Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ Evolution!

I’m back from SE Asia, but am horribly jet-lagged. It will take me a few days to recover and resume posting as usual. In the meantime, enjoy this comic.

The new Jesus and Mo strip, called “furry”, shows Mo raising a few dumb creationists questions about evolution, although the “Why aren’t there furry Eskimos?” issue is new to me. (The word is “Inuit,” now, and they didn’t need fur because they had clothes.)

The good news is that, after a five-year effort, Why Evolution is True will, I’m told, soon appear in Arabic. I’ve long wished for this, for the Arab-speaking world is largely creationist, and I’m pretty sure there are no books in Arabic laying out the evidence for evolution. At any rate, the Egyptian National Center for Translation has done the job (it was interrupted during Arab Spring), and we’ll have an edition in that language within a month or two.

So, Jesus and Mo and evolution:

2016-11-16

 

56 Comments

  1. rickflick
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Is Mel Gibson significant here? Is he a creationist?

    • Kevin
      Posted November 17, 2016 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      PLAYBOY: Do you believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution or that God created man in his image?

      GIBSON: The latter.

      PLAYBOY: So you can’t accept that we descended from monkeys and apes?

      GIBSON: No, I think it’s bullshit. If it isn’t, why are they still around? How come apes aren’t people yet? It’s a nice theory, but I can’t swallow it. There’s a big credibility gap. The carbon dating thing that tells you how long something’s been around, how accurate is that, really? I’ve got one of Darwin’s books at home and some of that stuff is pretty damn funny. Some of his stuff is true, like that the giraffe has a long neck so it can reach the leaves. But I just don’t think you can swallow the whole piece.

      http://lippard.blogspot.com/2005/12/mel-gibson-on-evolution-women-and.html

      • rickflick
        Posted November 17, 2016 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

        I figured it would be something like that.
        BTW, Mel Gibson isn’t as complex as a Boeing 747, but it still works.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted November 17, 2016 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

          Depressingly, if you include the brain and the interior of the cells, Mel Gibson is probably considerably more complex than a 747. Whether he’s significantly more complex than a mouse or a salamander (I forget which tetrapod species has the most complex genome – I think it’s the Joe 50-pack-o’chromosome Salamander) is a question for movie fans.

          • rickflick
            Posted November 17, 2016 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

            By complexity I was thinking more of processing power. The higher functions, you know, like intelligence. Ability to think clearly.

          • Zetopan
            Posted November 22, 2016 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

            Ignoring tetrapods, the single celled “Amoeba dubia” has a genome that is the largest, at about 670 BBP (Billion Base Pairs) long, while humans only have a paltry 3.2 BBP. And there are numerous plants and salamanders that also dwarf the human genome size. Mel Gibson is a good example of a defective human in several more ways than being an yet another willfully ignorant creationist.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted November 18, 2016 at 1:42 am | Permalink

          When you say “it still works” do you mean Mel Gibson or the 747?
          😉

          cr

      • grasshopper
        Posted November 17, 2016 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        “Do you believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution or that God created man in his image?”

        If god created Mel in his image, that tells us a lot about god. If Mel isn’t like god, then Mel is wrong about god. My mind is going around in circles.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted November 17, 2016 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

          If god created Mel in his image, that tells us a lot about god.

          Does this god’s backache explain the Christchurch earthquake?

      • stuartcoyle
        Posted November 17, 2016 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        “So you can’t accept that we descended from monkeys and apes?”

        When talking to creationists we perhaps should modify this type of question or statement to avoid the inevitable confusion that creationists have, in that they take the question as meaning humans are descended from currently existing species of apes and monkey.

        A better question is of the form: “Do you think that we have common ancestors with monkeys and apes?”

      • Jonathan Wallace
        Posted November 18, 2016 at 3:46 am | Permalink

        If I am descended from my grandparents why are there still aunties?

  2. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    I have never heard of creationists going on about hairy Eskimos, but your answer is of course correct.
    The tornado thru a junkyard one is of course an olde classic.

  3. veroxitatis
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Professor Coyne, hasn’t WEIT been translated into Arabic?

    • Posted November 17, 2016 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      Not yet. If it had been, I wouldn’t have been importuning people to have it translated into Arabic. But now it will be.

      • Ken Elliott
        Posted November 18, 2016 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

        I think this is massively cool. I hope it quenches a lot of thirsty minds in that party of the world.

        • Diane G.
          Posted November 19, 2016 at 3:34 am | Permalink

          If that wasn’t a typo that was world-class snark. 😀

          • Ken Elliott
            Posted November 19, 2016 at 11:21 am | Permalink

            Total typo. Seems Mr. Predictive gets one through on me too often.

