The kids thew on an X-Men III DVD,and I peeked in on it a bit. Can’t really watch it because the X-MEN CONCEPT IS SO STUPID. It’s not just that they get evolution wrong, but they get it wrong in the worst sort of way: the opening voice-over explicitly claims to be talking about ‘Eeevolution’ and asks us to accept that they’re like all scientific and stuff, while then going completely off the rails about how natural selection works.
This makes midichlorians seem a completely reasonable bit of storytelling by comparison.
‘Eeevolution’ is not waiting around for some cosmic mad scientist to roll the mutation dice. Evolution isn’t even, strictly speaking, a theory – it’s more of an observation. The characteristics of groups of living things appears to change over time in a peculiarly orderly way. The theory is, as Darwin so nicely put it, that species arise from natural selection in a manner parallel with how farmers and breeders ‘improve’ their crops and stock.We’ll call this theory ‘Natural Selection’ for short.
Key points of the theory of natural selection that are contradicted by X-Men:
– there’s no such thing as ‘progress’: cows are not intrinsically ‘better’ than dinosaurs, which are not better than slime mold. Dinosaurs and cows and slime mold would each almost certainly die if thrust into the environment for which either of the other 2 species is adapted. There is simply no place to stand *within the theory* from which to judge ‘better’ or ‘worse’. Natural Selection does not ‘leap forward’.
– Mutation are not directed. Mutations are ‘mistakes’ that are fatal or crippling about 99.99% of the time, indifferent about .009% of the time and potentially helpful maybe .001% of the time. In the X-men, there’s an unacknowledged *somebody* causing mutations that 1) are not fatal or crippling; and 2) clearly intended to be advantageous.
– Mutations do not, as far as is known, cause full-blown functional capabilities not remotely foreshadowed in current functionality. In other word, fish don’t suddenly, in a generation, go from living in the murky deep to breathing air and nesting in trees. X-Men do.
– Finally, natural selection works within the laws of the material world. Nothing ever evolves to the point where it can violate the laws of physics. X-Men are utterly unencumbered by any natural or logical law. Create mass (as wolverine does when heals without eating or getting smaller) out of nothing? Control non-ferrous metals using some mysterious power that doesn’t seem to need any power source other than a vivid imagination? Control the weather without even standing in front of one of those accu-forecast thingies? Not a problem for X-Men.
As my kids say; Dad, it’s just a dumb comic book. And so it is. But it speaks volumes that very very few people – I’m the only one I know – have their suspension of disbelief ruined by this utter misrepresentation of science. That’s why we hate midichlorians, after all – in a fairy tale, you don’t explain the structural engineering that allows the bean stalk to reach the sky or the aerodynamic properties of flying brooms.
Where are those people, I wonder, who are so deeply concerned that some religious person might not accept evolution that they feel obliged, one assumes in charity, to attempt to browbeat and humiliate creationist bumpkins? Why aren’t they picketing theaters for the crime of X-Men, which presents evolution as magic, and scientists as magicians, and logic as unimportant, and the laws of nature as more like guidelines than actual rules? If they were really concerned about Science(tm), X-Men is a much bigger and more damaging challenge than mere creationism – because creationism doesn’t usually pretend to be science.
maybe promoting science isn’t really the motivating factor?