12 February 2009

Happy Darwin Day!

I guess in commemoration of the event, the National Geographic TV channel was having a bunch of evolution-themed programming over the weekend. Specifically, they had three episodes of the show "Evolution" featuring whales, birds, and bears, respectively. They were pretty interesting, though I had many peeves.

First off, they used language with heavily Lamarkian connotations. An animal "decides to push its boundaries" or a feathered dinosaur "attempts to leap to a branch that's just out of reach." That's not what it is at all, rather, certain microraptors found they could leap and glide farther than their colleagues, thus outbreeding them and passing on the genes that allow for improved flight characteristics to their offspring.

Secondly, they did a really poor job in portraying evolution as occurring within a single individual instead of the gene pools of populations.

Third, too much filler graphics and not enough content.

National Geographic followed this up with a program called Darwin's Lost Voyage, which was an interesting program covering the Beagle voyage. Good show, but the title makes no sense. In what way has Darwin's voyage been "lost?" I already have three books on the subject. There is tonnes of info on the internet. Hell, Darwin gained fame as a popular writer for publishing an account of the Beagle's adventures upon his return to England. The only place where the voyage is being lost is deep in creotard territory where they are actively suppressing Darwin.

Anyway, happy Darwin Day. May you not come down with any horrible, vomit-inducing mystery diseases like Darwin did.

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