            • Diane G.
              Posted November 20, 2016 at 2:20 am | Permalink

              Well, we take our witticisms where we can find them…😉

      • Diane G.
        Posted November 19, 2016 at 3:35 am | Permalink

        I do hope you get a copy!

  4. eric
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    There’s literally nobody on today’s SCOTUS who was on the last evolution challenge the Supreme Court considered (Edwards Vs. Aguillard, 1987). So it’s an open question how this court (or this court +1 Trump nominee) would address it. I don’t think the recent turn-down is a strong indication, since the creationist position was so incredibly stupid, but it may give at least a little indication that Breyer has no interest in siding with the conservatives on this particular issue.

    • veroxitatis
      Posted November 17, 2016 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      I heard a real horror story on this side of the Pond — Ted Cruz for nomination to the vacancy on the Supreme Court.
      Please tell me it isn’t true.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted November 17, 2016 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

        I heard attorney general. But now a rumor on the news…Mitt Romney for Sec. of State. I suspect Trump is just playing reality TV with us but what else could he do.

        • Diane G.
          Posted November 19, 2016 at 3:38 am | Permalink

          I’d be greatly relieved to have Romney be SOS.

          Then maybe they can bring Olympia Snowe out of retirement for some position. (I know–SCOTUS!)

  5. Posted November 17, 2016 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    It is much harder to recover from jet lag flying east than west. Anyone know why? Good for you–you could enjoy your time in Asia and recover in Chicago.

    • Ralph
      Posted November 17, 2016 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      If you go west, you’re just tired in the evening, go to be early, have a long night’s sleep, maybe wake early – but it feels like adding extra time, it’s like putting the clocks back.

      If you go west, you can’t sleep until 3am, then a few hours later you have to get up – it feels like lost time, it’s like putting the clocks forward.

      I recall that there’s evidence that if humans are isolated without a watch or any day/night cues, the natural rhythm drifts slightly long (i.e. to 25h).

      • Posted November 17, 2016 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

        That makes sense. I need to travel more, but I hate flying.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 18, 2016 at 1:45 am | Permalink

        I think your second para should’ve started ‘if you go east …’ ?

        cr

      • eric
        Posted November 18, 2016 at 7:56 am | Permalink

        Yep. E->W you adjust by staying up a bit later than normal and then sleeping in. That’s easy, most people just call that “a good weekend.”🙂 Going W->E is more like you’ve just finished that weekend of sleeping in, and now it’s Monday morning and you have to get up extra early to make a meeting.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted November 17, 2016 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      It probably also depends on the amount of jet lag. 13 hours of E2W jetlag is probably no worse than 11 hours of W2E jetlag.
      I’ve been doing changes from 06:00-18:00 shifts to 18:00 to 06:00 shifts for that many years at depressingly frequent intervals. I just take the “hard change” option – stay awake round until you’re on the new cycle’s off-shift time, then slump into unconsciousness.
      (That’s if you have a shift pattern at all. If you’re on 24×7 cover, tough.)

      • Posted November 17, 2016 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

        I guess if you go one half way around the world it should not matter whether you went east or west, although it will take a bit longer going west.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted November 17, 2016 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

          Exactly.
          I’ve never found a good way of dealing with the fatigue of changing time cycles. It’s a real pain in the proverbial. One of the reasons that I’ve always preferred doing 3-week cycles (24 hour shift change after 10 days) to 2-week cycles (change after 7 days).

  6. Richard Jones
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Glad you corrected “Eskimo”. This rather insulting term still hangs on in Europe. The indigenous people of the north call themselves Inuit.

    • Posted November 17, 2016 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      In Canada Inuit is preferred, but in Alaska Eskimo is preferred because the Inuit are a subset of the indigenous inhabitants of the state. The Yupik do not appreciate being called Inuit.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted November 17, 2016 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

        I was always under the impression that “Inuit” was actually a name of one of the tribes on the Greenland side of the Davis Strait.

        • Posted November 17, 2016 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

          Oh, no. The Inuit are spread across the arctic from Greenland across northern Canada to Alaska, and even to Siberia for all I know. I can’t comprehend how they maintain a cultural identity across thousands of miles of harsh terrain. Perhaps they don’t.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted November 17, 2016 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

            Hmmm, longest mid-winter trip would be about 3500 km (Longyearben to Pevek). Assuming you could navigate directly across the Pole. In winter. Without a good clock.
            Another good question (to which I don’t know the answer) is how much different tribes of Arctic natives differ in their tendency to stick within sight of the shore versus heading straight off towards the target?

