Culture & Ethics
Robot Chicken Meets Intelligent Design; Plus Good News About Yellow & Pink
If you examine your cable TV schedule, as I’ve just done, you’ll see that at night the Cartoon Network takes on a more adult-oriented identity, called Adult Swim (or “[adult swim]”). After midnight, they have a series called Robot Chicken, which offers stop-motion animated sequences that parody comic book heroes, movies, and more. It’s pretty amusing, though not all in the best taste, nor free of vulgarity. Unsurprisingly, it seems to have something of a cult following.
Now watch this, featuring the character Li’l Hitler.
Right, if you look closely, the teacher at the head of the classroom has written “INTELLIGENT DESIGN” on the chalkboard. Why? I don’t know. (The teacher is not Hitlerian but seems to be, instead, the conscience of the class.)
A correspondent sent that along and was puzzled by it. However, a bit of further searching turned up this:
Here, a science teacher is on trial for teaching about what seems to be intelligent design, a cartoon version, of course. (Humorless aside: Discovery Institute strongly advises against teaching ID in public schools.) The jury is furious at the teacher. But the characters are made of LEGOs, so obviously they are the work of an intelligent agent who put the LEGOs together. It’s very brief but quite funny.
What, again, is the point that Robot Chicken is trying to get across? Maybe there isn’t one, but it reminded me of William Steig’s 1984 classic Yellow & Pink. Steig is the author of Shrek, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, Doctor De Soto, Amos & Boris, and other books my kids have enjoyed over the years. Probably yours, too.
Yellow & Pink is a book for children that ingeniously has two wooden manikins debating about the origins of the world and of themselves. It’s not couched directly in terms of evolution versus intelligent design, but at the end of the day, that is what it’s about. Obviously, it’s not a way to learn about the science behind ID, or behind evolution. But Steig’s own attitude would, interestingly, seem to be revealed at the end of the parable when the manikins’ designer enters the story.
For some strange reason, the publisher kept the book out of print for years. Gee, I wonder why? Jay Richards wrote about it for us here, after the book was attacked in the New York Times for being “anti-science.” (Jay: “Yeah, right.”)
We thought it was still unavailable, except from vendors of used books. But wait, good news! After languishing, it’s back again in a paperback version. You can also get it on Kindle. And I suggest you do one or the other. Were it not for Li’l Hitler and Robot Chicken, I would not have realized this, and I would not be able to bring it to your attention. Isn’t the world a funny place?
As I said, I’m not quite sure what to make of all of this. It seems, if nothing else, to be evidence of how ID makes its way in the culture, in some unlikely venues.
Image: Li’l Hitler’s classroom, via YouTube.