NOTE: BagNewsNotes is now located at Please update your bookmarks.

You will be automatically redirected in a few seconds...

« Turn Off at the High Road | Main | The "It" Girl »

Aug 11, 2005

Giving Darwin The Finger


This is one of those images that makes me glad the BAG has developed such a keen group of readers and co-analysts.  I'll give you some of my takes, and then I'll leave it to you to peel more layers.

Here's what I've got:

1.  We know the right wing has a deep skill to frame the terms of political debate.  In the case of Intelligent Denial (sorry, but that's as close as I can get to saying it), their primary intent is to set up ID and the theory of evolution as coequal concepts.


What troubles me more than anything about this cover is how it reinforces this strategy.  Here -- on the cover of TIME Magazine -- are the now supposedly equivalent "possibilities" (the term Bush used last week) juxtaposed as if subject to federal equal time rules.  (So the monkey is bigger, you say?  Well for God's sakes, not by much.)

2.  Just what has this monkey got to think about?

In the face of the hell fire and pointed intimidation coming from the fundamentalists, is TIME saying that even the chimps are reconsidering Darwin?  Really, I find the idea of deliberation (or second guessing?) an egregious nod to these pseudo-intellectual nuts.

3.  I have mixed feelings about the spatial relationships.


Of course, God has the higher position.  This seems to give the ID-iots more credence.  If you look at most examples of the Sistine Chapel, however, you'll notice that God and Man are almost always horizontal to each other.  The fact that TIME has God descending on the animal seems to exemplify just how much the ID-iots are coming from a blatantly self-righteous position, and pursuing an aggressive campaign that is nothing but "in-your-face. "

I could go on, but I'm happy to yield the floor ... or, is it the ceiling?

(image: TIME Magazine cover.  Aug. 15, 2005)


They would have done better to juxtapose a monkey with George.

Interesting comments, esp considering alternate covers. The story on ABC news tonight was about the 'theory' that Noah's arc had dinosaurs, which explains fossils. How about the monkey next to an arc with a pair of tyrannosaurus rexes in it?

How about "Intelligence Denial," instead?

I'm not so sure...
I know it's Time and all that but this looks like a reference to the old political cartoons that were used to mock Darwin and became a mockery themselves.

So it could be seen as taking the piss out of ID.

"Hmmmmmm, if this evolution stuff is true, then why am I still a chimp?"

Or ...

"We finally got one of our own into the White House and look what happens!"

And maybe God's finger pointing at the Chimp's forehead is saying "No need to think, my hairy son wannabe. Just BELIEVE."

I can't stop laughing,and shaking my head in stunned amazment, at the words "Can Condi Rice Save Iraq" long enough to focus on the rest of the picture.


That is very funny/clever.

It's ironic how the right-wingers talk down artists as if they are beneath society, yet all images and icons of God were created by artists. Without art there is no God - at least not a visual one. It's hard to promote without a visual. In Diane Keaton's film "Heaven" a preacher is asked, "How do you know there is a god if no one has ever seen him?" The preacher responds, "Have you ever seen your brain?"

Using Michelangelo as clip art is cheap.

why is the monkey so large? surely once they choose the "God" image, why put such a big monkey up there. the whole image is out of balance. from the TIM, to the davinci, to the minkey.

If a person wasn't familiar with the original fresco, they might not even know that was supposed to be a god in the upper corner. He appears to be an older man, with perhaps some kids sheltering under his cloak, but he is being blown away and out of the picture by some sort of strong wind. If both sun and wind are acting upon him, how can he be a divine force? The kids look frightened by the chimp and he is waggling his finger as if to say "you, there, don't mess with my family!"

The chimp, OTOH, sits calmly thinking. The expression is ruminative as though he is a chessmaster pondering eight moves ahead or a philosopher seeing deeply into the future. The chimp isn't being blown off-course, either!


Maybe it's just the illustrator's decision to balance the composition of the cover, but the ear of the ape mirrors the riament or drapery surrounding God, which itself looks like an ear. I find that curious because, as some in poetry say, the way to the heart is through the ear: I.E., everybody loves a good story, whether a 'true believer' or not, and this certainly is one. God knew it; so did Darwin. But I have to say, I like Darwin's ending better.

I don't read this as such a bad cover for evolutionists. Maybe it's because I scrolled down to view the image, but it seems as if G-d is annointing/givig a blessing to the monkey. And the monkey is in a pose very reminiscent of Rodin's _The Thinker_. That pose is one suggestive of thought, of higher education, of learning. All qualities that one (in a world world where critical thinking is valued) associates with humans. So we have a monkey in the process of becoming more human, or evolving.

Perhaps it is a defense of ID after all, as G-d is annointing the monkey to go ahead and evolve, but I still see the evolving monkey as the focus and centerpiece of this picture.

the first impression i get from this picture:

"god is teaching intelligent design to a class full of monkeys"

The monkey forms a circle, accentuated by the ear. A self-enclosed system, which noticeably is not pointing. The expression is vague but at best introspective. The monkey will not share or cannot, and thus is not relevant, not outward-oriented, not one of us. The God is flanked by another, a form of community, limbs entwined, flesh touching. God does not just touch himself. Rather, he points. Wittgenstein talks about this act of pointing, its ambiguity and yet its strange power. Never mind that the pointing is akin to a condemnation, as others have said. The pointing also echoes many other things, since this action is always ambiguous. It 'points' to the original painting, how God was reaching out to be touched back. Could God be reaching out toward the closed system, trying to get it to evolve, to open up? Listen, all those who have ears to hear, and thumbs to bend (notice the way the monkey's digits are hidden).