            • Posted November 17, 2016 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

              Both the Peary and Cook expeditions had Inuit guides, so I bet they are familiar with trans-polar travel.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted November 17, 2016 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

                Familiar with dog-sled travel over ice, yes.
                Navigation out of sight of shore – not proven.
                The pack ice is ephemeral. Even Nansen could only make quite broad (and eventually unsuccessful) predictions about the direction of ice floe flow (sorry!) over the year.

              • Posted November 17, 2016 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

                Well, the Inuit are very familiar with the North star. It permeates their carvings.

              • Posted November 18, 2016 at 11:44 am | Permalink

                About Polaris: there’s a very interesting book I enjoyed.

                https://www.amazon.com/Arctic-Sky-Inuit-Legend-Astronomy/dp/0888544278

              • Posted November 18, 2016 at 11:48 am | Permalink

                As for ice: my Inuk friend, Raven, told me that the *clouds* are used as a “map” for the ice and snow below them. I am not sure how this works, or even if it really does.

                When the Europeans asked an Inuk to draw a map for the first time, referring to Ellesmere Island, what resulted was an *effort map*, rather than distance. That’s why the internal part of the island on the map was not filled in: the Inuk meant that it would take more food than you’d could carry (as there was nothing to hunt, either) to cross it, hence the effort was infinite.

                I have always found that story heartwarming – how we are different, and yet recognizably also the same. (Both the extreme relativists and the extreme “human nature is the same everywhere” people are wrong.)

              • Diane G.
                Posted November 19, 2016 at 3:46 am | Permalink

                @ Keith “About Polaris…”

                Bought it! Sounds fascinating!

          • Posted November 18, 2016 at 11:42 am | Permalink

            In the technical sense, there are no Inuit in Siberia, but there’s almost sort of a cultural ring species, because of their very very distant relatives, the Sami. Any experts can correct me, but from what I understand, the Sami “went left” in central Asia and up to Finland, etc. and the Chukchi, etc. are those who “went right”, leading eventually all the way to Greenland.

            From what I understand the Alaskan natives do not use “Inuit” though some are very close to the Inuit in Yukon. (The Yupik, as mentioned, are further away culturally and geographically, from what I recall.)

      • Diane G.
        Posted November 19, 2016 at 3:52 am | Permalink

        Very interesting! So Alaskan natives don’t consider “Eskimo” an insult?

        Between this, and knowing that a significant proportion of (US) Native Americans prefer “Indian,” this is yet one more area in which we who want to do the right thing end up afraid to open our mouths.😉

  7. Christopher
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Never mind the Eskimos (or Inuit or Yupik), why the hell am I furry? Seriously?! My ancestors have worn clothes for a great many generations but still I have ass hair. THIS IS NOT AN INTELLIGENT DESIGN!

    It does however all me to say things like “you can kiss my hairy Irish arse” and really mean it.

    • Diane G.
      Posted November 19, 2016 at 3:53 am | Permalink

      Dunno if this requires a “TMI” or an “LOL.” I’ll go with both.😀

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 19, 2016 at 6:18 am | Permalink

        Ummm. Several decades ago…
        Female acquaintance (in sauna): “CR, you’re so *hairy*!”
        CR, after a moment’s reflection: “So are you. In places”.

        I think she was amused.

  8. Dan
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    “I’m back from SE Asia”

    How many countries have you visited? From backreading, I see Singapore, HK, and Mainland China. Only Singapore is technically in Southeast Asia.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted November 17, 2016 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      Yes. And technically it’s all south and east of Chicago. Jet Lag takes the technicality out of geography.

      • Jonathan Wallace
        Posted November 18, 2016 at 3:53 am | Permalink

        …or south and west of chicago🙂

        • bobkillian
          Posted November 18, 2016 at 8:53 am | Permalink

          Chicago’s north Street beach is on the same latitude as the Vatican.

          apropos of nothing.

          • rickflick
            Posted November 18, 2016 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

            That’s interesting trivia. Also, note that a missile launched from North Street to the Vatican would therefor require a minimal fuel load… just a thought.

  9. Randall Schenck
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    Fish also do not have hair and they live in some damn cold water.

    • ploubere
      Posted November 17, 2016 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

      Gibson logic: “If we’re descended from fish, why are there still fish?”

  10. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 2:24 am | Permalink

    So, if this evolution stuff works, why am I bald on top, when that’s *exactly* the place where some hair would do the most good?

    Answer that!

    cr


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