Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Evolution

Here then is the beta version of my strip about evolution. This is a chapter of the book Science Stories which will be out from Myriad Editions next spring. I'm sure there'll be mistakes here, so do feel free to point them out, so that I can make the necessary changes. Thank you.

Note Oct 2013. Hi All. A fully corrected version of the strip is now part of a book called Science Tales, out from Myriad Edtions in the UK, and AbramComicArts in the US and Canada, where its known as How To Fake A Moon Landing.

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222 comments:

1 – 200 of 222   Newer›   Newest»
Rich Johnson said...

Excellent! Lucid and intelligent work. A splendid example of how comic strips have no limits.

Anonymous said...

Really excellent job. Sharing via Twitter.

Jennifer B. said...

Another great tale, thank you for sharing!
I like your colour choices, too.

Just found one small error: Pg. 4, panel 2, I think "Human" should read "Humans"

Anonymous said...

Another small error: On page 8, that should say descent, not decent. Otherwise, a brilliant work all around!

Wesley Wilson said...

Very clear and basic explanations. Awesome!

However, it would be better if you could add a couple of panels in which you pay attention to an extremely important aspect of evolution which is severely overlooked: mutual aid. Neither individual organisms nor species can ever survive in isolation. Natural selection is oft misunderstood to mean "survival of the fittest," and while this is suitable for the study of certain genetic mutations, it doesn't take into consideration symbiotic relationships and mutual struggle.

In terms of evolution, organisms like ants, bees, and humans are some of the least successful as individuals, and would surely have gone extinct ages ago. However, ants work together to survive, and domesticate other species like fungi in order to feed themselves. Humans do this to. Additionally, if it weren't for millions of strains of bacteria living inside of us, we couldn't even digest the vast majority of what we consume. The examples of cooperative struggle between individuals, groups, and species, are literally endless, and have a far broader effects in evolution than, say, the isolated gene of light or dark patterns on a moth. Even those Galapagos finches you mention help to propagate the species of seeds and nuts that they find and eat by spreading fertile seeds.

If you aren't terrifically familiar with the mutual side of evolutionary science, an excellent place to start is by googling Peter Kropotkin.

I hope that doesn't sound like a diatribe! As always, I loved the comic!

Darryl Cunningham said...

Hi Wes.

Thanks for the comments. If I had more space I certainly would cover mutual aid, plus other matters like genetic drift, and the role of sex. However I had to cram it all into just over 20 pages. Even a whole book on this subject would probably leave something out. It's why it's only a basic outline and should be read in thet light. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Nice! Linage should be lineage in the turtle panel.

Rahul said...

Great work as usual! I also intend to pick up a copy of Psychiatric Tales post-haste.

I took it upon myself to proofread the entire comic:

Page 4: "humans are genetically similar...". "...it gives us confidence that the theory is true."

Page 6: lineages, not linages.

Page 8: descent, not decent.

Page 13: flourished, not florished. this phenomenon, or these phenomena, not this phenomena.

Page 18: deoxyribonucleic, not deoxyribonuclic.

J. Dack said...

This is literally the best thing I've read all week. I'll be spamming this link all over the damn place.

Me said...

This is FANTASTIC. In reading it, however, I think it would be good to leave out anything that directly pokes at religion, such as the panels with Jesus on the cross. It doesn't offend *me* in the least, but I think leaving that out might make it more accessible to the religious types. I wanted to send this to my family members who are religious, but have been not been properly educated on what evolution is. But, those few panels give me pause.

Approach it from a purely scientific perspective, not an anti-religious one, and this will have a greater effect.

Paul B Rainey said...

Fantastic. Thanks, Darryl.

Mike Daniels said...

Wonderful, a great basic explanation of evolution. I do have to agree with "me" above, the images of the crucifix aren't really relevant, and likely won't be helpful.

An image of a creationist (Ken Ham?) ranting at a lectern might be more appropriate for one of the panels, and perhaps images of studies marked "bad", "bad", "good", "good"?

The "peppered moth hoax" issue is rather glossed over. Maybe a little more info on that (what studies were found to be bad, etc.?) would be helpful. Coming away from that section, all I have is argument from your shades-wearing character's authority on the validity of studies.

Looking forward to seeing more!

Darryl Cunningham said...

Mike and ME.

I didn't really think I was critical of religion, but looking at it again, I can see how it might look that way. I had to mention creationists, simply because they tend to be the severest critics of evolution. I'll alter the images and language accordingly. I actually would like to win some of these people over.

Anonymous said...

Awesome.... great work! Very well written.
After reading the entire comic, I can see a Fundie asking "But that is all Micro Evolution. There is no proof of Macro Evolution"

Bradley C. said...

I agree with ME. It is necessary to be critical of creationism as a pseudoscience, however when that criticism extends to christianity as a whole, I fear many christians may disregard the good points you make. There are plenty who believe in God and evolution, and an easy to read comic like this would do wonders as a talking point for reaching our more fundamentalist friends.
I don't mean to say that reaching creationists has to be your goal in writing this, and it is a great piece as it stands. I just wouldn't show it to my creationist friends as-is.

elisa volpato said...

Hi! Love your work. This one reminds me of having to explain evolution to my dumb classmates at highschool (I was the science teacher daughter and that made kind of an expert on the subject).

Once a religious girl came to me that she didn't believe in any of the evolution crap. I tried to explain it all, but then she said "Ow! So if we came from monkeys, how come we've stopped coming from them?".

o_O

Robert said...

BRAVO! Great work!

Fabio said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fabio said...

Hi,

Great work. I have just a couple of issues:

Firstly, as far as I am concerned, the drawing about turtle evolution was taken from [Lee. Correlated progression and the origin of turtles. Nature (1996)]. However I would point out to [Li et al. An ancestral turtle from the Late Triassic of southwestern China. Nature (2008) vol. 456 (7221) pp. 497-501], which points out to the diapsid relationship of turtles. I know that this is controversial, but as far as I know, is the most recent and most up to date research. Maybe you could use [Kuratani et al. Evolutionary developmental perspective for the origin of turtles: the folding theory for the shell based on the developmental nature of the carapacial ridge. Evolution & Development (2011) vol. 13 (1)] drawing, but they don't use a basal diapsid in their drawing.

Other issue is regarding the peppered moth. I'm not sure what research that have been regarded as bad, but I would suggest reading [Majerus. Industrial melanism in the peppered moth, Biston betularia: an excellent teaching example of Darwinian evolution in action. Evo Edu Outreach (2009) vol. 2 (1) pp. 63-74]. There you can find out if what you say is bad research is indeed bad.

I hope you find these comments useful.

Best,

Boy Genius said...

One minor nit to pick from a professionally nit-picky person:

Colourisation (to stick with the British English spelling) is the process of adding color to previously sepia or black-and-white film.

Coloration (spelled "colouration" for you I assume) is the word used to describe the patterns and colors on an animal.

Other than that, brilliant. I'm printing it out as soon as it's finalized.

Anonymous said...

i personally don't believe that we are closer to the chimp and gorilla than to the orang. i feel there must have been some (now extinct) intermediate specie(s) that positioned our line of ancestors quite close to the orangs --- or perhaps equidistant between the orangs and chimps. i don't believe that we are actually the third chimp, along with pan and bonobo. when european scientists first discovered the gorilla and the bonobo, they had great difficulty distinguishing them from the regular chimp. female gorillas actually look like chimps, and so those species are distinctly similar. human ancestors have some similarity with these, and of course they are genetically very close. but they bear a greater similarity in many other ways, with orangs. so the human line -- i feel -- may have developed somewhere between the chimp and the orang, making us, quite possibly, a mixed african-asian species....??? who knows....

Anonymous said...

Nice work. Only error I noticed is that inquinal should be inguinal. I have no idea why I know this.

Simply EC said...

I, too, agree with ME. As a "Christian" but not a "Creationist" I have to wonder what a bearded man on a cross has to do with evolution.

It does seem like a direct attack on "Christian Creationists" considering that there are other faith traditions that subscribe to a creationist worldview such as Islam and Judaism.

Also, perhaps it was God's intention for "creation" so-to-speak to be flawed, in reference to the bit about hernias and whatnot. Just wanted to give you a little feedback from someone who is spiritually minded but has a very high opinion of science.

Other than the jabs at "faith" it's an awesome introduction to evolution. I would share this with my "new earth creationist" friends if it wasn't for the aforementioned insensitivity.

bayo2pisay said...

Great! Hope I can use this in class to reinforce the concept. Thanks very much!

Slight typo correction: p.8 "inquinal" should be "inguinal"

Jeremy Dennis said...

A bit of a trivial comment, but I think the duck on the pond is ace :)

Anonymous said...

Brilliant work. Keep it up.
This will definitely help me in teaching my kid or those who have any doubts about 'Theory Of Evolution'.

davidsmeaton said...

great comic ... i liked it!!

some observations, if i may:

1. people are saying that this comic is about religion. to be fair to the artist, it's not about religion it's about creationism. yes, i know that christians are associated with creationism, but not all christians (and not all theists) are creationists.

to be clear: this comic is arguing against creationism. it's NOT arguing against religion.

2. i'm sure it's no coincidence that the "creationist" character wears orange, the same colour as the bugs which will be eaten and never evolve. there's a nice metaphor relating to the colour of the bugs and the colours worn by the two main characters.

well played!

Rich Johnson said...

@Jeremy Dennis

I'm glad you said that. I didn't want to be the first poster on top of a stream of erudition and I just said "I like the duck."

I do like the duck.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
Great work, one note though:
On page 16 you describe the evolution of the eye, beginning with a drawing of what seems to be a unicellular organism. The next box shows a primitive multicellular organism's light receptor. I believe this is somewhat of a misleading leap, as there is as much link between the unicellular eye and the human eye as there is to every other organ in the human body. There is no evidence that the multicellular ancestor(s) had any sort of eye.

