Three Portraits of Evolution; or, Who Says Evolution Doesn’t Lead to Nihilism?

The evolution of the American economy:


The evolution of the temperature of the Earth:


The evolution of Charles Darwin’s body:



13 thoughts on “Three Portraits of Evolution; or, Who Says Evolution Doesn’t Lead to Nihilism?

  1. But none of these are examples of evolution, except in the most degenerate use of the term (change over time).

    That’s not how most people use that term, so it would be misleading to claim that…

    Oh. That’s the joke, isn’t it? Ha ha.

    Sorry if I gave away the punch line.

  2. Of course there is some intentional equivocation on the word evolution in this post in order to add humor and zest for a blog post. For example, that’s not really Darwin’s corpse. However, I would say that they are all part of the same macro system, which is the point. Looked at objectively, each case (yes, even the economy!) is a case of natural process, subject to the (alleged) laws of survival optimization and so on. It’s interesting to note that this so called “progress” leads to such disasters on both the macro (temperatures, economy) and micro (an individual person) levels.

    So if that qualifies as a “punchline,” then I guess you’re right.


  3. Equivocation refers to the intentional use of vague or ambiguous language, often with the intention to deceive. I can think of many ways to be humorous and/or interesting without being equivocal, so why the “of course?” Does that mean you feel it is impossible to be both interesting and truthful at the same time? Or does your form of humor depend on lies to be effective? That would explain a lot about the postings on this site.

    Whose theory of evolution are you making fun of anyway? It certainly doesn’t sound like Darwin’s. For example, a person does not physically evolve over his lifetime. His body grows according to the process genetically inherited from his parents, and eventually loses the battle against the forces working to break down its delicate patterns. Those instructions and patterns are a result of prior evolutionary processes, and we can use the more generic meaning of “evolve” to say something like “his personality evolved as he experienced the realities of life,” but to say that the death or decomposition of a body represents a “disaster” on the “individual person” level that somehow negates the theory of evolution of species, which is only valid and apparent over many generations, only serves to highlight your ignorance of the theory you’re trying to “defeat.”

    There are similar problems with your other “portraits of evolution.” For example, the short-term economic fluctuations in the first graph are probably driven more by the greed and shortsightedness of the people trading the stocks than by evolutionary pressures for the stocks themselves to survive or improve in a competitive environment. Can you see the difference? Apparently not.

    And how does evolution (either Darwin’s actual theory or the one you describe as though it were his) lead to nihilism? Just because evolution has not resulted in immortal beings doesn’t mean life is pointless or not worth living, or that there is no objective truth, or whatever other sub-meaning your equivocation is referring to. Perhaps we’re just seeing an expression of your own sense of failure here.

    If you were being clever in a way we could all understand, by using non-equivocal language to make valid points about the deficiencies of a certain theory, we could all laugh with you for being so witty. As it is, all we can do is laugh at you for posting such inane drivel.

    Ha-ha-ha look at the loud and ignorant liar!!!

    Is that a better punch line for you?

  4. Thank you Eastwood. In fact, if everyone could understand, then I wouldn’t need to post anything, because the scientific community would (by definition under your scenario) be in agreement with me. I need to express my ideas precisely because they are (obviously) not understood.

  5. There is a difference between expressing yourself in ways that can be understood, and expressing ideas that are in agreement with the scientific community. If your ideas are coherent, then you should be able to express them in ways that any reasonable person could understand, whether or not the scientific community agrees with them.

    The way to do that is to use words according to their agreed-upon meanings. For example, when you use “evolution” in a post related to Darwin, the implication is that you’re referring to Darwin’s theory of the evolution of species. But you used it to caption a picture of a skull to imply that his theory can be applied to an individual, the result of which is death and decay. You also used it on some graphs to imply that his theory was applicable to (or could be used to explain) things like market conditions and global cllimate changes.

    To someone familiar with Darwin’s theories, the rational conclusion is that you either don’t know what his theory is about, that you’re trying to misinform others about what his theory is about, or that you are making some kind of play-on-words joke. Or is it just that you like throwing mud around?

    It would be nice if I could get a straight answer on what you are trying to achieve with this post – a demonstration of your ignorance, an attempt at deception, or humor disguised as one of the above?

    You claim that you’re trying to “express your ideas,” and you are adament that this site is not a parody (to the point of removing some comments that identified it as such), so what idea are you trying to express with this post? That the word “evolution” should be diluted from its current specific meaning to cover anything that changes in any way? There are already plenty of words to express all kinds of changes, so how would destroying the specific meaning of “evolution” be useful for anything other than your own equivocation?

    If you feel the theory of evolution is incorrect or flawed in some way, and if you have some ideas of your own about how the multiplicity of species arise in a natural environment, then why can’t you express them? The ones I see already, like the dinosaur extinction or mutants getting girlfriends posts, only make attacks on the established theory in ways that again display your ignorance of what you’re attacking, rather than providing some reasonable alternative.

    If evolution is wrong, what do you think is right? Something incomprehensible? How useful is that?

    Is your idea that the world is beyond any hope of comprehension, so there’s no point trying to comprehend anything? You see, even the idea that nothing can be comprehended can still be expressed comprehensibly when you use words that anyone can comprehend.

    Try it sometime. Unless, of course, you don’t actually want your ideas to be understood. If that’s the case, you’re doing just fine.

  6. AngelPlume: I wouldn’t waste too much blood, sweat or tears over this. I am 96% convinced that NotedScholar is either a troll or a poe.

    I simply refuse to accept that someone can be articulate (which NS is), and yet so utterly devoid of logic or the ability to reason.

  7. your wit is unparalleled, please immediately have sex with me as I am so turned on by your continuous misogyny

  8. Your ability to detect sarcasm is also unparalleled. You are most certainly the most brilliant and comprehensible one here, and totally not an idiot posting random images trying to make a funny.

  9. Pingback: PZ Myers responds to my critique of evolution, ignores current research by Klingenberg | Science and Math Defeated

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