Darwin Bookmarks

Driving creationists crazy

Before Charles Darwin goes to the carnival, he marks his place in his books using official Bay of Fundie™ Charles Darwin bookmarks!
(Image from Wilson’s Almanac.)

The reason I profiled that misleading web site (CharlesDarwin.org) in the prior post was because of its apparent rising profile. Darwin Day is approaching on Feb. 12 (make your plans now!). The creationists are trying to co-opt the day for their own purposes (I hope to have time to write about this tomorrow).

I was exploring creatard web site Access Research Network (motto: “If we didn’t suck so hard, we could get jobs at the Discovery Institute!”). They have a page on Charles Darwin that includes links to online versions of his books. They’re trying to make themselves look respectable. Also on that page are some PDFs of Darwin bookmarks. It looks like they’re trying to get teachers, librarians, and other educators who accidentally visit that page to download the bookmarks, print them out on cardstock, and give them out to impressionable students.

Let’s see what this bookmark looks like. Here’s a scaled-down version:

Creationist bookmark

I know that might be a bit hard to read, but you should still be able to recognize the quote on there as the one we saw in my recent post about CharlesDarwin.org, which is:

I am well aware that there is scarcely a single point discussed in this volume on which facts cannot be adduced, often apparently leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I have arrived. A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts on both sides of each question, and this cannot possibly be done here.

As we previously discussed, the quote only had meaning when evolution was a new theory. No other interpretations of the data have withstood 150 years of scientific scrutiny.

Irrelevance notwithstanding, the purpose of using that quote these days is to sow the seeds of doubt and misinformation among the populace. If you look at that image of the bookmark, you’ll see that it contains the URL CharlesDarwin.org. Its appearance on these bookmarks suggests that this is all part of a campaign to ramp up the visibility of that site and use it as a weapon against science education. That’s what led me to investigate it.

Well I wasn’t too keen on the idea of these bookmarks floating around uncontested, so I made my own (the download button is below). I was originally just going to steal their bookmarks and change the text, but I discovered that whoever made them is not only a sub-competent scientist but a sub-competent graphics artist. So I just rolled my own from scratch. Mine are much better than theirs. I’m using a brighter, cleaner picture of Darwin, and the portrait’s background blends with the rest of the bookmark better. (Creationists: Incompetent at everything!)

Here is a scaled-down preview of my bookmarks:

Bay of Fundie's Charles Darwin bookmarks

Print them out and distribute them as you see fit.

Also, I’d like to add a few more quotes, but I want them to stay focussed on dispelling misconceptions and misinformation about how evolution works. Feel free to put your suggestions in the comments.

You may download the bookmarks (2.2 MB file) by right-clicking on this button and selecting Save As… from the popup menu:

Right-click and Save As to download

To print, open the files in a paint program. In Page Setup, set the orientation to Landscape. Center the image on the page and print. This is intended for 8½ × 11 inch paper. If you use A4, you’re on your own.

Note to educators and Darwin Day event planners: I stuck my URL on there primarily to make my bookmarks look as close to the originals as possible, in order to annoy the guy at CharlesDarwin.org (although the advertising value is not lost on me). If you want to print up a bunch of these and distribute them in a school, library, etc., it’s probably not a good idea to have the URL of a sometimes-inflammatory blog on there. We should figure out what web site would be a good one to substitute. Maybe the Talk Origins archive? Or maybe NCSE? I’m open to suggestions.

There might also be one or two of these bookmarks that you feel might not be appropriate for your venue. You can customize them yourself, or contact me, and I’ll do it for you (time permitting, but if it benefits science education, I’ll try to find the time).

14 Responses to “Darwin Bookmarks”

  1. Luke Says:

    These are great! I share my birthday with CD, and will raise a glass in his honour on Feb 12th.

    How about darwin-year-2009.org for the URL?

  2. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Minor style critique for the “There is no theory…” bookmark. According to the MLA I used back in college, periods belong inside quotation marks. Don’t want to piss off any sympathic English teachers, now do we? ;-)

  3. Ron Britton Says:

    According to the MLA I used back in college, periods belong inside quotation marks.

    That’s no longer true. The trend has been away from that over the last couple of decades, especially in technical material. Also, I think it was never true for single words.

    This article has a couple of interesting statements on the issue:

    Now, keep in mind that this comma and period inside the quotation marks business is strictly American usage. The British don’t do it that way. They are inclined to place commas and periods logically rather than conventionally, depending on whether the punctuation belongs to the quotation or to the sentence that contains the quotation, just as we do with question marks and exclamation points.

