I had thought about a contribution to the competition to christen a new “Darwin Fish” to adorn bumpers everywhere (I was thinking a snazzy version of Tiktaalik in place of the fish) but then I remembered I wasn’t that good of an artist. Even so, I have to say I was a bit let down by the winning selection, and while it might be a neat “atheist fish” or “anti-Christianity fish,” a Darwin Fish it isn’t. Have a look for yourself here.
If someone wants to stick that on their car, fine, but I don’t think it says anything about evolution (if I saw it without knowing about the contest I wouldn’t have connected the two). In a way, it reminds me of much of the debate via blogs and other resources; this seems to be a religious debate rather than a scientific one. This is impossible to avoid, being that creationists are trying to pass off beliefs as science, but as discussed in my evolution class today, sometimes I get the feeling that scientists are making such a connection between atheism and evolution that a false dichotomy is being created; it’s almost like you have to choose between Richard Dawkins or Ken Ham with little middle ground (at least without the risk of being berated by both sides at least). Confronting creationism and attempting to educate people about science is one thing, but I get the feeling that constantly ridiculing other people’s beliefs and tying evolution to atheism is going to do more harm than good. The science of evolution may conflict with some people’s beliefs but it does not require atheism as a prerequisite, and I feel there are many more people out there who want to both keep some kind of faith while agreeing with evolution, but it often seems like the most vocal people in the debate are demanding that we pick sides based on religious grounds.
Anyway, I never really felt compelled to have an original Darwin Fish on my car because I felt it created the false image that evolution destroys faith, and while I don’t believe NOMA particularly works (science and religion do overlap) I think the overall discourse has disintegrated to a point where many people largely unfamiliar with the debate are put off by fundamentalists on both sides. As my professor said today, everyone seems so angry that it’s hard to see how any progress will end up being made.