Anonymous said...

i think its an awesome comic. very easy to read. my 2 cents would be that you might want to put in a bit about how natural selection favors the best adapted for an environment not necessarily something that is great. for example the relationship between malaria and sickle cell anemia. you sort of went over it with your moth example, but i think a lot of people think that "strongest of the fittest" means the biggest and strongest and fastest, when in reality sometimes its better to be small and slow...just ask shrews and sloths.

Anonymous said...

Well done. There are some fresh examples that you might want to know about. The adaptation of mice by color matching of their fur to lava rocks or beach sands are comparable to the pepered moth example but have the added advantage that the precise genetic basis for their changes in fur color are known - so we know the selective agents, the gene involved, how the trait changes etc.
Secondly, there are animals such as polychate marine worms where both very simple and more complex eyes form at different parts of their life cycle - a nice example of using the same genome to build different eyes. The landmark discovery concerning eye evolution is that the genes and cell types involved in building eyes have been around for a very long time, since early animal evolution more than 540 million years ago.

Jean Pierre B. said...

Great drawing. About evolution being "just a theory", I remember reading somewhere that the use of the word 'theory' is misleading in this case (and in many other cases), because the theory of evolution isn't a theory at all: they just use this term but not with the same meaning. Really, I'm not sure this is right, and I'm too lazy to learn xD, but you should look into that, it sounds like a good argument for the old 'isn't evolution just a theory' thingy...

Hope this helps somehow. (I'm not sure about the relevance xD)

Great work. Cheers!

markw said...

Love the strip - the more ways we can reach people who don't understand evolutionary concepts the better. I have had a couple of folks listen to these sorts of arguments and then walk away dismissively saying 'Well it's just a theory!' You may want to emphasise that it is not a theory in the "I have a hunch" sort of way, but a theory that is open to scientific rigour and rational exploration. If we find a fact that flies in the face of the theory, we modify it, or if necessary develop a new theory. As it stands, Darwin's insights have stood up to a lot of rigour over the years, not to mention being supported by new fossil discoveries and scientific discoveries such as genetics and the like. It's probably about time we started referring to it as Darwin's Law of evolution!

Gary said...

Fantastic work! I would like to make a few suggestions.

Firstly, on page 1, the evolutionist opens with a very snarky remark, which is at odds with the explanatory tone of the rest of the strip. I would like to send this strip to a creationist friend of mine, but I think that opening remark will immediately put his back up.

Secondly, the pepper moth "hoax" story was entirely due to the use of a staged photograph, and not bad research. See http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/wells/iconob.html#mothphoto

Thirdly, I would like to suggest that you include a panel or two on ring species, since they're a marvellous illustration of evolution in action and should be easy to represent graphically.

Dzsonó said...

Just a fantastic piece of work. I will be forwarding this everywhere.

mspace said...

Excellent work, you are commended for your effort.

Benoît said...

Simply brilliant!

I am definitely sending my students to your page, come next semester!

mrfright said...

Excellent work! Great explanations.

I can't tell you how many times a stranger in a yellow coat sneaks up on me in the park trying to refute evolution. Now I'll know what to say!

tim eisele said...

Good comic, clear and to the point.

One thing about the bit about the colored beetles at the beginning, though: in general, the brightly colored beetles *don't* get preferentially eaten, because they are typically the toxic and vile-tasting ones.

Although, this could be turned into another part of the explanation of the "why are there still apes?" question that you open with: there is more than one way to be successful. Some of the beetles succeed by becoming harder to see, while other beetles succeed by being bad to eat and prominently advertising the fact. And there is room for both approaches, so we still see both kinds of beetle. And similarly, we still have both apes and humans because we have moved into different niches, even though we had a distant common ancestor.

James A. Brown said...

Very impressive dialogue, if not realistic. Few critics of evolution will stand still for a lengthy lecture--even one that's clear and concise--but this would appeal to those who are interested to learn more about evolution.

I'm no biologist, but for me, the flaw in the 'design' of the human testes is that sperm get cooked to death at body temperature, thus requiring an elaborate scheme to suspend the testes at just the right distance from the man's body, and all the moving parts and points of failure that go along with it. (Imagine what cars would look like if gasoline became useless above room temperature--the mechanisms involved to keep gas tanks cool would be exorbitant.)

After all, if a woman can have her ovaries tucked safely deep within her body yet still crank out viable eggs, then men ought to have the same design.

Anonymous said...

I have to concur with some of the comments above. "Crucified" as a metaphor for "discredited" doesn't play well in the context.

Anonymous said...

I agree with those who recommended removing the Jesus frames. Some people who might otherwise be persuaded by this will be turned off and dismiss the whole thing. The entire creationist argument rests upon a 6000 year-old earth and the freed up frames could be allocated to refuting that.

Bellevance said...

Great stuff--accessible, articulate, convincing Thanks for your efforts here. Let me offer one small correction: "Analysis of proteins and genes HAS shown..." not "have."

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this, Darryl.

My one suggestion is to change the sarcastic dialogue in page 1, panel 3.

It's unnecessarily inflammatory. You want to pull people into your comic feeling like it's a friendly discussion; not make them defensive on the first page.

GreggInSeattle said...

You seem to have omitted the final panel, where the doubter sticks his fingers in his ears and starts shrieking, "Goddidit!" over and over again, in a desperate effort to drown out reason.

Pete said...

I assumed the point of presenting it in comic form was to make it more accessible, but this dialogue is so wordy and condescending, my eyes glazed over before I made it to page three. 

Not familiar with your work, I was linked here by a friend. I like what you're doing here so I hope this criticism is constructive.

Cor (formerly evil) said...

Don't listen to the Nellies, Daryl! Your illustration of Jesus in those two panels is SPOT ON!
Creationists in America blow many smoky clouds to obscure their real agenda, which I like to call Stealth-Jesus. By putting THE LORD front and center, you dispell these treacherous clouds and show you're onto their game.

Also, the Jesus pics create a VERY nice mocking parallell to Chick tracts, which always have at least two panels depicting the crucifixion. For reasons of style alone, I urge you to leave Jesus where he is.

Splendid!

Jim Kakalios said...

Came here from PZ Myers site - glad I did. A wonderful illustration of how words and pictures can work together effectively and economically. An excellent job. Kudos, sir.

Bruce Woollatt said...

I know this is a chapter of a longer work, so this strip is presumably part of a longer conversation between these characters, the one in yellow being a creationist. I think, however, looking at this strip alone, that it would be better for the first mention of a "creator" come from Mr. Yellow rather than Mr. Gray (who brings this up on p.7 when he talks about imperfect adaptation. I think that Mr. Gray should be responding to mention of a creator rather than initiating it.

Schnubelhopper said...

@people talking about theory.

Indeed the term is misleading. Most creationists use the word, but to them it means something closer to 'hypothesis' rather than theory.

A theory is a set of scientific laws, concepts, ideas. They just happen to be ideas that can be proven wrong, and within the scientific community it would be unthinkable to assume this theories cannot be changed. Of course admitting this to the layman makes the scientist sound as 'weak'.

Anonymous said...

On the bottom of page 3 (at the last of the skulls) you use the phrase "modern man". Please consider using "modern humans". I notice you've used "humans" through most of the panels rather than "man", which I appreciate. (BTW, I think the 2 men speaking about "our testes" is perfectly appropriate.)

Justin said...

In many of the conversations that involve explaining Evolution, no matter how many times I mention reproduction, survival, offspring, etcetera, they will continue to think Evolution is pure chance unless I explicitly state, "Although the mutations themselves are random, survival is the feedback mechanism guiding Evolution."

Many people really can't handle the idea of pure chaos and will close off at the first hint of it.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the "theory" comment, what you said about explanation/prediction, etc., is good and true. Might also be worth adding (to Jean Pierre's point) that the word "theory" is used by Creationists to suggest conjecture, which is a misapplication when discussing science. In science, the closest analog might be "hypothesis," but even a hypothesis usually has more credible grounding than how theory is used in the lay public.

In any case, evolutionary theory is more correctly stated as the theory of evolution by natural selection. Evolution is an irrefutable fact. There's no way humans/animals/plants as we see them today have always been like this. "How" it happened - e.g., by natural selection - is the "theory" part that best explains/predicts evolutionary observations.

I sometimes say it's like the wave theory of gravity or the germ theory of disease. In both cases, gravity and disease exist; it's the theory of how best to explain/predict it that we're interested in.

LuchinG said...

¿What about the confution between Evolution (the phenomenom) and Darwinism (the explanatión)? ¿Shoudn´t we start saying that so the creationist stop with that "it´s only a theory" thing?

marcas said...

Just when I think I've had an original thought, James A. Brown gets there before me and saves me some typing!

Anonymous said...

This is great! Have you considered printing this chapter out separately in Chick-tract like booklets? I would love to hand them out in my local megachurch parking lot!

LexAequitas said...

If this is a comic, why isn't it funny?

j/k


I'll be giving this to my 10-year old son (he's very science-oriented and may know a lot of it anyway. He's also pretty atheistic.), even despite the minor flaws some have mentioned.

TheRob said...

Bravo!
Another winning strip.
Keep up the good work.

Hugh said...

Well done!

Kim said...

@James A Brown - Elephants and whales have their testes tucked up inside and they don't really move from their original location near the kidneys.

So some mammals have figured out how to keep sperm from cooking up in there. Too bad humans didn't. =)

Fryonic said...

Thanks for all the information. I didn't know a lot of that.

I feel like the comic isn't finished. Could there be something at the end to mirror the "never heard that question before" comment at the beginning?

Sorry, I can't think of a good punchline myself :-(

ViolettesDad said...

