An Irish comedian discusses evolution and creationism

Here’s a bit of Irish levity after the last post on the secularization of that country.

Dara Ó Briain is an Irish comedian and television host and a staunch atheist who describes himself as “ethnically Catholic.”  Here’s his humorous take on evolution and creationism. Though his description of natural selection leaves a bit to be desired, it still shows that evolution via selection isn’t “random”, but involves a concatenation of a random process (the generation of variation) and a nonrandom one (the disposition of that variation by selection).  And he got the appendix right.

I wish I could make my students laugh this much while teaching the evidence for evolution.

x

36 Comments

  1. Yi
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    I also wish professors could be this hilarious when teaching whatever subjects.

  2. Steve
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Jerry,

    Do you wish you could make your students laugh as much because A) you think humor is a more effective means of teaching than say a humorless approach, of B) you enjoy the positive reinforcement that comes with making others laugh, C) both A & B, or D) other reasons.

    • TJR
      Posted February 24, 2012 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      I teach design of experiments sometimes and find that getting people to laugh at bad design, such as supposed trials of homeopathy by homeopaths, is a good idea for all the above reasons.

  3. TJR
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    You’re being a bit harsh saying that in a 3.5 minute comedy monologue the description of natural selection “leaves a bit to be desired”!

    The bit about blind monkeys was clearly metaphorical, as any Sophisticated Comedian would tell you.

    “In the kingdom of the blind, its said the one-eyed man is king”
    “In the kingdom of the bland, its 9 o’clock on ITV”

  4. Tulse
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Dara Ó Briain has another classic routine about quackery, from which we get the phrase: “Get in the fookin’ sack!”

    • S A GOULD
      Posted February 24, 2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      very funny!

  5. Peter Beattie
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    An Irish comedian?? Dara has become, hands down, the Irish comedian of our time. 😀

    Here is another excellent bit about science and the general public’s lack of knowledge of it:

    “Get in the fucking sack!” – Priceless!

    • Peter Beattie
      Posted February 24, 2012 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      Dammit, embed fail… Can you please fix this for me, Jerry?

  6. MosesZD
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    I love this guy. I think he’s one of the most brilliant comedians out there.

    • Posted February 24, 2012 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      Yes, he’s a comedian and he knows his science… pretty well.

      On an episode of QI he got extra points for knowing the triple point of water. Unfortunately, when he return on the next series he was docked points for having been wrong by 0.1° … 

      /@

      • HaggisForBrains
        Posted February 24, 2012 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        I couldn’t agree more with both of you. He is the funniest, most intelligent comedian around – just brilliant. I’m looking forward to seeing his latest concert “Craic Dealer” in Aberdeen on 1 April.

  7. dale
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Form the 80’s we have the late great Irish comedian Dave Allen

    • Llwddythlw
      Posted February 24, 2012 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      I grew up watching Dave Allen on British TV. I shall not look upon his like again.

      • Llwddythlw
        Posted February 24, 2012 at 9:46 am | Permalink

        Also, I’d like to put in a word for Frank Carson, although he was something of an acquired taste.

  8. Jason
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Louis CK has an incredibly funny bit on creationism-

  9. Matthew Cobb
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    O Briain has a degree in physics and appears on the BBC with my colleague Brian Cox fronting an excellent occasional live programme about astronomy, Stargazing Live.

  10. Kevin
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    I think his best line is “Science knows it doesn’t know everything — otherwise it would stop.”

    • Posted February 24, 2012 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      +∞

      • HaggisForBrains
        Posted February 24, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink

        I don’t think I can add to that (maths fail).

  11. Posted February 24, 2012 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the belly laughs. I feel it’s going to be an O Briain fest in the studio today.

  12. Posted February 24, 2012 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Careful about the appendix. It apparently makes it easier to recover from serious intestinal illness such as cholera. It appears to act as a reservoir for intestinal bacteria. I will look for the citation….

  13. Posted February 24, 2012 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    “I wish I could make my students laugh this much while teaching the evidence for evolution.”

    Read from the book of Genesis then 🙂

    • S A GOULD
      Posted February 24, 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      As long as people are voting for their favorites, here’s mine. ANYTHING by Tom Lehrer.

      Tom Lehrer- The Vatican Rag – YouTube

      • S A GOULD
        Posted February 24, 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink

  14. Keith Bonham
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    …and there’s always Ricky Gervais take on teh Bible

    http://pogpog.com/v/ricky-gervais-explaining-the-bible/

  15. Posted February 24, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Mrs. Brown’s Boys Episode 6, preview:
    Mrs. Brown, The Mormons and Noah’s Ark

  16. Posted February 24, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Excellent!

  17. Yakaru
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Yeh, it’s funny, but not as funny as that debate with John Haught. That was priceless. Encore! Encore!

  18. MAUCH
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    My surgeon told me that he finds my appendix quite useful.

  19. Posted February 24, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    My fave religious comedy bit was Alexei Sayle’s line (written by Marshall and Renwick) “I came from a very god-fearing family. That’s because every Sunday god used to come around and beat us up.”

    • Kharamatha
      Posted February 25, 2012 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      🙂

  20. David Leech
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    British comedy helped a lot with the secularism of the UK:-)

    • Dominic
      Posted February 28, 2012 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      The C of E did its bit too…!


%d bloggers like this: