Teaching Evolution

A blog devoted to teaching evolution, both in our schools and in our communities.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Penguins and Grizzlies

I haven't seen March of the Penguins, but from the almost unanimously positive reviews I've read, I have to say I find it a little disappointing that it's become the stunning box office hit of the summer. It sounds to me like a rather silly attempt to make penguins seem like they have human qualities.

I have seen Grizzly Man, and I think it's probably the best movie I've seen so far this year. How is it possible that so many more people are interested in seeing penguins than grizzlies? What's wonderful about Grizzly Man (which also has been almost universally praised)is that director Werner Herzog points out that grizzlies aren't like people at all: Grizzlies basically think of every other animal they encounter as a potential mate, a potential attacker, or potential food. Timothy Treadwell, the Grizzly Man of the title, thought he could become one with the grizzlies. He was wrong.

George Will comes to the same conclusions as I did. Money quote:

Reality's swirling complexity is sometimes lovely, sometime brutal; its laws propel the comings and goings of life forms in processes as impersonal as Antarctica is to the penguins or the bears were to Treadwell or Alaska was to Drop City North. It is so grand that nothing is gained by dragging an Intelligent Designer into the picture for praise. Or blame.

And it's really those last two words that say it best. Why do Intelligent Design believers want the Designer to get the blame that would have to be accorded to the Designer of the harsh realities of nature?

Hat tip: dhodge


At 8:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Which human qualities are you talking about?

The drive to find a mate, to protect one's offspring? The dramatic response to losing a baby?

Perhaps you should see the movie. Maybe it's not so much that the penguins have human qualities, but that humans share qualities that many creatures have developed over the millennia in order for their species to survive.

At 8:35 AM, Anonymous B said...

What's frightening about Penguin's success is that the religious right is using it as proof of intelligent design: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/13/science/13peng.html?ex=1284264000&en=36efde9c1de3fa22&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss
Also they are raving how the penguins are protrayed as monogomous, despte the fact that penguins pick out new mates every year.

At 8:39 AM, Blogger MDS said...

Thanks for the link. I'm going to make a new post out of it.


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