Monday, January 23, 2006

Primordial Primer: the terms you need to know about the origins of man

Below: Ascent of man from Homo Idioticus
(or "Alt Man") to Homo Pious Piedmontus
Today the Education Oversight Committee’s subcommittee on academic standards will listen to testimony from scientists hand-picked by Senator Mike Fair, to determine whether our science standards regarding evolution should be revised. It’s a complicated topic - it would take one decades to attain Fair’s nuanced understanding of evolutionary biology and education standards – but here are ten terms you should know if you want to keep up with what is probably the most important issue in our state, except for every other issue in our state.

Charles Darwin – A 19th Century naturalist so far ahead of his time scientifically that he patented a magnetic ornament of a fish with legs, to adhere to automobile bumpers, long before the automobile was even invented.

Genesis – Creationists believe this first book of the Bible to have a scientifically correct description of the origin of Man. Scientists argue that there is only one man whose origin in Genesis is systematically verifiable: Phil Collins.

Homo erectus – A species of hominid that lived between 1.8 million and 300,000 years ago, eventually dying off out of embarrassment for its name.

Intelligent Design – The theory that Man is too physically complex and beautiful a creature to have evolved without some divine or extra-terrestrial guidance. Disproved in 12,000 B.C. with the discovery of the scrotum.

Linnaean classification – This is what it’s called when scientists say Homo sapiens instead of “man.” Linnaean classifications are used to provide scientists with common nomenclature because they are the same everywhere. The lone exception to this rule is the Roadrunner, who is alternately called Speedipus rex, Velocitus delectibus, and Tastyus supersonicus.

Mammals – The class of animals that share characteristics such as hair/fur and mammary glands, as in the original draft of the public breastfeeding bill: “Be it enacted that breastfeeding mothers ain’t nothing but mammals, so as to provide that they may do it like they do on the Discovery Channel.”

Peking Man – A Homo erectus discovered in China in the 1930’s. Also, the reason that South Carolina is 48th in the nation in unemployment. See, there’s this book called the Flat World or something, and it says people in McCormick County are in direct competition with people in Shanghai and New Delhi and blah blah blah, etc etc…

Scopes Monkey Trial – In 1925, a young biology teacher named John Scopes taught evolution, contrary to a Tennessee statute passed by religious fundamentalists. The trial was immortalized in the classic film, Footloose, starring Kevin Bacon.

Social Darwinism – the type of Darwinism right-wingers don’t have a problem with.

Vestigial -- Any structures that have been greatly reduced in size and function over evolutionary time, to the extent that they now appear to have little or no current function. Famous examples are the Tyrannosaurus Rex’s arms, the ostrich’s wings, and John Graham Altman’s brain.


Anonymous said...

Does the state house dome cause a DNA mutation of brain cells which predispose the occupants to forget the main business of the people of SC? To keep bringing frivious bills to the chamber at the expense of the taxpayers...

Anonymous said...

Sorry, about my SC public school education...change that misspelled word to "frivolous".

Anonymous said...


You're too funny!! Thanks, I needed a laugh on a Monday morning.

Lynn B said...

Isn't Peking Man the guy who is also responsible for Mark Sandford's "soil prep" deficit disorder?

Anonymous said...

The Soil Prep catechism was first introduced by John Deerimiticus

Anonymous said...

Note on Genesis: P. collins also shows evidence of evolution, with radiation from the dummer niche into vocalist. It is genreally believed that this is the best evidence against intelligent design since W. shatner also radiated into the vocalist niche.


The Drama Queen said...

Your connection between Footloose and the Scopes trial is way off base. It was based on an actual law passed in a city in the midwest that had actually banned dancing back in the 1910's and around 1979 or 1980, the teenagers asked for a prom and they had to jump through hoops to get one. They finally did then and that's how Footloose was born.

Just thought I'd share.


pettyca$h said...

can I just say "wow" to the drama queen.