This is very nicely done. The xray you show after the discussion about hernias is actually an xray of a newborn baby with a condition called a diaphragmatic hernia, which has nothing to do with inguinal hernias.
I think this condition, Diaphragmatic hernia, is a good example of proof that there is no god, as babies with this condition were born alive and died, blue and gasping, in the first few minutes of life until the latter half of the 20th century, and such babies born in developing countries still do. What sort of loving god would make babies like that?
In reality the defect is the result of an embryologic error, which reflects our evolutionary past. It is due to a connection between two body cavities that used to be of no significance, but as we evolved lungs having the connection became lethal.

Todd said...

Yet another excellent, lucid Science comic by Darryl Cunningham.

Tualha said...

Pretty good. Couple of things that could be improved.

I'm not sure there are "thousands" of hominin fossils. I read Why Evolution is True recently and I recall that Coyne said that the hominin fossil record is unfortunately rather sparse, due to the generally dry conditions in Africa during that period. I'm not sure, though, and searching for a few minutes on the web didn't find anything.

You don't mention why the finches' body mass increased or how this is adaptive.

anteprepro said...

This is an excellent piece of work. Just the right medium between thorough and succinct. Don't listen to Pete above: If this was too wordy for him so that he couldn't read even three pages, then I fear that this comic didn't condescend to him quite enough.

As for the Jesus picture: it is unnecessary, but also rather innocuous. Obviously, though, Christians (and creationists in particular) are incredible at denial and knee-jerk reactions and you don't want to give them an excuse to just ignore the entirety of your comics because they get all huffy and offended because you inserted a picture of Jeebus and therefore have an evil atheist/Darwinist agenda, giving them official Biblical permission to double-down on their ignorance. They are incredible wusses for taking the image as some profound insult, but that is pretty typical, so if you want to circulate this comic, you may want to keep the thin-skinned nature of your target audience in mind.

ambignostic said...

Nice work, and I think this isn't the first time PZ Myers has passed some well-deserved traffic your way.

One other thing I often point out -- to myself, as often as to others -- is that these changes didn't simply happen over "millions" of years, they happened over hundreds of millions of years.

Those complex organs have had more time to develop than even the already-big-sounding "millions" communicates.We humans can have a really hard time appreciating orders of magnitude.

Anonymous said...

Excellent! Very well done indeed.

One thing that I noticed: on page 20, in the panel with the cards. ("It's a random process, much like the shuffling of cards.") I think the 10 of hearts is missing its number.

Thanks for posting this great explanation of evolution. :)

A. Pessimist said...

Awesome!

The only thing you left out is at the end, when the questioner says, "Well, that's all well and good if you want to believe it; but, I know that the Bible is right and evolution can't be true."

The teacher sighs and walks away.

Still, it's a laudable effort.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant. Was chatting with a creationist who accepts micro evolution but not the creation of new species. Double-think to me but also a staged move of Creationist opinion in the face of over whelming evidence.

Would be great to see the same from a creationist view, e.g:

Why do moles have eyes?
Why do Dolphines breathe air?

Odd designs for their environment

David Marjanović said...

Firstly, as far as I am concerned, the drawing about turtle evolution was taken from [Lee. Correlated progression and the origin of turtles. Nature (1996)]. However I would point out to [Li et al. An ancestral turtle from the Late Triassic of southwestern China. Nature (2008) vol. 456 (7221) pp. 497-501], which points out to the diapsid relationship of turtles.

Both of these are superseded by this paper.

BTW, which "amphibian" is supposed to be depicted? If it's Ichthyostega, you've missed its tail fin, and you've missed the fact that it wasn't able to put its hindfeet on the ground. Rather try to find a sequence of Eusthenopteron (which you're already showing), Panderichthys, Tiktaalik, Acanthostega (better known and less weird than Ichthyostega, and something later like Greererpeton and/or Dendrerpeton, perhaps both. It's actually important to show that many of the transitional series we know today don't just consist of two members, they really are series.

David Marjanović said...

Oh, yes, and, there's nothing particularly primitive about a trilobite. Better reword the whole thing: remains of living beings more similar to today's should be found in younger layers, of ones less similar to today's in older layers.

The point about hundreds of millions of years is very important.

So some mammals have figured out how to keep sperm from cooking up in there.

Whales have, using a cooling mechanism that works much better in water than in air, and better still if you have a dorsal fin.

Elephants haven't. Consequently, they have higher mutation rates than we do, and apparently also higher rates of evolution.

as we evolved lungs having the connection became lethal

Not even. Only when we started using that diaphragm, itself a rather newfangled feature (only, like, 270 million years old or something), to ventilate the lungs did this become lethal.

Todd said...

Sure enough, most of the critics are tone-trolls complaining that Mr. Cunningham doesn't respect their beliefs or takes a "snarky" or "hostile" tone.

It happens every single time. The God-botherers pat themselves on the back for crapping on Science. But FSM forbid someone isn't sufficiently deferential to their superstitious Bronze Age nonsense.

Ibis said...

Four comments:
1. It might be an idea to ditch the term "creature". Creatures have creators. Ordinarily, I wouldn't consider the colloquial use as a synonym for "animal" to really be an issue, but in a comic explaining how life evolves without the necessity of a creator-creature relationship, it might be a good idea to avoid such language.

2. We know that the "evolution of man" drawing (I'm not sure what the actual title of the image is), is inaccurate & perpetuates misconceptions about our ancestry and relationship to other primates. I suggest replacing it with images that are depictions of our ancestors or change those panels to show the evolution of horses or whales, for example.

3. In the explanation about the evidence for our ancestry, you stress the fossil evidence, and include the genetic evidence almost as an afterthought. Genetic evidence is far more compelling for the average person (the validity of DNA paternity tests and matching crime scene evidence to criminals is never questioned). Similarity of skull shape seems a lot more vague and subjective.

4. The answer to "just a theory" is true, but to a non-scientist predisposed to discount evolution, it sounds uncertain and unconvincing. Isn't it just a theory? "No. Every piece of evidence we've gathered, from fossils to DNA, to comparing living organisms, to observation of microbes in the lab, to our success at domesticating and breeding plants and animals demonstrates that evolution is a fact. Scientists use the word theory to describe an explanation for observed facts. The theory of evolution is what we use to explain how evolution actually operates. A good theory makes predictions etc. ..."

Anonymous said...

Great strip.

I agree with the commenter above that the mice example is more interesting than the moths (but I don't know how much revising you want to do at this point).

When discussing the eye, the first character could say "I saw a quote from Darwin where he doubts the eye could have evolved". The other character could reply that this is quote mining -- which is often done by creationists -- and that a few minutes of searching online will reveal their dishonesty.

Anyway, there are obviously a lot of directions to go with this, and I think you did a really good job.

innocentdevil said...

This is really great!!!...i will share this for sure =)

Anonymous said...

I think it's too long and too factual. I was waiting for a punchline.

Make it funny. Cartoons should be funny.

Anonymous said...

One suggestion: In the panels that depict human evolution, would you consider depicting women as well as men? I just find that depictions of evolution seem to always feature only men, and it's a shame to leave out have the species.

Thanks.

Terrific explanation of evolution.

Anonymous said...

I meant "half the species."

Anonymous said...

According to an article I read, chimps have diverged more genetically from the common ancestor of humans, chimps and orangutans than humans and orangutans have. I can see this being distorted by creationists.

Even though some creationists will never be convinced please keep being careful about accuracy. AFAIK one of the comments above was right that the problem with the moths was that some photographs were staged for clarity. This didn't mean the moths didn't rest on trees.

william e emba said...

The research by Kettlewell on peppered moths in the 50s was neither a "hoax" nor "bad". His work was fine science, and it was more than adequate for its day. For example, the use of staged photographs to illustrate wildlife was quite normative. The cameras of the day were not exactly lightweight and fieldwork-friendly.

An idiot journalist wrote a book "exposing" Kettlewell, and her incompetent and bungled account actually became the accepted wisdom in some scientific circles. You've been duped: please do not spread this nonsense.

Over time, our capabilities have expanded enormously, leading Majerus to repeat Kettlewell's experiments with far greater detail and scope. The peppered moth story was and remains one of the great examples of experimental evolution.

Martin said...

I'm not sure you answer the first question well. I have the impression that many people erroneously see evolution as a process of _improvement_, not just change, and as our ancestor was ape-like, they wonder why current apes, presumably similar and thus inferior to humans, are around. That is, if evolution is supposed to lead to improvement, why haven't the old and inferior designs vanished? Nobody believes that the apes that are alive today were our ancestors, so I think your answer misses the point of the question.

The best answer I've seen is to
1: explain that evolution is a process of change and adaptation, not necessarily improvement in any absolute sense.
2: go further back and ask: If mankind evolved from fish, why are there still fish? Using that example, it should be obvious that apes and mankind (just as fish and mankind) occupy different ecological niches, and that the existence of one group doesn't necessarily mean the extinction of another.

Anonymous said...

There is so much ground to cover, that it really is a shame you are space-constrained. I would love to see ring species (on-going speciation) and the recurrent pharyngeal nerve (a hilarious design flaw, especially pronounced in the giraffe) make their way into conversation.

The diagrams in the fifth and sixth panels seem to suggest that the bonobo is at the current tip of the main primate trunk, and the other great ape species are subordinate branches. I'm not sure if that is a significant problem that should be addressed, or if there is a better way to represent the idea that each species is a valid end unto itself. Also, the extinct ancestor seems to be omitted from the tree.

I'm also willing to accept that I'm being overly pedantic about an otherwise fantastic work.

Burk said...

Fantastic! Keep up the good work.

Art Vandelay said...

I don't understand the Jesus controversy here. Those pictures correspond with the part where creationists call the moth thing a hoax because it doesn't stand up to scrutiny, which is the essence of religion. It's called irony, folks.

What does Jesus have to do with evolution? Nothing...he has everything to do with the counter-argument for origin though. The crucifixion is directly tied to the creation story in Genesis. Yahweh creates Adam in such a way that he can never meet his demands and slaps Adam's sin on everyone born thereafter so that nobody can ever get to Heaven. Then the great loophole comes with Jesus...accept him as a your savior and you'll have an eternal paradise. The only unforgiveable sin is apostasy.

