Can the Texas BoE walk and deny evolution at the same time?

By Phil Plait | May 11, 2009 9:21 am

What does it say about your Board of Education when ad executives for a chewing gum company understand evolution better than you do?

… or a beer company, for that matter. Of course, that’s a European beer… and evidently beer was invented before the Universe itself was.

Tip o’ bacterium’s flagellum to BABloggee Andy McMurray.

Comments (53)

  1. Of course, you just know the nitwits are going to respond by saying, “Yes, but when was the last time you saw an amoeba evolve into a salamander? Or a monkey evolve into a human? Answer me that, Mr. Darwin-worshipping scientist?”

  2. Yes, but who designed the gum? Or the beer? Beer is obviously a transcendental mystical beverage that in no way could have been invented by man. It is obviously a gift of the gods.

  3. Chris

    Ken Ham is going to sue them for false advertising.

  4. Clearly the gum was intelligently designed.

  5. The sloth seemed a little out of place.

  6. jsclary

    I still can’t help but think these things, despite being cool, contribute to the problem. You wouldn’t believe how many of these ignorant creationist actually think evolution means either one animal giving birth to a completely different animal or one animal actually turning into another animal during it’s lifetime through some kind of radical mutations.

  7. Ben E.

    I’m not sure… Passing gum on from generation to generation seems a bit Lamarckian to me.

  8. DQTran

    Man….. I should just move outta Fort Worth…

  9. Sundance

    You’ve gotta admit though, that the ad does display a pretty poor understanding of how long evolution actually takes. Someday that ad could be the holy text for a new religion, and there’ll be arguments between skeptics and believers in which the believers test how many hours a stick of chewing gum lasts, and then argue that the Universe clearly can’t be any older than that, BECAUSE IT SAYS SO IN THE COMMERCIAL! :-)

  10. Kaa

    It also implied that humans evolved from chimpanzees. Which is just adding fuel to the fire we’ve been trying to stamp out.

    Cute, but misleading. :)

  11. Geek Goddess

    Phil, the Texas school board has a ratio of about 50% of the people who wanted to teach nonsense ‘all sides of the debate’ in evolution, and a fewer number of that who are YECs. They are being marginalized and the legislature is addressing a lot of the issues.

    What does this so-so commercial have to do with the school board in general, or are you resorting to stupid hate-Texas jokes that seem to be so popular right now?

  12. Sili

    There. Is. NO. Great. Chain. Of. Being.

  13. Darren Garrison

    Hey, that beer commercial is running in the wrong direction!

    Here it is, corrected:

    http://www.sendspace.com/file/86a8rd

  14. TheLoneIguana

    Nobody’s saying the commercial’s got it *exactly* right. Just even in a monumentally simplified form, the commercial has a better grip on evolution than the creationists do.

  15. Antonio

    As a resident of Texas, where can I send correspondence to show my displeasure in the Texas DoE?

  16. thegiantsnail

    Sure, there’s a great chain of being. It just starts and ends with beer. I think…

  17. JaBiWa

    Awesome! Gum that lasts 6,000-10,000 years, tops.

  18. José

    If man evolved from sloths, why are there still sloths?

  19. blf

    evidently beer was invented before the Universe itself was

    That would explain why so many things in the universe are badly messed up. The designer was drunk.

  20. Nik

    Man did not evolve from sloths, the ad is over-simplified.
    Also, I would like to draw everyone’s attention to the following video:

    http://www.breitbart.tv/?p=336583&

    It’s sad when you can be taken to court for teaching the lack of Religion, but not for teaching Religion itself.

  21. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    evidently beer was invented before the Universe itself was

    So? The creationists will just dismiss the Big Belch theory.

  22. Gary Ansorge

    Civilization was invented by beer drinkers trying to ensure a steady supply of grain for their fermentation barrels and has been stumbling downhill ever since. What incredible genius they had. Imagine, plant some seeds, ferment the excess and sit around drinking all day waiting for the next crop to come in,,,
    Personally, I prefer plants one can smoke,,,

    GAry 7

  23. Gary Ansorge

    Or, to put it another way:
    “Bud is cool but bud is better,,,”

    GAry 7

  24. Jeff lIttle

    >If man evolved from sloths, why are there still sloths?
    Like in Humans Just the Smart ones evolved.

  25. Torbjörn Larsson, OM Says:
    So? The creationists will just dismiss the Big Belch theory.

    heheh. literally made me LOL.
    in fact, it was Quote of the Day twitter worthy ;-)

  26. Anthony

    José, given that you’re posting on this site I have to assume you’re kidding. Unfortunately, the reality is that people in this world actually think like that. They fail to comprehend the fact that evolution doesn’t mean one species completely transformed itself into something entirely different and instantly died out. They also don’t seem to understand that evolution is a slow process and doesn’t happen overnight.

  27. OtherRob

    If beer is indeed older than the universe, does that mean that all this mysterious dark matter and dark energy is really just the stout portion of the universe?

  28. I posted something like this previously in the comments.
    The earth is 6,021 yrs old because I saw on the History Channel that we’ve been brewing for 6,000 yrs and the legal drinking age is 21.

  29. José

    Yes, I was kidding. You expect to see some mistakes in a gum ad, but going from prosimian to a tree sloth and then a chimp was just bizarre.

  30. Ronald van Raaij

    It is in fact a direct ripoff of the fatboy slim video for “right here right now”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R795KiMD4zs

  31. # Nik Says:
    Also, I would like to draw everyone’s attention to the following video:
    http://www.breitbart.tv/?p=336583&
    It’s sad when you can be taken to court for teaching the lack of Religion, but not for teaching Religion itself.

