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The Future Is Now

“A bunch of angry smiling people were handing out these anti-evolution flyers.”

Before there was the TV show Futurama, there was The Simpsons. Sprung forth from the same genius mind of Matt Groening, the man responsible for re-defining comedy, sarcasm, and satire for an entire generation (my generation), Futurama is the perfect blend of science, science-fiction, and modern comedy. What The Simpsons did for my generation at large, it was almost as if Futurama was tailor made to fit the humor centers of my brain. I adore this show like few others.

The latest episode of Futurama is not only no exception, it is exceptional in its treatment of the hottest and longest standing topic of the skeptical community: evolution versus creationism. Titled “A Clockwork Origin” (brilliant), this episode cuts right to the chase of the never-ending war of the scientific truth of evolution having to defend itself against the relentless assault of the long-defeated notion of creationism.

The opening three minutes of the episode encapsulates the “missing link fallacy” that creationists are still fond of using as part of their tired, old arsenal. Futurama nails this perfectly, and as always, hilariously. If there was any doubt as to where Matt Groening positions himself in this war, let there be no more doubt. As I and countless others have mentioned or written before, Groening is a skeptic, solid to the core.

Here’s a taste of the episode’s dialogue from the opening three minutes. Professor Farnsworth, the voice of reason in this exchange, is confronting a group of evolution protesters who have gathered at an anti-evolution rally …

Crank woman: “I don’t understand evolution and I have to protect my kids from understanding it. We will not give in to the thinkers!”

Professor Farnsworth: “You people are as loud as you are ignorant!”

Doctor Banjo: “I remind you that evolution is only a theory like gravity or the share pf the earth.”

Flying Spaghetti Monster: “Hey Professor, I’m a flying spaghetti monster. You seriously believe I am descendant for some kind of flightless manicotti?”

Farnsworth: “YES!”

Banjo: “A far more logical explanation is the undisprovable science of Creaturism!”

Banjo: “All life was created in its present form 7000 years ago by a fantastical creature from outer space.”

Farnsworth: “Bunk!”

Banjo: “Oh? If your elitist east-coast evolution is real, why has no one found the missing link between modern humans and ancient apes?”

Farnsworth: “We did find it! It’s called homo-erectus!”

Banjo: “Then you have proven my case sir, for no one has found the link between apes and this homo-erectus.”

Farnsworth: “Yes they have! – its called homo-habilis.”

Banjo: “Ah-ha, but no one has found the missing link between ape and the so-called homo habilis.”

Farnsworth: “Yes they have! – its called australopithecus africanus.”

Banjo: “Ho-ho, I’ve got you now …”

(time goes by, the rally has since broken up)

Banjo: “Fair enough, but where then is the missing link between apes and this darwinius masillae?”

Farnsworth: “Ok, granted, that one missing link is still missing. But just because we haven’t found it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.”

Banjo: “Pishaw! Things don’t exist simply because you believe in them. Thus sayeth the all mighty creature in the sky!”

For those of you fortunate enough to have Comedy Central, you can catch the replay of this episode on Tuesday night at 8:30pm EST. For the rest of you wily enough, this episode can be found online, but I won’t contribute to internet piracy – that would be rather un-evolved of me.

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