Of course, without Adam the whole thing goes to shit and as we know, there was no Adam. Darwin killed Adam. Evolution doesn't only dismiss Genesis, it dismisses Jesus too. Yet, over a billion people still think this blood sacrifice is the greatest gift they've ever received (as if God couldn't just forgive us for the sin he gave us without killing his son anyway).

So yeah...I'd say Jesus is relevant here.

Michael said...

On the surface, the story presented is well-informed and astute. However, I think there is at least one philosophical flaw.

The statement "No creator would invent such a complex and dangerous design" is a fallacy. Saying "no creator would invent such a complex and dangerous design" implies that if there were a Creator (God, as it seems to be in this context) that this God would create man (humans) to be as perfect as possible. While this fits into the Christian ideology of man being created in his image, it does not necessarily align itself to mean that man is meant to be created perfectly. A physical flaw does not necessarily mean that a 'creator' has an onus upon them to 'fix' it or to have created it perfect in the first place. It almost seems, upon further thinking, that the author knows and accepts a certain definition of God and denies it could have or would have created a physical flaw in man.

Both evolution and creation theories will acknowledge man's superiority over other animals on the merits of intelligence. It's a little funny that a physical trait of evolution was used to provide commentary on the different theories.

An opportunity missed (or perhaps skipped because it would have been a very long offshoot) would also have been to explain and explore neoevolution and social evolution (Dawkins et al.). If humans are stuck with certain physical attributes, if these physical 'flaws' no longer matter, do mental and emotional 'flaws' become the new channels for humans to evolve? Are humans evolving to adapt to one another rather than their environments?

Thanks for the good read.

Anonymous said...

"My one suggestion is to change the sarcastic dialogue in page 1, panel 3. It's unnecessarily inflammatory."

Don't worry. Anyone who is persuaded by the "why are there still apes" argument probably isn't sentient enough to detect sarcasm anyway.

Anonymous said...

Nice and straight to the point, i like the cartoons!

Anonymous said...

eu sinto muito pelo meu inglês, mas eu não acredito nisso,
por que sentimos cheiro, por que a diversidade de cores em frutas e verduras existe ? Seria somente a evolução do pigmento ? Nem vou me aprofundar mais.
Se não viemos de Deus, como um organismo que não existe nasceu ? Gases ? explosão nuclear? Foi um peido cósmico?

Hahahhaahahaa !!!

By Byron!

Avie said...

I think this is an excellent and easy to understand explanation of the process of natural selection, and I love the way you present it comic style in little bite sized pieces of reading at a time. I think this is an great way to teach science... or ANYTHING for that matter.

I have to agree with Michael, though. A flawless being would overpopulate (even more so than humans are currently working on doing), run out of resources, and have to evolve to become more efficient or become extinct. This in itself would be a flaw, so the downfalls in currently existing species cannot logically be used to disprove creation.

I would also prefer if you would use a different image in the first two frames on page 14 if possible. The crucifixion does not even have the remotest relevance to the topic of evolution, and I think these images might turn away the people you are trying most to convince. It may appear as though you are trying to disprove religion, rather than prove an observable phenomenon with scientific evidence.

Science and religion do not have to be mutually exclusive. Natural selection is the most intelligent design ever to be observed. Bravo on the excellent work.

Art Vandelay said...

Science and religion do not have to be mutually exclusive.

How do you figure that? Religion preaches an absolute truth and Science preaches the only absolute truth is that there are no absolute truths. Sciences uses reason and evidence to make it's case; Religion uses faith and fear. In what way are these things compatible at all?

Dr Forrester said...

Fantastic work! I was too engrossed to look for errors. Will look again though!

Anonymous said...

NICE!!, publish it on online publishing websites, like lulu.com and I will buy a hard copy.

Howard said...

Style suggestion: When breaking a sentence across panels, it's not a bad idea to use a leading ellipsis in the second panel to indicate that it's a continuation of the previous sentence.

I read ". . .humans are genetically similar..." as a thought trailing off, and then read "To chimpanzees and gorillas and less similar . . ." as the beginning of a new sentence.

Anonymous said...

Sorry if these have been pointed out.
The word is "inguinal" not "inquinal" (unless that is a non-American English alternate spelling of which I am not aware).

Also, the X-ray image you show is a diaphragmatic hernia, a vastly different, deadlier and entirely distinct process from an indirect inguinal hernia - the kind that follows from the patent tunica vaginalis left behind after testicular migration.

Anonymous said...

Great idea!

I have some advice from a design/illustration perspective.

You have several competing illustration styles, that, perhaps, you are going to work out as you develop this, but basically you have this simplistic cartoonish style mixed with what looks like Illustrator-created "live-traced" images mixed with watercolor effects on some. The black and white illustrations are too photo-like and a bit jarring color wise and illustration wise. They're essentially too realistic compared to your cartoon-inspired illustrations.

It also reads very dry. This isn't a real conversation, of course, but I think you could try to emulate a real conversation (albeit a hypothetical, idealist one). I got bored by about the third page. And, I love this shit. So... great start!

Rembear said...

First, I really enjoyed this comic and found that it's narrative of evolution quite good, especially given the space limit.

To some commentors who talked a lot about "Darwin's Theory of Evolution", I'd like to point out that Darwin was wrong in some aspects. First of all, he had no idea about genes and therefore his theory had a huge hole as to the mechanism of transferring traits (luckily Gregor Mendel filled that hole for us). Also, Darwin believed in gradualism, while the most commonly accepted theory now is punctuated equilibria, meaning that life changes in bursts.

And lastly, in response to Art Vandelay who says "Science preaches the only absolute truth is that there are no absolute truths", you are wrong. There are absolutes in science. For example, the speed of light in a vacuum is 299,792,485 m/s and nothing can go faster. Gravity has a constant acceleration of 32 ft/s/s. You make absolute truth out to be something horrible, when it's not.
Also, not all religions use fear. Sometimes, people go too far with religion. It happens more often than I'd like, but that does not make the whole of all religions bad. Science can be taken too far as well. A good example that is pertinent to the evolution discussion is eugenics. Also connected to that is Social Darwinism. At times, science and religion are used for things they should not be used for, but we should not judge them for that.

Tatarize said...

Timetree has the human/chimp split at like 6.1 million years. And Ardi and other fossils seem to push it back even further the five million easily (being a pretty well developed critter at 4.4 MYA).

I'd recommend making that 5 million years data point a little more vague or use 6 million.

Anonymous said...

I too thought this was great. I also thought that the images of Jesus on the cross were non sequiturs. Also, on the first page, the line, "Wow! Well, you certainly got me with that one. No one's ever asked that question before." made me think the resulting pages were going to be loaded with sarcasm, because very few persons who understand evolution have never been hit with that question before. So I would remove the suggestion of sarcasm and replace it with something like, "It takes just a few minutes to explain. Are you interested?"

Also, regarding the branches of the evolutionary tree, you _may_ wish to include the point that the "Missing Link" between man and ape does not exist, just as you would not expect to find a leaf floating in mid-air between the branches of a tree.

This is well done. Carry on!

Lurker111

Theta said...

Your argument that a creator God, wouldn't make mistakes in the case where the testies dropping is flawed, when in order to affect genetics leading to producing more chemical processes and body mechanics is in themselves limited by the laws of physics, and God has to abided by the laws of physics. The advantage in the testises drop is male female simplistic compatability which if estrogen is introduced they stay where they are, if testosterone is introduced they drop through the ducts and the efficency in this development to create either sex of a species TRUMPS the risk of hemroid complication, the only job dna is concerned with is advancing the species to the next generation and to adapt... genetics changes to survive in the world which it lives, man is the first that can dramatically change its own "survivable" surroundings in matters of weeks. All God need to do was build the laws of physics and means of which they are followed, and chemistry can take care of itself but it something changes once you're at a stage of organic compounds, once genetics are introduced the only primary function is to replicate, simplistically what a virus does, either on its own or by invading another organic compound. What no one can actually account on is this so called, lack for a better word, the desire, desire to adapt, desire to reproduce, desire to survive. That's something genetics can't account for.

Just because someone says God could have found a better way to build something from scratch, doesn't actually prove or disprove existance of God. You can't use the strawman argument of how our world works to prove and disprove existance of a God.

Art Vandelay said...

Rembear, if someone proves that light is actually faster than that, I bet Science won't deem them a heretic and sentence them to eternal damnation. Absolute truth means there is no room for further inquiry and no need to put anything to a test...shut the mind down.

Anyway, how have you demonstrated that science is inclusive with religion?

Ludwig's Drivers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dromedary Hump said...

Kudos! This is a fantastic way to teach evolution, and debunk Xtian apologetics. I hope it is a terrific success.

Bart Centre
AKA, Dromedary Hump
The Atheist Camel Chronicles
TheAtheist Camel Rants Again!

PS To Theta: It doesn't have to prove or disprove the existence of a god. It has to do with education / pointing out the logic, reaason, and evidence behind evolutionary theory, and the weakness of Creationism/Intel Design.

If in so doing it helps diminish the "God of the gaps" a little more, cause people to question their myths, that's just a side benefit.

Ludwig's Drivers said...

I'm very happy you put in the part about genetic information being like a recipe and not a blueprint. Lots of errors come about in the lay-thinking about evolution as a result of following the poor blueprint analogy.

Alright,
whc03grady.

top_dawg said...

Dromedary Hump way to use the word terrific incorrectly... smh

love louis,

Brian McInnis said...

Urgent to Darryl Cunningham: 'Evolution' does NOT mean 'genetic change', it means 'change'. If you refer to genetic change, you WILL need to put a 'genetic' in there at some point. Also, 'natural' is NOT a word. 'Natal' is, but it refers to birth. Again, 'genetic' seems to be the word you seek.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyable and informative, using the comic format well.