    There is also Jim Corbett’s (the teacher who was sued) commentary on Salon

    J/P=?

  32. maddogdelta

    @jsclary

    You wouldn’t believe how many of these ignorant creationist actually think evolution means either one animal giving birth to a completely different animal or one animal actually turning into another animal during it’s lifetime through some kind of radical mutations.

    Remember, these are the same people who think “The Flintstones” is a documentary.

    // with apologies to Lewis Black…

  33. AL

    I’m not so thrilled with this ad. Evolution is one of the most easily misunderstood subjects, not because the core concepts are difficult to grasp (they’re really quite simple), but because of confusion generated by its opponents, and unfortunately, also confusion generated by its proponents who oversimplify with misleading “metaphors” like creatures turning into other creatures in a linear, hierarchical fashion. Evolution is not linear or hierarchical, and it occurs to populations, not individual organisms.

    Sure, this is a gum ad, it shouldn’t be taken too seriously, but at the same time, I think pop culture inculcates way too many misconceptions, and people who aren’t serious about studying evolution (e.g. the homeschool crowd) will take what tidbits they get from things like this ad.

  34. Keith

    @Geek Goddess – I’m with you. People in Texas aren’t a bunch of hicks who all blindly embrace young Earth creationism. Some of us like me accept the scientific validation of evolution.

  35. Greg in Austin

    I like this one better:

    www . youtube.com/watch?v=faRlFsYmkeY
    Homer Evolution

    8)

  36. Kris N.

    @Ben E.
    “I’m not sure… Passing gum on from generation to generation seems a bit Lamarckian to me.”

    Great comment.

  37. sugardave

    Hey Al:

    “Sure, this is a gum ad, it shouldn’t be taken too seriously, but at the same time, I think pop culture inculcates way too many misconceptions, and people who aren’t serious about studying evolution (e.g. the homeschool crowd) will take what tidbits they get from things like this ad.”

    How about you take that broad brush and shove it up your ass sideways? We homeschool our daughter because we feel the public education system sucks, not because we’re religious nutjobs. And guess what? We study evolution!

  38. astrocadet

    The Texas Board of Education is populated with members who, um, didn’t take enough science classes in school. This is a repeating scenario as they want to continue to restrict information to which Texan students have access. It is appalling how many people believe that Elvis is still alive and aliens have visited our planet than have faith in the scientific method for understanding our physical universe. Maybe I should run for the TX Board of Education.

  39. Gonzo

    @Geek Goddess – I’m with you. People in Texas aren’t a bunch of hicks who all blindly embrace young Earth creationism. Some of us like me accept the scientific validation of evolution.

    But it doesn’t matter if creationism becomes a part of the state mandated curriculum. Regardless of what individuals believe, students will be taught this crap.

  40. Xeero

    Phil, you just made my night with the beer revelation. Thank you XD

  41. Gary Ansorge

    sugardave: I suppose you meant “Plant it where the sun don’t shine,,,”???

    I know one couple that home schools, because they don’t want their kids exposed to creatinism and bullying by dipwads. They are both top 1 % and their kids are outstanding. Home schooling is a two edged sword, totally dependent upon the intent of the parents.

    Gary 7

  42. Daniel J. Andrews

    I have to echo some of the other comments here (e.g. Al, jsclary) that this ad will mislead. We still haven’t fixed up those misunderstandings incurred by that typical human lineage poster (small monkey walking to upright hominid and human at the end). That one is complete nonsense that various groups still pull apart (quite rightly) to demonstrate the ‘dishonesty’ of scientists. It is a favourite strawman target for attacking evolution.

    In December I was asked to attend a pastor’s talk on Evolution vs Creationism. He started off badly and went worse from there. Part of his talk involved showing a clip from a children’s animated movie (a dinosaur movie? Land that Time Forgot?) that showed evolution occurring similar to the gum ad clip. He then spent 10 minutes ridiculing it as if it were a documentary commissioned by godless scientists themselves, and not an artistic reinterpretation of evolution, by someone who probably never had a science course in their life, for the purpose of setting up a storyline for the movie.

    Stephen J. Gould expressed similar sentiments about the damage the human lineage poster created. He relates that in his book in which he speaks out against that human lineage poster his book was later published in Europe(?) with that poster on the front cover.

  43. Geek Goddess

    @Gonzo But it doesn’t matter if creationism becomes a part of the state mandated curriculum. Regardless of what individuals believe, students will be taught this crap. It is not mandated. The wording inserted into the standards *allows* teachers to bring it up. And some teachers will.

  44. AL

    Apologies to those offended. Perhaps I should’ve qualified further: those who homeschool because they don’t want their kids exposed to evolution.

  45. AL

    “Stephen J. Gould expressed similar sentiments about the damage the human lineage poster created. He relates that in his book in which he speaks out against that human lineage poster his book was later published in Europe(?) with that poster on the front cover.”

    Yes, the human progression image is what leads to “if we came from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?” kind of objections. It also presents evolution as progressive. Many people take from it that monkeys are “primitive” and humans are “advanced” when the reality is that evolution does not aim for any sort of progression.

  46. Nigel Depledge

    Astrocadet said:

    It is appalling how many people believe that Elvis is still alive . . .

    Wait, what?

    Are you saying Elvis is dead?
    ;-)

  47. Darth Robo

    >>>”It is not mandated. The wording inserted into the standards *allows* teachers to bring it up. And some teachers will.”

    And it shouldn’t be.

    Unless it is used by teachers as a qualifier to help explain how science works and why some things (like pseudo-scientific religious creationism) doesn’t.

  48. “Teach the controversy” meets the comics page:

    http://gocomics.com/nonsequitur/2009/05/18/
    :-)

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