Thursday November 4, 2004
Â· For a bloke who looks a lot like a monkey, George W Bush has a strange disdain for evolution. Now, this might all seem very trivial to you, but the Bush administration has decided, just before this week’s vote, to stand by its approval for a book that’s being sold in National Park museums and bookshops. This book explains to young minds that the Grand Canyon is only a couple of thousand years old, and was created by Noah’s flood, rather than by geological forces.
Â· Lo! Grand Canyon National Park superintendent Joe Alston heroically intervened and referred the sale of the book to his superiors but they sinisterly kept it on the shelves. They also appear to have ignored a letter from the presidents of the Palaeological Society, the American Geophysical Union, the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, the American Geological Institute, the Geological Society of America, and more, all pointing out that the book was nonsense. And they told Congress that they’d have a review of whether they were going to sell the book, and then calmly didn’t bother.
Â· Verily you may now laugh at the Americans in a smug European way, for truly they are in the grip of religious freaks: or, alternatively, you can go to the City of Bristol’s Festival of Nature, which includes an extensive exhibition from Bad Science repeat-offenders The Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, Britain’s own creationist outfit, which specialises in targeting children, and advertises in its festival blurb that “huge educational mazes are part of these displays”. I think that might be a reference to the Intelligent Design argument.
Â· But if it’s back doors to enlightenment you’re after, you need look no further than Bach Flower Remedies’ new Yoga in a Bottle, which has several marketing advantages over real yoga: mainly, it requires the deployment of absolutely no exercise. Its only side effect is to eradicate the opportunity for meeting nice women at yoga class, but if you’re so physically non-viable that you’ve decided to buy yoga in a bottle, then you probably gave up any hope of action between the sheets several years ago, you decadent, obese, lazy, pathetic, unfit, feckless, unmotivated moron. Sorry, I think I’ve got low blood sugar this afternoon. And I always get bad-tempered if I haven’t mentioned Dr Gillian McKeith PhD for a while. “To avoided bloated tummy,” she writes, in this month’s Heat, “try not to eat when you’re tired, hungry, or upset.”
This letter followed a week later:
I’m not convinced that Darwinian evolution comes across as that flattering for monkeys (Bad Science, November 4). They are often portrayed as a “rung down the evolutionary ladder”, which could be taken as an insult – especially now Bush (to mix metaphors) is “top dog” again.