The only thing I can think of that might work in this could be something about basic animal breeding AKA allowing stuff that nature would root out quick.
-John

Mike said...

As an evolutionary biologist myself, I thought this was very concise and easy to understand. This should be sent to schools as required reading.g

Anonymous said...

I think you accomplished exactly what you set out to do -- you discussed evolution and much of the best evidence for it, while refuting a lot of the creationist talking points in a clear, concise, polite manner. Hoping this is widely seen among the skeptics out there.

Clark Cox said...

@Brian McInnis

What are you talking about? What do you mean "natural" isn't a word?

SteveInChicago said...

Theta, I'm pretty sure the purpose of the cartoon wasn't to disprove the existence of God, but was instead to show evidence for evolution. Darryl clearly wrote this in a friendly, non-sarcastic tone. As a scientist, it pains me to know that in large parts of the country, we are ignoring accepted science for one of the most important questions of all -- "How did we get here?"

Donna McKinnon said...

Holy Cow. I LOVE this! In fact, I'm gobsmacked. Great work.
Donna

Bone Girl said...

Great job! This will be required reading for the next intro to biological anthropology course I teach. Thanks!

MT said...

Nice! Ideas for tinkering:
1) For "primal forces" instead of "time and genetics" I'd prefer "variation and selection" (or "genetic variation and environmental selection"). Time isn't active.
2) "Genes" alone vs "Genes and proteins" works as well
3) Primitiveness of trilobites or any other fossil animal is dubious.Better to show a worm.
4) Likewise for the "complexity" of bipedalism.
5) Re: "offer...advantage in the struggle for life" I'd prefer say "help...survive and succeed"
6) "Theory of Evolution" is equally "Theory of Common Descent." Fossils evince evolution from a common ancestor.
7)"Just a theory?" "It's one of the most established, most productive and most important theories in the history of science!" The biological and even geological history of the world would be inexplicable without it.

Anonymous said...

Nice read. I offer this. As an example, the two different color beetles. The orange ones were eaten by birds and the gray ones were more difficult to see. Obviously the gray population would grow. That's not evolution, that's just survival. More gray ones survive, and of course more are reproduced. That doesn't mean that beetles evolved into all gray over time. They just survived. I don't think man evolved from ape. We are just very similar, just as alligators and crocs.

Neil said...

I am completely unqualified but:

In my skimming of frivolous, unacademic stuff on evolution, I feel like it's odd to say that the testes descent are "a clumsy add on," or that blood vessels across our retina are an example of "poor design." First of all b/c I feel like we are constantly to suppose we are existing in the most efficient state possible - that the negative effects exist for any number of other reasons we may or may not know about (i.e. malaria/sickle cell anemia tradeoff), that the blood vessels may have run across our retina for reasons hugely important thousands of years ago - and, because of that, we can't discredit a "creator" unless we are to suppose a "creator" would have designed life "perfectly" without any sort of, you know, physical or metaphysical tradeoffs. I don't think God exists, but, you know, I think hernias are not all that troubling for theologians.

And I agree with whoever said it, although maybe this is stupid, that older species shouldn't be considered more "primitive" - it gives evolution a progress-based feeling to it, when nothing is "progressing" towards some non-existent goal, simply adapting to what is surrounding us. What the dinosaurs left behind and evolved into probably seems more "primitive" than what they were. Again that's just speculation I don't know anything about all this.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful informative and *funny* comic, well done. Above all, succinct and approachable.

Anonymous said...

Hey! Fantastic comic. A really clear explanation for such a small amount of space.

A minor pedantic comment... You use the word primitive in the panel with the trilobite to describe early species. I think 'ancestral' (which you use in the discussion of human fossils) is a preferable word.

Also, with the evolution of the eye, I understand that not only the blood vessels but the nerves too run over the top of the photoreceptors. This leads to the blind spot where the nerves pass through the layer of photoreceptors and out the back of the eye.

@Anonymous:
Anything which leads to a change in gene frequency within a population over time, such as differential survival among individuals, is evolution. The panels with the beetles is a good illustration of selective mortality being one of the drivers of evolutionary change.

T-Bone said...

Nice work!
I have a few suggestions.
Using the word "vanish" in the embryonic whale teeth panel is too magical and needlessly vague.

If you have the room, I think being more specific about why the peppered moth study was thought to be a hoax and why it's still valid would be great. As it is it seems more dismissive/evasive rather than informative.

I think you can say "eaten" rather than "died" in the primitive eye panel since you're talking about anti-predator benefits and this would convey the selection mechanism in one word. In the next panel "...mutation created..." could be "...mutation resulted in..."

You also use the word "creation" in one of the primitive-eye panels after the rabbit/wolf panel and obviously that can't be the best word choice for the subject matter. The word "creating" a few panels after this one shares the same problem.

Hope you find these comments helpful.

Anonymous said...

Really cool work. As for current evolution. My none scientific opinion is to look at hand writing motor skills. Compare hand writing from 1800s to hand writing now. Me personally I work in a office and type all day,paper or a pen to write with can take a minnute to find some times since it's used so little. and then i also text on my phone all day.I only write with pen and paper for a random list once a week...at most. Go a week without writing and then sitting down and writing a page out can show me a loss of motor skills and the pain of not using mucules. Compared to those that wrote for everything before phones and before type text. Yea its a stretch. but it's next in my opinion. Joel

Anonymous said...

On 22 JUNE 2011 17:31 another anonymous person wrote
>I sometimes say it's like the wave theory of gravity or the germ theory of disease. In both cases, gravity and disease exist; it's the theory of how best to explain/predict it that we're interested in.

If you had more space you could say . . .

To scientists “theory” is a well validated explanation. The germ theory of disease explains and makes useful predictions. Theory of gravity. Shall I go on?

Peppered moth
Possibly replace the panel text starting with “But the basic elements...” with: “That’s likely the result of photo illustrations made using moth specimens glued to trees. But the basic elements of the story are correct.”

Paul M said...

I think the more important issue is evolution as such, but "why do we trust them danged scientists?". A comic discussing the development of science as a discipline in its own right, peer review, the role of institutions and scientific publishers etc might be helpful.

People understand doing experiments, which is handy for physics, but a lot of people don't understand that that's not the only way to do science, and think that geology, evolutionary science etc are not real sciences because you can't set up experiments.

Eric said...

As an artist, who appreciated the work very much by the way, I have to laugh when I read all of the comments. I have often wanted to contribute to the discussion (probably an animation) but have never wanted to actually take the time to do so precisely because of what the commenters here, in an effort to be helpful I am sure, have added. Mice would have been better than moths, the turtle evolution has been superseded by a recent paper, the use of the word creature infers a creator. All of which is probably true but why would anyone invest the time necessary to create an artistic work based on their own possibly limited resource materials (ie: not being in the sciences myself I do not, unsurprisingly, subscribe to their literary publications so am not up on the most current info) only to realize after you are done that the public would probably give you a C+ overall? Arguably the response to Darryl's work has been overwhelmingly positive, but with so many "errors" or "innacuracies" how can one NOT feel that their work was not, in some ways, wasted?

As much as I read on blogs that there needs to be more science presented to the public in more easily digestible formats are there any outreach groups in the sciences that will fact check an artists script BEFORE they commit their idea to paper (or film)? Are there any collaborative efforts underway between academia and the arts with an eye toward educating the public creatively?

Jon said...

Hi,
I just heard your interview on the BBC World Service and, as someone who has suffered with severe depression for the last 7 years, I wanted to see your work. (There's little better than a bloody good laugh to get the seratonin levels up!)

By chance, I am also a member of Atheist Ireland so I was very interested in this, er, strip(?). I'm only sad that I did not see the Jesus panels but I have to say that the creator bashing is well handled and, of course, hits all religions peddling the puerile fantasy of creationism equally well.

I also believe that religion and evolution are contradictory, as did Darwin himself. Scientific research is an antidote to religion but, as has been said before, reading one easy book is much easier than reading lots of hard ones.

I couldn't draw the dole so I don't mind if you pick up on an idea that I've had since seeing your material. I'm guessing that you, too, may be an atheist and, if so, why not a series – a book, even – devoted to asking questions about the drivel in the bible – the acknowledged word of God – that has now been positively trashed. I am thinking, for example, that the Bible says that the world is a disc floating on, and surrounded by, water with a solid roof held up by the mountains. What I want to know is; a) is that still true?, b) if it is, how come I've seen pictures on the television of earth from space that show that it's an oblate spheroid, c) if it isn't, how come God did not know this amazing fact when, i) he created the thing in the first place and, ii) he was the one who wrote about it in the Bible?

As they say in the Private Eye letters page, keep up the good work. I'm off to Amazon now to by your book.

Anonymous said...

Two comments... First, Evolution by Natural Selection is not considered a theory at this point, it is considered to be a paradigm of modern biology. That is, it has moved beyond being considered a "theory" in scientific circles. Too many experiments show evolution to occur for it to be called a "theory" at this point.

Second, the descent of the testis discussion misses a major point. The reason it is so poorly executed is because it only happens 1/2 of the time. If the undifferentiated fetus is female, the gonads stay in place and become ovaries. If the undifferentiated fetus is male, then the gonads must descent outside the body for the optimum temperature for sperm production. So rather than being a huge mistake or error of some kind, it allows the same "parts" to be used for males and females, which suggests efficiency. Yes, testicular descent isn't always perfect, but there is a reason why the potential testis start internal to the body.

Jim said...

Perhaps a way might be found to refute the "random chance" argument that so many creationists like to stone natural selection with. First of all, the initial DNA strand serves as a limiting, i.e. DE-randomizing factor, as does the tendency for harmful mutations to weed themselves out.

Anonymous said...

Hi.

Excellent work, and I hope it may educate youngsters who are still ignorant and on the fence. Adults tend to have calcified opinions on this sort of thing, so getting to them is a lost cause.

