Bad Satire

P.Z. Myers on Roger Ebert’s attempted satire of young-earth creationism (the belief that the entire universe is just 6,000 years old):

But Ebert is no Jonathan Swift. Imagine if, in 1729, there had been a number of letters to the editor by various authors proposing that Irish children be exterminated and eaten. Imagine that laws of that nature were being seriously debated in Parliament, and that one of the parties had made it a part of their platform. While the laws were being regularly defeated, opponents still had to stand up and seriously debate why it was unethical to eat babies. Imagine that a candidate for prime minister actually solemnly suggested that we ought to at least consider the merits of eating Irish children.

In that context, Swift’s essay would have fallen flat as a cowflop dropped from the Tower of London.

To satirize the creationism movement, you’d have to, say, posit that the earth is just 60 years old.

Thursday, 25 September 2008