Saturday, April 4, 2009

You have GOT to be kidding me!

I just got an email that started thusly:

Dear all,

A small team of evolutionary ecologists from Tuebingen, Germany, just finished a rock music clip about evolution which is called "Struggle for love", together with a computer program that allows the user to "select and evolve" music tunes following biological principles. This program was also used to generate the underlying tunes for the song.

Both the clip and the program are meant to attract the attention from non-biologists and make them think and talk about evolution. Hence, if you like it, please feel free to share it with your friends, relatives and students.


Okay, I thought, I'll check it out and see what those crazy Germans have been up to. Here's the clip.



Where to even fucking begin? I think my favorite moment is when the lab gathers to watching hyenas having sex on TV (though I don't know what your lab meetings are like), but a close second is the absurdity that a bunch of white people (with all men in charge) get together to engineer something involving mice, bacteria and soccer players, eventually get what they want then drink in the lab. Seriously? This is how we want kids to think of science and evolution? That it's a cross between video games, playing God, soccer, awkward German expressions of emotion and beards? I've watched it three times now and it upsets me more each time. It's like that Alanis Morissette song that is called "ironic", but all of the examples in the song have nothing to do with irony... maybe that was the irony, I don't know. In any case, I can't believe that 4 evolution professors had a major hand in putting this together and it is the worst travesty I've seen since Subaru put out the Baja. Dude! Fuck. Sigh....

p.s. I am TOTALLY having my whole lab gather around to watch my back, in green light, the next time I work at the microscope.

9 comments:

  1. WTF? I was laughing the whole way through and almost choked on my cereal when the hyena footage appeared. Bizarro indeed. And this was supposed to be about evolution?

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  2. Yeah, why the hyenas? I don't get it at all. How is that movie and atrocious song going to get people talking about evolution other than saying, "Holy shit, did you see that video on YouTube that was supposed to be about evolution?"

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  3. What is this group selectionist tripe? They evolved that one team has more players than the other? Where is the individual fitness in that?

    Is it German viewpoint that when you want to highlight evolution you go right to artificial selection?

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  4. The whole video screams of populist notions of evolution that are copletely wrong, but I don't think we should ascribe a viewpoint to a nation because of where the video was made. It IS, however, very disturbing to me that profs who call themselves evolutionary ecologists would okay this garbage. Maybe it came out of production very different than it was intended, but the end end product is nothing short all the wrong things that we want people to be thinking about when they talk about evolution.

    Maybe the people promoting the video can weigh in, since they seem to have followed the embedded video here?

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  5. What a fucking piece of wank. I didn't even get as far as the fucking...fucking hyenas.

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  6. Oh, but you're missing the best parts, like when an angry, genetically engineered, soccer mob beat up on a group of old people.

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  7. I can go watch Fulham play at home for that!

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  8. The part where Grandma dies from soccer-related injuries is my favorite (apart from the hyenas, of course). I mean, what?? And what's the point of the two rats on the Matt-Wilson-esque maze? It's totally non sensical.

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  9. Admittedly, I'm no scientist, but I'm baffled. Here's what I got from it.

    (1) These scientists like to pet mice, even though they have no correspondance to the actual experiment;
    (2) You can see tiny soccer fields on petri dishes through microscope lenses;
    (3) Pitting 30 orange soccer players against 4 purple ones equals more goals;
    (4) An injured older soccer player is cause for champagne.

    Yep, I'm still confused.

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