I have an objection to the depiction of crucifiction, but on novel grounds. The point regarding the depiction alienating Christians has merit, but another problem is that the depiction may also alienate non-Christians. They may even think, upon seeing the cross, that this whole comic is a long-winded ruse to get them to convert — a sort of covert Chick tract.

Yes, some people are just that paranoid. So just lose that depiction.

Otherwise, spot on.

Jackson said...

I'd consider it an error to say that DNA is "really" a code. A code is a way of communicating information from one person to another. DNA is LIKE a code. We can find information in it, and have "decoded" the human genome, but it was never "encoded."

I say this, because ID-advocates frequently say that since DNA is a code, it must have had an encoder, which is ridiculous, because DNA is LIKE a code. I just wouldn't want this to add to the confusion.

Chris Booth said...

Hi:
I came over from Pharyngula, and your strip is excellent.

My quibbles: 1. You use the word "either", and then three options ("when mutations happen, they can either..."). Either can only be used if there are two choices.

2. Describing earlier life as primitive is problematic. How about just "earlier"?

3. The peppered moth was not criticized because of faulty research. The photos of peppered moths were mounted on a section of tree for photographing. In the face of so indisputable a visual presentation of evolution, the creationists retreated to dishonesty and pretended that the mounting was a falsehood--which it was NOT; it was an illustration, and a good one, and in utter, shameful dishonesty claimed therefore that the photos represented a hoax. It was a red herring and a lie.

Frair John said...

Quite frankly, as someone who understands (like many Christians did before the late 19th century) that the 7 day story isn't a quantitative account of creation (heck it's a liturgical text) the religious references are, at best, weak. Drop them. The depart from "science" and enter into a polemical realm that undermines the over all argument. Unless you want to use something like the bits of Calvin's commentary on Genesis where he basically defends Copernicus and the use of reason in the understanding of creation:
"“[The author of Genesis] wrote in a popular style things which without instruction, all ordinary persons, endued with common sense, are able to understand; but astronomers investigate with great labor whatever the sagacity of the human mind can comprehend.”
No denunciation of science there. You should watch the heads of some later-day "Calvinists" implode when they discover that they have abandoned the Reformation for some sort of 19th century betrayal of same. Young Earth creationists, and the like, are *not* "conservative" Christians, but rather have wandered a a way far off from Christian belief.
Statements that he rejected the Copernican model are based off of a quote with out attribution from Fredrick William Farrar. That the likes of Bertrand Russell use the quote, again with no attribution, says more about them than Calvin.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely love it. My one criticism is the use of the term "human race."

Anonymous said...

Hi, great comic!

Another common (and pretty stupid) 'intelligent design' argument is that according to evolution creatures always become bigger, stronger etc. you might want to add an example that its not just about bigger & stronger, but simply better at surviving, and therefore creatures can also become smaller (more energy efficient) or simply produce such anourmous ammount of offspring that strengh is not really an issue (frogs, fish)

Zachary Zahos said...

I learned more from this strip alone than an entire year of AP Biology. An engrossing, educating comic strip. Well done, sir.

erk said...

Astonishingly good. Congratulations and thank you for this.

latsot said...

Excellent. I especially liked the way I kept thinking "hm... he's made too big a leap, I can already see the objections....." and then in the next panel you deal with the objections :)

It's a first class job, very nicely done.

Cheryl K from Minnesota said...

Right on!!

Tony said...

Brilliant. I loved it and learnt something from it. Most of the complaints were minor and, I'm sure, meant constructively.

Glendon Mellow said...

Darryl, the whole strip is wonderful, engaging and easy to understand. The artwork is a lot of fun to look at, I always enjoy the varying styles you employ to make a point.

So please take this as only the most minor of criticisms. On the third page, the line, "leading from ape-like forms to modern man" comes off as anachronistic to me. Perhaps "modern humans"? "Modern people"? Whenever I see "man" for "humankind" the feminist alarm bells go off about privileged language.

Great job with the eye-spots and eye explanations too. Succinct.

Anonymous said...

I really like this. I'd like to agree, though, with the commenter who suggested depicting females.

Also, the panel with the skulls uses the word "man" to stand in for "humans" or "humankind."

It takes so little effort (just add H and U to MAN!) to make it inclusive and do some good in encouraging girls and women to have a role in the STEM fields... please do consider.

Scott Anderson said...

The Creationists will look at this and see only a lefty "Chick Tract".

Ricky said...

Great work !!

Anonymous said...

Very clear, but you toe the party line rather more than any scientist should or would. You should question some of your own dogma here. For example, mutations are almost always referred to as mistakes, but they arent, since no intelligence is trying to make a perfect copy. Mutation is a natural consequence of sexual reproduction, and a prerequisite for evolution. There is more to evolutionary "success" than "survival of the fittest" since none of our predecessors receive any reward for our survival. If you leave these questions untouched, they invite deist answers, which are just as wrong as your having ignored them is.

Anonymous said...

Well done, but sadly a waste of time. Explaining anything to creationists is like explaining it to a stone wall - they never listen.

Anonymous said...

I'm a scientist and a Christian. I believe in Creationism and Evolution. I mean it is obvious things evolve, to deny that seems stupid. But I do believe that the original "human" could have been made by divine hands and it evolved into what we are today. But that is neither here nor there. You wanted to make it better, here are my ideas.

Looking at it objectively. It felt like a lecture. I would only have enjoyed reading it in school to get out of busy work. I got bored early on in the this-is-the-way-it-is-if-you-don't believe-it-you-are-an-idiot tone.
If you could take out the lecturing tone and substitute a isn't-this-fascinating tone (Because it is fascinating!!!) I think it would come off less boring.

As a religious person, I think the pokes at creationism seem petty. I didn't see the Jesus on the cross cartoon so obviously you are listening, which I appreciate. I also think the "A divine creator would never do such a thing" statement seems like you are saying you are God-like and thus know everything about everything. I would change it to "WOULD a divine creator do such a thing?" Still the same idea without the God Complex, or remove that panel entirely.

On a personal note I am not going to put my name because I HATE to argue, not because I don't believe my beliefs are valid. I am posting because I really do want to help a fellow scientist.

Epinephrine said...

An anonymous comment above here (23June2011, 16:28 on my screen) has suggested that it is incorrect to look at mutations as "mistakes" due to a lack of agency, and that mutation is a consequence of sexual reproduction.

Mutation occurs with or without sexual reproduction, or sexual reproduction would never have evolved.

As to whether one can call it a mistake, I think that it is fair to suggest that DNA replication "intends" to create a copy. There is a strange balance between having enough fidelity in the copies and variability. Obviously, perfect fidelity would be problematic for evolution, but the replication of DNA includes proofreading, and one can see how since the enzymes used to replicate DNA are themselves encoded by DNA, it is advantageous to create high fidelity copies. Mistakes may seem like a loaded term, but given that the replication of DNA produces very accurate copies, deviations from this accuracy can justifiably be termed mistakes.

The page about the orange beetles and grey beetles is fine, but ignores the fact that in many insects bright coloration is an evolved trait that is protective. I wonder if a different example might serve better; I can see how it relates to the story about the peppered moth, but that would seem to stand on its own.

Cam said...

I like this. I'm a Christian, and I think you did well with not bashing religion. Don't worry about the comments saying you shouldn't talk about what a divine creator would do. It is a perfectly logical question to ask. No one ever said "And God so loved the world, he gave people cancer".

Anonymous said...

Absolutely wonderful! Keep up the great work. Hope this will serve as an accessible and fun primer for evolution studies.

Anonymous said...

This a wonderful way to get past the resistance many people have to the the theory of evolution. I love the examples and find the content specific but not too technical.

I am a teacher of high school Biology in a very conservative (lots of evangelical christians) school district. As a scientist as well as a teacher I believe in the theory of evolution but I have to walk a very fine line when I teach it. I have to present evolution in such a way that I do not offend the religious and conservative parents but yet get my students (and thier parents) to realize that there is a lot of support for the theory. This comic strip is a perfect way to do this. I do find that the few "digs" at creationism could put my students on the defensive and less willing to consider the argument. Without these "digs" students will be more open to agreeing that maybe this theory isn't impossible to believe. That the theory isn't saying that monkey became man (which is what many of them have been told). If we can just get them to be open to the idea then many of them will see the validity of the theory. The whole trick is to get them to agree (or a least to not object) with each line of evidence so that when you are done they have little to say. This means you have got them thinking which is the first step toward acceptance. Because it is so logical and easy to follow students (and their parents) can't easily dismiss it and resistance lessens.

MT said...

It's shorthand to say a species changes or evolves, and obscures what observations test and confirm the theory--which is that in the fossil record one species (population) appears to be supplanted by a modified descendant species. The extinct progenitor species persists unchanged in its eternal taxonomic resting place. The shorthand in effect only preaches to the converted.

Anonymous said...

Two major problems: 1) "race" is no longer an acceptable term to describe the human species, as it carries too much baggage; 2) you are potentially alienating women by using androcentric imagery in several panels (the testicle example, the "man the hunter" picture, the two male characters, the term "modern man").

Amber Renarde said...

Wonderful. Wish I'd had this when doing my Zoology course. Love your style of science communication. Now away to buy your Psychiatric Tales.

Cassandra said...

To join with Rembear in responding to this from Art Vandelay:

Religion preaches an absolute truth and Science preaches the only absolute truth is that there are no absolute truths. Sciences uses reason and evidence to make it's case; Religion uses faith and fear.

Art, I'd urge you to learn more about religion before making such sweeping statements. My religion - a Christian one - does not preach absolute truth. My religion does not use fear to make its case. Nor does it use "faith" in the sense of "unquestioning blind belief without evidence". In my tradition, we understand faith more in the sense of commitment to a relationship -- the strongest commitment can only happen in an environment of freedom, open-mindedness, and honesty.

As far as science, I'll just mention that I have a scientific understanding of nature, including evolution. Any creationism that I've ever heard or read has been nonsense.

