumes have accomplished that which, heretofore, was deemed impossible: to level the playing field between those who desire a return to physical science in the classroom and those who embrace the theory of evolution. The Quest for Right turns the tide by providing an authoritative and enlightening scientific explanation of natural phenomena which will ultimately dethrone the unprofitable Darwinian view.

"I am amazed at the breadth of the investigation - scientific history, biblical studies, geology, biology, geography, astronomy, chemistry, paleontology, and so forth - and find the style of writing to be quite lucid and aimed clearly at a general, lay audience." ― Mark Roberts, former Editor of Biblical Reference Books, Thomas Nelson Publishers.

The Quest for Right series of books, based on physical science, the old science of cause and effect, has effectively dismantled the quantum additions to the true architecture of the atom. Gone are the nonexistent particles once thought to be complementary to the electron and proton (examples: neutrons, neutrinos, photons, mesons, quarks, Z's, bosons, etc.) and a host of other pseudo particles.

To the curious, scientists sought to explain Atomic theory by introducing fantastic particles that supposedly came tumbling out of the impact between two particles, when in fact, the supposed finds were simply particulate debris. There are only two elementary particles which make up the whole of the universe: the proton and electron. All other particles were added via quantum magic and mathematical elucidation in an attempt to explain earthly phenomena without God.

Introducing the scheme of coincidence, which by definition, "is the systematic ploy of obstructionists who, in lieu of any divine intervention, state that any coincidental grouping or chance union of electrons and protons (and neutrons), regardless of the configuration, always produces a chemical element. This is the mischievous tenet of electron interpretation which states that all physical, chemical, and biological processes result from a change in the electron structure of the atom which, in turn, may be deciphered through the orderly application of mathematics, as outlined in quantum mechanics. A few of the supporting theories are: degrading stars, neutron stars, black holes, extraterrestrial water, antimatter, the absolute dating systems, and the big bang, the explosion of a singularity infinitely smaller than the dot of an “i” from which space, time, and the massive stellar bodies supposedly sprang into being.

The Quest for Right is not only better at explaining natural phenomena, but also may be verified through testing. As a consequence, the material in the several volumes will not violate the so-called constitutional separation of church and state. Physical science, the old science of cause and effect, will have a long-term sustainability, replacing irresponsible doctrines based on whim. Teachers and students will rejoice in the simplicity of earthly phenomena when entertained by the new discipline.

The Quest for Right. http://questforright.com

This Week in Evolution said...

I understand evolution better now than when I first read Microcosmic God, so it would be interesting to read it again. "Stopping evolution in its tracks" somehow reminded me of a story in which someone invented a device that would eliminate friction, built it up as a military secret (more efficient engines) so that enemy agents would steal it, and watched their machines fall apart as screws unscrewed, etc.
Ford

Peggy said...

Wow, Mr. Parsons, that's a very long advertisement for your books. You are welcome to comment, but if you spam the comments with your ad again I'll delete it.

Ford: A friction eliminator sounds just like something the military would pursue without considering the possible consequences.