    So their spelling may be completely daft, but at least they know how to do punctuation. Here’s why:

    And just why, you may ask, do they belong there? Well, it seems to be the result of historical accident. When type was handset, a period or comma outside of quotation marks at the end of a sentence tended to get knocked out of position, so the printers tucked the little devils inside the quotation marks to keep them safe and out of trouble. But apparently only American printers were more attached to convenience than logic, since British printers continued to risk the misalignment of their periods and commas.

  4. OtherRob Says:

    How ’bout this for one:

    If there actually were a controversy we’d be happy to teach it.

    Two other thoughts:

    I’ve always disliked the punctuation always inside the quotation marks rule.

    Ron, if you’d like, I’d be happy to turn your images into a PDF file. Might make it easier for folk to print. Just let me know.

  5. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Lol, Ron. I remember getting scolded by angry high school english teachers for the comma issue. I honestly had no idea it was even a regional thing. Quite amusing. To this day, commas/periods on the outside still look peculiar to me — despite never having to work with a printing press in all my life. ;-)

  6. Ron Britton Says:

    Luke:

    How about darwin-year-2009.org for the URL?

    I’m looking for a site that is specifically about teaching evolution to laymen. Darwin-year-2009.org is more about Darwin himself. I’m not into idol worship. It also just feeds into the fundies’ belief that he’s our co-god (Richard Dawkins is our other co-god, of course).

    Darwin Day is an excellent opportunity to try to educate people on why this is such an important theory and how it is fundamental to all of the life sciences. There has been a shying away from the topic of evolution on the part of teachers in the last couple of decades, because it is so “controversial”. (OMG! I put the period outside the quotation marks!) Darwin Day gives us a chance to try to wear down that injustice and try to dispel the misconception.

  7. Ron Britton Says:

    OtherRob:

    Ron, if you’d like, I’d be happy to turn your images into a PDF file. Might make it easier for folk to print. Just let me know.

    I don’t know if that’s necessary. Everybody has at least a crappy paint program on their computer, so I’m guessing that printing it won’t be a problem.

    I already have the ability to turn them into PDFs, but since these occupy two files, it would have to be two PDFs (that’s the limitation of my software). One reason I kept them as PNGs is it makes it easier for the end user to edit himself.

  8. Ron Britton Says:

    PL:

    I remember getting scolded by angry high school english teachers for the comma issue.

    They mean well, but they have to know when to let go of outdated ideas. I didn’t know until today that the reason for the rule was originally because of a technical problem. How lame!

  9. Parrotlover77 Says:

    In my continuing efforts to further derail this discussion, Windows 7 will include an updated MS Paint. Wow. That’s only, what, 20 years overdue? ;-)

    Anyway, I agree with the idol worship point, Ron. The more we (rightfully or not) point out how amazing the man, Darwin, is, the more it feeds into his status of him being the “atheist god.” It is important to note that atheism does not require evolution (nor the reverse, really). Just because you do not believe in the existence of a deity does not necessarily mean you think evolution exists. This is a point fundies often mistake. Quite often it may be true, but belief in either does not necessitate belief in the other.

    Is there a really good lay evolution link? I don’t know of one off-hand. That would certainly play the least into the fundies’ fear mongering.

  10. OtherRob Says:

    Just because you do not believe in the existence of a deity does not necessarily mean you think evolution exists.

    And the reverse is true, too, of course. Just because you believe in evolution, doesn’t make you an atheist. Plenty of religious, deeply religious, people believe in evolution. The two are not mutually exclusive.

    And, Ron, if you ever do want the images (or anything) turned into a PDF, just let me know. I’m a graphic designer by trade so I have the tools to turn your two graphics into one PDF if you ever want it.

  11. Ron Britton Says:

    Parrotlover:

    In my continuing efforts to further derail this discussion, Windows 7 will include an updated MS Paint. Wow. That’s only, what, 20 years overdue?

    They were still shipping Edlin through Windows NT! The crappier the software, the longer Microsoft lets it live!

  12. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Dude, I pwned in edlin back in the day! Actually, keeping old tools for backward compatibility is a Very Good Thing (TM). Keeping old theologies for backward compatibility — not a good thing.

    (See, I can always bring it back on topic!)

  13. Barb Says:

    What about the Year of Science website? They’re focusing on evolution for February in honor of Darwin’s birthday.

  14. Ron Britton Says:

    Barb:

    Right now there’s nothing there. I’ll check again in Feb.