Religion and science aren't opposites. Things that are different aren't necessarily opposite.

Anonymous said...

Excellent. The tiniest of nit-picks: Page 16, second panel on the left--

"...passing its light-sensitive spot onto..."

It should be "on to" as the verb is "passing on."

soapyDave said...

This is great; however, I don't like the randomness analogy using cards. Saying "Sometimes an organism can be dealt a useful hand..." opens it up for creationists to ask who is doing the dealing. But offhand I can't think of a better option...

Anonymous said...

I shared this link (this is such a complex subject to try to get across - I love what you're doing here!), and here's what a liberal Catholic friend had to say:

"'no creator would invent such a complex and dangerous design.' I love when people are so smart that they claim to know what God would and wouldn't do. I believe in God that created everything we see and have yet to discover, and I believe the theory of evolution is probably pretty accurate. I don't see why the two concepts have to be mutually exclusive."

He's called you on inserting an unprovable opinion into something that's supposed to be research-based if it's to be truly credible.

... said...

Ibis is right when they say: "1. It might be an idea to ditch the term "creature". Creatures have creators."

Change the term to Organism. Organisms have orgasms. ;-)

Anonymous said...

This is a cute comic, but anybody can make a comic stating their own opinion or making up their own story. I could do the same thing on Creation. Your confident claims are only your opinion *without sources, references, or footnotes*. I have learned the opposite is true about the fossil record (not enough transitional forms have been found to show a species change) and rock layers (older fossils found in newer rock layers) and could provide sources if asked. Can you provide sources to back up your claims? If not, it's only fictional.

Gustavo Vassão said...

This is a very interesting piece of argument, and still we need this kind of easy-reading, accessible information on evolution nowadays.

Some few things either bothered me or made me think I should comment:

First, panel 18 shows the evolution of mankind as a linear change of man towards "outside" the ape group; this is consistent with the common sense that man is a different, "more evolved", superior species. This linear presentation of evolution also presents the mistaken idea that evolution has a purpose (theme not approached in the text).
Of course this is not true and this is only an interpretation, but dont't you think the panel might lead to that kind of misunderstanding?

Second, people often take "Theory" as something it is not; it could be a good idea to explain that confusion, even though creationists might be a little ofended by that (but aren't them always?).

This is an excellent work, and I am placing a link to this on my blog. Congratulations for your accomplishment.

Nilofar said...

The "creator" is a white, bearded man? Am sure a lot of women and ethnically non-white folks would be peeved, no? Wish we could have a "neutral" representation of the "idea" of god :) Engaging work!

Jennifer said...

I believe humans evolved. I also believe evolution is the mechanism our creator (God) used to create us. Sadly, most fundamentalists will never accept evolution, simply because they don't want to. Perhaps it's threatening? I see no conflict between the two.

RealityMonster said...

The only thing that I can think of as missing (and fundamental) is that bad mutations stick around because they aren't bad ENOUGH. In the case of hernias, they aren't a bad enough consequence to impact viability over generations.

A common theme that I've heard when people complain about evolutionary science is that it doesn't make sense that imperfect things should evolve; they seem to think 'fittest' means 'strongest' or 'perfect', and not just 'most adapted with fewest flaws'.

Despite the fact that I'm an atheist, I DO think the person that pointed out that you can't know the mind of the hypothetical creator has a point. If such a being were to exist, they would be largely inscrutable. The better caption for that panel would point out that no creator that has created humans *in his image* would do such a thing; why would the creator have such a flaw that was worth recreating. Even then, it's arguable that 'image' and 'replica' are not interchangeable in that particular phrase.

Anonymous said...

The digit '10' is missing from the ten of hearts playing card. Minor detail, which if intentional, I can accept.

Dugan said...

Beautifully done.

Some suggestions that might strengthen the argument and forestall nitpicking:

1. Life has been around for over 3 billion years - somewhat more impressive than "millions of years".

2. If there's any kind of cooked-up controversy over the dark moth example, it might be better to pick a different one.

3. Avoid blanket statements like "evolution is the only possible explanation for X". One can always claim that God keeps an eye out for species' welfare and randomly tweaks their design to adapt to conditions on the ground. The claim is bullshit, of course, but science should never claim absolute certainty, just a tentative best-fit model of reality, etc etc.

Nathan Myers said...

Wow, this is so great!

It might be worth shoehorning in that eyes didn't occur until the first predators came along; before that, there was no need to avoid shadows. When there was, the eye developed very, very fast, and out of the most haphazard materials, just whatever was already at hand.

I like best the recurrent laryngeal nerve looped under the aorta as evidence of bad design, but maybe it's been overplayed. Herniation is good too, and takes less explaining.

I'd like to see the tree branches where lineages split off be a little more equal to one another, so it looks less like a progression toward a goal but with mistakes.

Mitochondrial resemblance to extant bacteria is a well contained example of mutualism.

Anonymous said...

Another example of bad design, if you want to this route, is the circumlocation of the prostate around the urethra, in men.

I in fact think about this 3-5 times each night, after going to bed.

Lurker111

Anonymous said...

Why does creationism and evolution need to be mutually exclusive? All science is to me is the study of the laws of God of how things work. What may seem like "poor design" to some could be because to get from A to Z things have to go through a process that gives the final results. Thus we have evolution and thus man is imperfect. Keep in mind that we aren't at the final stage of evolution yet and better designs may still be in our future.

Anonymous said...

When is the man in orange going to kill the man in grey?

Anonymous said...

You've got a great idea here - but the strips come off like you have a chip on your shoulder. There's quite a bit of evidence for design as well as evidence for evolution. Also, forensic skeletal evidence is not necessarily as good for evolution as you suggest. I think these strips would be much better if they acknowledged the tremendous issues facing neo-Darwinian evolution and the similar issues facing origin of life science.

Anonymous said...

Pretty good but I think it's absolutely critical to include how the evolutionary ancestor came into existence. That shouldn't be left out.

Anonymous said...

Great comic! You might want to put more emphasis on the definition of a scientific theory. The "it's just a theory" thing is so frustrating. Colloquially, people generally use the term theory when they are talking about what scientists would call a hypothesis - something as yet untested or inadequately tested.

tvk said...

i'm gonna skip around whatever debate is going on in the comments right now but i want to tell you the first page works really, really well on its own as a gag

Amanda said...

"10" is missing on the 10 of hearts. Intentional?

John Taylor said...

A few things. Intelligent design does not imply perfect design. Indeed, some of the most perfect things in this world are in fact very flawed. Science in many ways is committing the same mistake as the "fundies": they assume they have all the answers. I also think this comic gives a poor opinion of humans. Because our eyes are not what some people would consider "perfect" by evolutionary standards, then obviously it is a mistake. Like I said before, intelligent design is not perfect design. I am religious and I will be the first to admit that I don't know why God has done certain things (yeah, our eyes COULD be better). Science should do the same, instead of assuming it was a mistake of evolution or obvious proof of God's in-existence.

My advice to religious folks and science folks: Stop assuming you have all the answers, because you don't.

Jessie said...

This was absolutely fantastic! What a wonderful, intelligent, easily understandable tool for teaching people about evolution. Bravo!

The only small sticking point for me was that those bright orange bugs make me think of how bugs are often bright to show that they're toxic and inedible. However, I understand it was simply a device to illustrate a point and in that sense, it was effective.

Gaurav said...

Great!!! piece of work.

Shaun Gardiner said...

Hi Darryl

I think this looks like a fantastic piece of work, as others have already said. I do have one comment though (seeing as you said to point things out - though this isn't a mistake per se).

On page 4, panels 4-6 the two people in the strip have an exchange about the status of evolution as a theory, with Orange trotting out the common complaint that 'evolution is just a theory'. I think the response of Grey is a good one, but there's another point - perhaps a larger one - that's being missed here.

The problem is in the usage of the word 'theory'. (I'm going to go through the stages here, more to make sure to myself that I've got the argument straight than anything else.) 'Theory' in English can indicate one of two things: first, a hypothesis, a conjectural proposition to be tested for truth or falsity; second, a group of established propositions, all coherent with one another, used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena.

The two meanings are often confused - someone in a Hollywood film, usually when the evil, unstoppable beasties are trying to hammer down the door behind which the heroes cower. The brains of the bunch may say something like 'I have a theory!' and go on to identify the beasties’ weak point and hence save us all from becoming fodder. But brains doesn’t, in fact, have a theory - what he or she has is a hypothesis, a statement to be tested. Einstein’s theory of general relativity, on the other hand, is a fish of another scale – it’s a group of propositions used to explain phenomena like gravity, the bending of light around massive objects, redshift, and so on…

Evolution is a theory of the second kind, not the first. It is a group of propositions that is used to explain a huge range of phenomena - basically, just about the whole of biology. When someone argues against evolutionary theory on the basis that it's 'just a theory' they're making the mistake of thinking that evolution remains a hypothesis to be confirmed by the evidence - and therefore, that it's possible for it to be discounted, as a hypothesis may be proved false. But this simply isn't the case. Instead, evolution is a set of general propositions used to explain and account for observed facts - speciation, extinction and the fossil record, genetic inheritance. It's not that evolution agrees with most of the facts (and so may be discarded should the right facts arrive); evolution relates and coheres all the facts. Without evolutionary theory, the whole realm of biology would fall into nonsense, tatters and disarray.

Anyway, as I say, I think your comic looks great so far - I just wanted to chuck those thoughts into the circle, because I thought the point's an important one. And if anyone spots a mistake in my argument, please do chime in!

More power to your elbow! Cheers

Shaun

Anonymous said...

Wonderful work!

I would make one small suggestion for a change, which is that instead of "all the individuals in the population will be grey," "ALMOST all ...will be grey."

My understanding of such things, and, granted, I'm fairly rusty with this, is that it has to be a pretty severe detriment to eliminate an allele completely from the population. Even the pepper moths had some light-colored traits persist through the pollution...

