This Neato Video On Evolution Won't Convince Creationists Of Anything
Here's a pretty nifty science video from Interwebs science project Stated Clearly, a project aimed at making science stuff more easily accessible. We ran across it over at RawStory, where Arturo Garcia, ever the optimist, says that this brief look at the evidence for evolution "should come in handy for anyone debating the issue with creationists." Haha, that is a nice dream you have, and we were young and hopeful once, too! Garcia is right about one thing -- you may indeed be glad to be armed with facts, which is always a good thing; just don't have any illusion that mere scientific reality will convince a creationist of anything.
That said, the video is a terrific distillation of the evidence for evolution in just one order, cetaceans (that'd be your whales, your dolphins, your porpoises, and your William Howard Taft), drawing evidence from multiple lines of study -- comparative anatomy, embryology, the fossil record, and DNA -- to show the evolutionary connections between whales and land mammals.
Again, this isn't going to convince creationists. They have a very good explanation for the fact that whales and humans both have similar arm, wrist, hand and finger bones: God wanted it that way. But for those of us who are generally into science but not actual scientists, it's a pretty terrific, clearly explained discussion of the evidence, including a look at transitional fossils like the basilosaurid whale, whose blowhole wasn't on top of its head, but halfway down its face from where its terrestrial ancestor had a nose. Mind you, that's not really evidence of anything, because as creationists like to remind us, there are no transitional fossils in the record.
The Stated Clearly project was started by Oregon artist Jon Perry, who started it "after noting that the scientific community is having trouble engaging the public through traditional means of lectures, journal publications, and book sales." Like a lot of us, Perry isn't a scientist by training, but a science enthusiast who thinks that critical thinking and awareness of science are good things in themselves. Unlike Yr Wonkette, he actually manages to present his videos without any open contempt for creationists and know-nothings, which makes him a better person and maybe even more credible, but also isn't nearly as much fun, because dammit, we've earned our sneering.
Watch, enjoy, and drag in any bright nine-year-olds who might be in the vicinity, too!
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.