and they wonder where the backlash comes from

PZ Myers bemoans the lack of detailed knowledge of the history of biology endemic in the tech field, as revealed by the backstory of the Open Darwin mascot:

Once my platypus was chosen someone suggested that we use “Hexley” as the name of the new mascot since Darwin’s assistant was named Hexley. It turns out we were wrong and the person we were referring to was actually Thomas Henry Huxley. Huxley was not Darwin’s assistant but was a prominent English biologist in his own right. […] By the time we found out our mistake “Hexley” had escaped into the ether and we felt that it was too late to change the name to “Huxley”.

Quoth the good Professor:

Oooh. Ow. How embarrassingly ignorant. It

3 thoughts on “and they wonder where the backlash comes from

  1. I don’t expect random gangs of computer geeks to know all the nit-picky details of the history of biology, but it just seems to me that someone might have thought to, like, Google it. That’s the thing; you go to the effort of making a fancy logo, you might take two minutes to get some simple background correct.
    As for nat. geo., I think it is extremely reprehensible for the organization to take a goofy expedition managed by religious fruitcakes and con artists so seriously that they package up a little story about it for kids. It says that they have set their standards extraordinarily low.

  2. Yeah, I’d have thought they’d Google it too. I just thought you overreacted.
    Ditto with the nat geo piece — there’s no endorsement of religion or the idea of the ark, and the author carefully inserts all the necessary “as Xtians believe”-type disclaimers. It just seems like a little “news of the weird” article to me. It’s certainly interesting to me that someone thinks they’ve found Noah’s Ark, and if anything I’d have thought that article would encourage kids to question such ideas. Mentioning religious beliefs without explicit sneering does not equal endorsement or imply low standards.

  3. the backstory of the Open Darwin mascot
    evolution’s like that, though. no matter how careful you are, sometimes the runt of this generation sneaks in and fathers the next.
    It all evens out over the next millenia or so.

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