Angry d20 said...

*reads comic* Cool explanation!

*reads comments* ...oh for...

Something many of you should be aware of...hypocrisy comes in all forms, not just Christian. A lot of people on here are calling us "thin-skinned" as mild insults; there are several others far worse. Those of us who ignore your words disprove you without you ever knowing; those who do shout and rail are not "all of us", they are the "Loud Majority". You see this sort of thing all the time in the Dungeons and Dragons Edition Wars (Google it and prepare for the bile wars of all time).

Yes, I play D&D and I'm a Christian. Got a problem with that? 'Cuz I don't, nor do any other Christians I know.

Anyways, Jon said: [I also believe that religion and evolution are contradictory, as did Darwin himself. Scientific research is an antidote to religion but, as has been said before, reading one easy book is much easier than reading lots of hard ones.

I couldn't draw the dole so I don't mind if you pick up on an idea that I've had since seeing your material. I'm guessing that you, too, may be an atheist and, if so, why not a series – a book, even – devoted to asking questions about the drivel in the bible – the acknowledged word of God – that has now been positively trashed. I am thinking, for example, that the Bible says that the world is a disc floating on, and surrounded by, water with a solid roof held up by the mountains. What I want to know is; a) is that still true?, b) if it is, how come I've seen pictures on the television of earth from space that show that it's an oblate spheroid, c) if it isn't, how come God did not know this amazing fact when, i) he created the thing in the first place and, ii) he was the one who wrote about it in the Bible?]

One, "scientific research is an antidote to religion"? What? Do you even know what you're talking about? If my memory were perfect I'd quote you a verse that basically says "explore the world scientifically, because all things have a reason". Sweeping statements do not exactly help your case.

Two, "reading one easy book is much easier than reading lots of hard ones"? Yeah, because the Bible is so easy to understand and that's why there's like 500 splinter groups all saying it says something different. Talk about willful ignorance...

Three: "the drivel in the bible – the acknowledged word of God – that has now been positively trashed"? I'd love to hear some. I may not believe the Bible as "perfect" but you're doing nothing more than attempting to push buttons. And people like that, in my honest and not-at-all-Christian opinion, need to have their sexual organs removed, to keep them from contaminating the rest of humanity further.

Four, "the Bible says that the world is a disc floating on, and surrounded by, water with a solid roof held up by the mountains"? I cannot believe you'd type this with a straight face. Rather, a trollface. That's laughably false, except you're presenting it as fact.

Most of the comments on here are quite fine. Most of the people here are reasonable. Then we get people like Jon, who drag an otherwise legitimate science down to FATAL's level. For those who want to know what the most terrible thing to ever come from humanity is...well, it's the FATAL RPG. Look up the review, because the actual "game" will only scar your mind.

Jon, and others...I pray for you. Everyone else, keep up the good work, either in explaining or in not being a douchebag. And sorry for the rant.

James Van Hise said...

While I can't find it now, artist Jim Pinkoski (who has other Biblical based pages) used to have a website with elaborate and very professional drawings he'd done of Noah's Ark surrounded by dinosaurs drowning in the flood, and he believes this.

Phil said...

Hi, love the comic, just one pedantic point: it should be "finches' beaks" not "finch's beaks".

Anonymous said...

Great comic, don't change a thing-

I say that because, fucking christ, every comment is basically "oh that's cool, but it looks like you misspelled this word" Fuck! Shut up, it's fine. None of the misspellings appear to exist anyways.

Leila said...

Hello Darryl,

excellent work! Congratulations. As a biology teacher, I know you touched on major themes and discussions raised in evolutionary biology classrooms. Hey, every fun and interesting materials are welcome a lot! You even discussed the hoax issue on industrial melanism... awesome!

Just have one comment on the panel of page 21. Here, you break this familiar image that depicts a popular conception about human evolution, in which one see a line, or ladder, from an anthropoid, through what seems to be hominids, until modern humans. This image is, I think, a serious disservice to the whole enterprise of evolution popularization... It gives you the idea that evolution is a process of linear continuity, which is not, and even of progress. I know you treated appropiately these aspects earlier in the comic, but even in virtue of this I suggest you change theese pictures.

Best regards,
Leila

Anonymous said...

Excellent!

At the risk of inflation I would suggest a little more on the mechanism of natural selection and natural variation between siblings and how we can see this everyday.

For almost all organisms the number of offspring conceived exceeds the stable replacement. An oak might produce 300 years x 10,000 acorns, yet the earth is not covered in oaks, aphids or cats. Not all offspring survive, if the selection is biassed by the environment, predators, food availability etc. there will be selection for some genetic traits rather than others, leading to a change in the average of that characteristic over the generations.
L

Anonymous said...

Your example of finches on the Galapagos is flawed.This is not a good example of evolution. The beaks may have grew but THE FINCH IS STILL A FINCH>

Back to the drawing board.

Will said...

Hi,

Didn't read through all the comments, so this may have been mentioned, but I found that the evolutionist switching from the right side to the left side was confusing. Since the characters were ideologies more than personalities, I looked to which part of the panel they were on more than their physical appearance, even though the gray/orange was nicely different. I would suggest leaving the evolutionist on the right, and possibly changing the speech bubble color difference more (the gray-darker gray isn't perceptible unless you're looking for it).

pictor said...

Well done but ultimately a waste of time because creationists are not amenable to reasoned arguments. For them this isn't about science, it's about belief. Creationists believe they have free will with which they choose to establish a personal relationship with God. If evolution is true, then there are only three possible conclusions, none of which are acceptable to them:

1. that God does not exist;
2. that God is a "prime mover" who set events in motion at some point in the past with the foreknowledge of what would arise from the initial conditions and
3. that God is somehow imperfect, set up general parameters for evolutionary development but did not know the ultimate outcome.

Option 1 is obviously unacceptable. Believe it or not, option 2 is also unacceptable because it implies predestination, which invalidates the free will a believer needs to be "born again." Option 3 lies outside the acceptable canons of traditional religion; an imperfect god would seem not to be a god at all.

Consequently you cannot frame an acceptable argument for evolution within the context of modern fundamentalism. You might be able to convince someone who's never heard the arguments for evolution and is open to reasonable discussion, but those people, alas, are few and far between. For the true believer, no amount of proof will suffice. Evolution undercuts the source of his faith. It must be denied.

Good work, though.

Graham said...

Nice work but I hope before you publish this you intend to give credit to the original authors.

Darryl Cunningham said...

Grayham.

Yes, there will be full references for each chapter, and due acknowledgement to those authors whose work I read in order to complete the book.

Craig said...

Very nice work indeed. It covers all bases pretty well for the laymen. One thing i think should get a little attention is the 'random' thing. People throw around the word a little too much when opposing the fact of evolution - "You can believe its all totally random chance if you like!" etc. etc. Make it well known that while mutations are random whether they are useful or not is predictable. i.e Natural 'selection' is very 'selective' indeed. The key is in the term, yet so many people forget it. Just something that annoys me with evolution deniers.

Livvie said...

I've just discovered you - and I think you're awesome! I am a science teacher and I love the way you have made the explanation easy to understand, yet have avoided a lot of the oversimplification that often occurs when pitching the explanation to "beginners".

Apuch said...

Fantastic job. Thank you for this.

Michael said...

I just wanted to let you know that even as a creationist who stands unapologetically for the accuracy of the Bible, I enjoyed your comic. Apparently we've forgotten in our society that things you disagree with can still be very well done.

Michael said...

I also find the comments from professing christians who want to make sure the 'smart people' know that they aren't one of 'them' pleasantly amusing.
Anyone else find it ironic that we 'fundies' are regarded as a sort of mission field that need to be reached by our more 'enlightened' brethren?

Anonymous said...

Nice Job. Good to read.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3157/5856619445_bca1d38fbd_b.jpg

There's a "s" missing in Desoxyribonucleic.

Anonymous said...

Awesome cartoon!

And I disagree with the comments that say it is a waste of time. A few weeks I was truly stumped by one of my coworkers who turned out to believe in Creationism. A young man, not stupid, but he had simply been told that Evolution is just a theory as is Intelligent Design.

I discussed it with him and explained the difference between belief, hypothesis and theory, especially that a theory is based on proof, allows predictions, explains things and must not contradict evidence in any way.

Long story short, I think, I got through to him. This cartoon would have been terribly helpful.

You can, of course, not convince hardcore creationists, that's impossible. But most people are in the middle, more moderate and not stupid. Creationism thrives because people don't understand how Evolution works, don't know the difference between theory and hypothesis. And your cartoon teaches them exactly that.

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

A delight to read. Thank you!

Gary said...

The process of evolution is still going on around us in a billion places as one tiny trait might give an organism a tiny advantage in having offspring and that they also survive to reproduce. In many ways nature is evolution is the largest parallel genetic/neural learning network in existence.

prairiewolf said...

Beautiful work! I'd prefer leaving the discussion of a "creator" completely out of evolutionary science. Evolution, while it appears to make a creator unnecessary, doesn't make one impossible. It's an unarguable position on both sides, and it comes basically down to what one WANTS to believe. I'm just saying that it gives certain nuts a place to stand, call names, and lob stones, while doing nothing for the logical and factual explanation of how and why evolution works. Beyond that minor quibble, you've done an excellent job of outlining why and how evolution does what it does... Whether or not it's directed by a Creator! ;-)

Unknown said...

Just a point on the Eye evolution panel that states "A spot sensitive enough to detect a predator's shadow"

When this eye was evolving, what was the predator that would cast a shadow?

Shouldn't this be an adaptation to the environment? Maybe the first light detection organ was used for biological optimization and competition instead of predation.

SEO Company said...

What do you care? What do they want / need to know to be more interested and eventually to buy?

Boten Anna said...

I want a "chick tract" version of this (maybe minus the testes/hernia part so I don't get accused of peddling smut to kids) to hand out at halloween :3

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