Skip to comments.Art as Propaganda for Evolution
Posted on 04/11/2009 9:21:02 AM PDT by GodGunsGuts
Art as Propaganda for Evolution
April 10, 2009 Should a scientific theory be propagated by appeal to scientific evidence, or by appeal to emotions through visualization? Nature this week contained two articles that shamelessly praised art as propaganda for evolution. Surprisingly, one of them mentioned Charles Darwin as someone at the cutting edge of visualization.
The exhibit examines the history of art as Darwinism was overtaking traditional religious beliefs.
The exhibit does a good job of showing how differently people saw the world at the dawn of the nineteenth century. Nature was replete with signs of divine design. A painting of Noahs flood was considered historical art. Yet Darwin was able to learn a great deal from art of this time, whether he was studying illustrations of geological formations or marvelling at the paintings of FrenchAmerican naturalist John James Audubon, who Darwin met as a teenager.Zimmer claims that Darwin did not use pictures merely to illustrate ideas, but to investigate them. For instance, the very notion of beauty was something Darwin wanted to explain: the beauty of orchids actually masked a complex contrivance for getting pollen onto insects; the beauty of an Argus pheasants feathers was the result of sexual selection. Artists, in sympathetic vibration, paid attention to Darwin. They replaced sentimental scenes of nature with bleaker portraits of the struggle for survival.
As Darwin developed as a scientist, he made some modest art of his own. On his journeys in South America, he painted the rock strata of the Andes in watercolour. On his return to the United Kingdom, he began to scribble odd little tree diagrams in his notebooks a visual expression of his great epiphany that species are related through common descent. Darwin worked closely with artists to illustrate his books. This may surprise readers of On the Origin of Species a book with a single illustration showing the branching of species. But his other books were lavishly illustrated....
Darwin was at the cutting edge of visualization. His 1872 work The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals was one of the first books ever to be illustrated with photographs including pictures of faces distorted by electric currents, produced by the work of French physician Guillaume Duchenne.
Zimmer was glad the exhibit did not shy away from difficult subjects. ....some [artists] wrongly took it [evolution] as justification to elevate whites over other races, cloaking their freak-show voyeurism in the guise of anthropology.Why Zimmer gives the exhibit great credit for this was not explained. Is he glad that the dark side of evolutionary thinking is being exposed?
God or Gorilla hints at a larger clash of visual cultures between modernists and fundamentalists: Neanderthals versus Adam and Eve, church frescoes depicting ascent from protozoa against a picturable God. That would be a great topic for further research, which would need to pay religious icons more attention, but this highly readable book is valuable as it stands. It is also timely. The 1920s shaped pictures of evolution, and of evolutionary debate, that are still in our heads. As biologists work with illustrators to communicate science, and creationists attack textbook icons,3 it is helpful to reflect on the struggles of that decisive decade.Hopwood thus identified the evolutionist imagery as useful to science, whether or not it was accurate. Clark, for instance, said Cartoons played on images of the Scopes monkey trial, and people joked about missing links. In museums, tree diagrams and misleading sequences like the fossil horse series were presented as unvarnished facts. Hopwood did not condemn any of this. For instance, he disparaged the attempts of Henry Fairfield Osborn to imply that evolution was compatible with religion. This theistic evolutionism repelled secular scientists and fundamentalist Christians alike, but was often presented as the scientific consensus. Hopwood seems to imply that the scientific consensus allows no such accommodationism it must be anti-religious and materialistic.
458, 704-705 (9 April 2009) | doi:10.1038/458704a; Published online 8 April 2009.
3. This seems to be a direct reference to Icons of Evolution by Dr. Jonathan Wells (Regnery, 2000).
Visualization is one of several pedagogical aids that can enlighten or propagandize, depending on how it is used. Theres nothing intrinsically wrong with cartoons, simplified illustrations, and diagrams if they illuminate the truth. However, wrong inferences can be made such as Darwins photos of people expressing emotion being used to infer they inherited these capabilities from apes. Art and visualization can distract, mislead, mischaracterize, or create emotional responses in lieu of scientific evidence. Darwinists have been very skilled at this propaganda since their master wrote his materialist manifesto. They should be scorned, not praised, for pretending that peppered moths prove humans had bacteria ancestors, or for piecing together unrelated fossils into a story of evolutionary progression. Awareness of the danger of visualization is the best defense, and the best offense is to unmask it as propaganda. Truth needs illumination, not varnish.
Another one that really annoys me is the animation of a meteorite hitting, and dinosaurs running away, and being killed by the blast. It’s such nonsense, but people see that, and it sticks, idiomatically, in their mind, because there is currently a vacuum in that place.
I’m reminded of an exchange I had a while back about posting graphics as an argument.......
What chaps my hide is that they create these images, even though in many cases they know they are false, or at best extremely speculative.
My disagreement with using them in a debate is that I consider it a coward's tactic. You don't have to defend what you're saying if you never really said anything.
That makes no sense at all. Is showing the images of the dead bodies piled up at Auschwitz to a Holocaust denier taking the cowards way out?
Showing that same picture in a different context, with the intent of implicitly accusing someone of being complicit or responsible but not being will to come right out and say so would be.
Well good, that settles it then. I came right out and said that Haekel was a full-on racist.
Do you agree with the author's assesment that the use of images is used to evoke an emotional response, rather than present a reasoned argument?
“....some [artists] wrongly took it [evolution] as justification to elevate whites over other races,..”
