Wednesday, August 06, 2008

On finding (something more interesting than) Nemo

Not being in Britain, I didn't have the chance to watch 'The Genius of Darwin' as it was broadcast, and I haven't gotten around to seeing whether the episodes have popped up on YouTube yet.

Charlie Brooker did watch it, and he has also come up with (via) what I think is an original way of describing the creationist belief system:

Since Darwin's death, Dawkins points out, the evidence confirming his discovery has piled up and up and up, many thousand feet above the point of dispute. And yet heroically, many still dispute it. They're like couch potatoes watching Finding Nemo on DVD who've suffered some kind of brain haemorrhage which has led them to believe the story they're watching is real, that their screen is filled with water and talking fish, and that that's all there is to reality - just them and that screen and Nemo - and when you run into the room and point out the DVD player and the cables connecting it to the screen, and you open the windows and point outside and describe how overwhelming the real world is - when you do all that, it only spooks them. So they go on believing in Nemo, with gritted teeth if necessary.

Why do they do that? Well the alternative -- a.k.a. reality -- is not so...nice.

As Dawkins says: "The total amount of suffering in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute it takes me to say these words, thousands of animals are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, feeling teeth sink into their throats. Thousands are dying from starvation or disease or feeling a parasite rasping away from within. There is no central authority; no safety net. For most animals the reality of life is struggling, suffering and death."

Not that there aren't, of course, many much more pleasant things in life for some animals. A few of which we've blogged about recently, such as...um...well, art, Denny's, heavy metal and zoology museums.

And I think we may just have to include Charlie Brooker among them as well.

1 comment:

Geoff Coupe said...

Oh yes, Mr. Brooker definitely gets my vote as someone to buoy you up as we all swirl around together in the cesspit of life... I missed that particular column of his, thanks for pointing it out.