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It's a whirlpool of wrong

by Craig Good

August 11, 2011

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Donate Warning: In this blog post I am going to agree with something the Discovery Institute has to say.

A while back I tweeted about the latest over-analysis of a Pixar film. I have long maintained that movies are a mirror, and that movie reviews tell you more about the reviewer than the movie. This one was a gem.
The universe of Cars 2 has been clearly and carefully constructed by the writers to be one in which -- unlike our universe -- the evidence for intelligent design is unequivocal. One major giveaway is that the car-people don't have hands to make anything: not the buildings they live in, not the oil rigs they rely on for their food, not the uncarlike modifications a car-person such as British spy Finn McMissile (the voice of Michael Caine: Gnomeo & Juliet, Inception) uses in his line of work; Finn is practically a car-cyborg, and yet there is no one around who could have made him this way. One plot point turns on cars "made" with a certain kind of engine -- "Made by whom?" is the unasked question that hangs dramatically in the air.
That's right. She sees the Cars universe as a stealth proponent of "Intelligent Design" or, as I like to call it, Creationism in Drag. She's not alone:
Without question, their greatest misstep in design, and perhaps in general, is the film Cars. Released in 2006, this film follows the "stranger comes to town" adventures of stock car racing sensation Lightning McQueen. While it was less than loved by critics, there is no question it was a commercial success. In fact, some would say it is Pixar's most obvious grab at a pay day, appealing to the NASCAR set without even the thinnest of veils. But I would argue its middle-American appeal goes much deeper than its subject matter. Indeed, I believe Cars is a vehicle for the conservative, science-denying belief known as Intelligent Design.
I was not involved in the story development of neither Cars nor Cars 2. I do not speak for Pixar in any official capacity. With those caveats, let me just say, "Bwaaa-haaa-haaa!" This is a great example of seeing a movie through the lens of one's own personal ideology. If "Praise the Manufacturer" isn't an obvious enough gag to you, may I suggest not trying to make a living writing gags.

So where does the so-called Discovery Institute come in? Well, they know good ammo when it's handed to them.
Is she kidding? Is this some sort of ham-handed pro-ID satire of what a lady afflicted with DADDS (Darwinism-Driven Derangement Syndrome) might experience upon viewing an innocuous cartoon about cute car-creatures? But no, in a lengthy thread of comments and back-and-forths with readers, Ms. Johanson clarifies that she is quite certifiably serious:
It's just a maelstrom of mess. Darwinism, which doesn't exist in the real world, but only in the fevered brains of some creationists, is a straw man philosophy. It's as though Darwin were the prophet of some movement, and that one needs to accept Darwin into one's heart in order to believe in evolution. As though nature were a matter of opinion. So what we have here is a fallacious twofer — an ad hominem attack on a straw man.

The actual facts are these: Overwhelming, converging lines of evidence from Darwin's observations, the fossil record, DNA, lab experiments, and everything we know about biology support evolution as the mechanism of speciation. No scientific evidence refutes it. And so-called "Intelligent Design" is just a religious belief with a lab coat on it. It is not science.

Oh, and the movies are just cartoons about talking cars. They're a parody of our world. A world, it seems, ripe for the parodying.

Wait! You wanted to know where I agreed with the Discovery Institute? It's at the end of their article:
These Darwinist reviewers need to lighten up a bit, in our opinion. With apologies to Dr. Freud, sometimes a car is just a car.
Amen. Except for the Darwinist part. Because Darwinists don't exist any more than talking cars do.

by Craig Good

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