But that is precisely what Darwinism teaches, that the dark skinned, ape-like ancestors of modern man came out of Africa and evolved into the lighter skinned races,(think Englishmen of the 19th century).
And the propaganda by poster art goes on: Lucy, peppered moths, animal embryos, feathered dinosaurs, auto insurance “cavemen”, etc.
Accurate? Who cares? What matter is the narrative.
Why are you bothering to complain about someone who did the bulk of his work over 100 years ago and who hasn’t been cited in a biology text for nearly as long?
Yes, images can be misused in that way. However, some images, if they speak to some deep moral outrage, would be less than accurate if they failed to produce an emotional response. It all depends on the context. For instance, an image or images that produce a strong negative emotional response by showing a partial birth abortion procedure would be more accurate than a set of images that fail to produce the same. Again, it all depends on the context.
Yet some version of Haeckels drawings can
be found in most current biology textbooks. Stephen
Jay Gould, one of evolutionary theorys most
vocal proponents, recently wrote that we should be
astonished and ashamed by the century of mindless
recycling that has led to the persistence of these
drawings in a large number, if not a majority, of
modern textbooks. (I will return below to the question
of why it is only now that Mr. Gould, who has
known of these forgeries for decades, has decided to
bring them to widespread attention.)
Tell that to TL!
Again, the ability of the images to produce the emotional response is not in question. The context in which they are used and how they attempt to manipulate peoply by using that response is.
Do you have the same objections to religious imagery?
This was not a racist cartoon depiction like the media cartoons depicting George W. as a simian.
The mold for this Monkey face was classical, probably over a hundred years old.
Maybe the movie “Planet of The Apes” was spot on.
If it is a faithful representation of the biblical narrative...of course not. But I cannot say the same about Darwin/Haekel’s “tree of life.”
The cartoon of a “scientist” as burglar is meant to be humorous. However, like all good humor, there is an element of truth to it.
The element is implied to be the whole periodic table.
Okay, so either there's no attempt to provoke any kind of "moral outrage" directed towards them, or "moral outrage" can be funny.
I'm asking if you think that it's OK that it isn't literally accurate, but simply provides narrative.
Is this art?
That’s the one!
Christians should be morally outraged by Darwin’s attempt to replace God with materialist religion. However, the cartoon assumes the outrage, and is instead going for laughs. That’s why it is called humor.
Really? You can name a current College intro text that use these with a scientific cite and not in a "curiosity of yesteryear" kind of way?
Stephen Jay Gould, one of evolutionary theorys most vocal proponents, recently wrote
why it is only now that Mr. Gould, who has known of these forgeries for decades, has decided to bring them to widespread attention.
Recently wrote?...Only now? Did the Discovery Institute hold a seance to reach him in the Great Beyond? The man's been dead for nearly a decade.
Kind of "preaching to the choir", and getting everything in a "right-brain" context?
What do Modern Textbooks Really Say about Haeckel’s Embryos?
Here is your original question: “Why are you bothering to complain about someone who did the bulk of his work over 100 years ago and who hasnt been cited in a biology text for nearly as long?”
As you can see above, you are CLEARLY WRONG.
To avoid confusion, let me point out that we are not claiming that Haeckel's embryo drawings and recapitulation theory are the bedrock of evolutionary biology in 2007.
Not exactly their best foot forward. Basically they're saying their argument doesn't have much merit.
Still wondering what's up with the recent writing of the dead Mr. Gould.
By the way, why do they call it the “Discovery Institute”? Can you tell me what discovery they have ever made?
However making a painting of Jesus when his exact appearance is not known is less bothersome since it's not to illustrate his appearance but his presence in the scene.
Other religious painting might contain anachronisms deliberately placed due to the style of the times and no one mistakes the intention of the artist or his work, the desire to explain a historical event in a more modern setting.
Quite a bit different are illustrations where appearance/shape/form IS the story. When a feathered dinosaur is shown in a drawing it is the possession and placement of the feathers on a particular animal that is being touted as fact by means of the illustration.
When a caveman is shown dark skinned and naked it these qualities that being offered as a picture of a very likely reality.
That's deceptive and propaganda.
It was understood then and it is understood now that the Creation painting uses symbolism to illustrate concepts that cannot be shown literally, God with a long white beard, (a father of mature wisdom, worthy of respect), vs. Adam beardless (inexperienced, child-like innocence).
Using this painting to show how clean a shave Adam had in a razor blade commercial, say, would be quite the contrary.
Really and truly, You do grasp how symbolism is used, yes?
Absolutely a riot coming from one who never says a thing!
Well good, that settles it then. I came right out and said that Haekel was a full-on racist.-GGG
Do you agree with the author’s assesment that the use of images is used to evoke an emotional response, rather than present a reasoned argument?
Conversely, evos utilize images to propogate their propoganda, while stomping on reaoned arguments AND elicit an emotional response, like Sarah Palin riding a dinosaur comes to mind.
So then where is the photo showing the embryos of these animals at these stages to show that they are not similar?
All you do is state they are fake. Where is the proof that they are fake? Just because you say so?
There is a very good exhibit of all the stages of human development at the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago. Before you complain, they were all from miscarriages (as stated clearly in the exhibit)
Thanks for the ping!
When explanations start coming out that tortured, or questions only get answered with personal attacks and insults then something went wrong further up stream.
Now the question is, what went wrong that's causing the personal attacks and insults?