I'm curious about the creepy (to me) of faces just below the image of god. Are they reflections? More people?

Roid Rage

white male god's way cool because he's wearing a T-Shirt; he'd be even way cooler if he had a big HARLEY-DAVIDSON on it. personally i prefer the Jesus -as- long-haired, bearded blue-eyed Scandinavian hippie, dressed in sandals and Greek toga ~ floating in his sublime narcosis ~ now HE is cool: jazzed, not juiced like pop, who's been taking steroids {sigh}


back to TIM, in the case of Rodin -v- Michelangelo : Who's That Boy?

you know, that {ahem} naked naif wrapped around "Oh, No! it's Daddy!" god? and {gulp} there are three other boys buried in there (is it an EAR, or is it a WOMB?)

the Monkey wonders; after all, he digs Chicks.

always has ~ been a Chick man since he was just a Chimp. "Well, excuuuse mee for being born with the right equipment!" he's about to say to god the Harley hot-rodder.

Our man's no monkey... and if there's one thing he's certain of, there ain't no women in this picture, one way or another. and that's no fun.


So the return of creation science pushes Iraq to the edge of the cover--sad and unsurprising; next week we'll be back to how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. I don't know anything about Condoleeza Rice's maternal c.v., but I enjoy thinking of the two marginal captions at the top as describing one story: "Can Condi Rice Save Iraq: A Mummy's Secrets."

The monkey, of course, does not shadow Adam's gesture in the Sistine Chapel ceiling: where Adam reaches lazily towards the image of God, the monkey chooses Rodin instead, and appears to think.

God wears a wife-beater. I vote that monkey for president.

God is clearly pointing at the chimps brain and this seems to suggest that HE is giving it the power to think. Just look at the little guy thinking now. So much for evolution.
Score one for the ID-iots. Hell just having this as a subject on the cover of a major mag. is a score for the ID-iots. In reality (well at least what used to bbe reality) this subject is absurd and doesn't even deserve discussion by anyone with half an evolved brain. Hey wait, maybe that's the key to the ID-iot mind set, they obviously haven't evolved therefore ID-oits. Makes sense when you think about it.

My first impression was "look at how ANGRY god is, and how THOUGHTFUL that monkey is.

Also, God is focused on that monkey, but the monkey isn't even looking in God's direction. I thought about how the actual painting is, with Man reaching out to touch God, but this monkey doesn't even want to touch God, which probably angers God even further.

It conjured in my head all those times I was so angry at someone, and they didn't even know I was there, and boy that made even madder and more aware of my impotence in the situation.

So add ID=impotent, DE=unconcerned and I think this actually is a plus for Evolution.

Perhaps the chimp was just touring Rome, and not attending services at St. Peters.

i can't help but view it as a juxtoposition of a photograph (a chemical process creating a 2-D image of an actual 'thing/environs' which is burned into a surface) with that of a painting (a concept/idea transformed into a visual allegory/art to put forth an idea/impression).

quite fitting when looked at this way; documentation vs allegory. too bad the american public doesn't understand the difference (and after public schooling is even further devolved with id, an even smaller percentage of the public will understand the difference).

They call me - Tim?

If you *do* recognize the Michelangelo, can't you help but notice that the monkey isn't reaching back toward God? that he even looks a bit offended? I guess I see this as either neutral in presentation or leaned slightly toward the evolutionists (of whose views a chimp is a poor representation!). I guess a fundamentalist would see the "elite Darwinians" not even open to their ideas, though, so perhaps it's a eye-of-the-beholder thing...

Are they reflections? More people?

uh, angels?

I like bob's "documentation versus allegory" aspect, but suspect it's a bit too delicate a point to compete with the larger aspects of this image.

Well, the cover is designed to sell copy.

Thinking about why the minkey is not reaching back toward Michelangelo's god would be giving the target demographic too much credit, in my view.

I see the lil' minkey thinking about it and I see the editors trying to create controversy so they can sell copy. Evolution wars certainly is overblown, but how else you gonna grab 'em without an over the top cover?


Hello !!

I don't think the Evolution Wars are overblown. This is Big Problem.

From the cover: "Does God have a place in science class?" I don't know, do they teach biology and paleontology in Sunday school?

In the "debate" taking place in Time's cover art, the Creationists sent in an all-powerful God striking from above, and the best that the Evolutionists could find was some slow monkey.

Looks like God is taking the offense in the defense of a bunch of young humans. (Yet another form of pre-emptive war?)

And finally, the majority of Americans do NOT believe in Evolution. It's bedtime for Bonzo the monkey. Welcome to the future.

The big loser in this continuing struggle of christianity with natural selection is public education. The dumbing down of science, diluted by ID, is inevitable in this age of fundamentalism. Tom

Progressives can remain atheists if they choose, but not all of them should. The debates will be set on the terms of those who are the more powerful. Those terms for now are religious. Cindy Sheehan was/is a Catholic youth minister, I hear. Well, that is one way to ensure no more loss of Catholic votes. I mean you all do what you like. You can sit there with your head in your hands or you can point fingers...or you can build a bridge from the monkey to the man. :)


The way I see it, these people are working against evolution by promoting thinking that causes devolution.

I find them just as scary and terrifying as Mulla Omar and muslim radicals.


Scratch radicals, I meant extremists, fanatics, you know the one's I mean. The ones that don't want people to think or chose how to live.


The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

My Other Accounts

Blog powered by TypePad
Member since 07/2003