Evolution on TV - October 2006

NBC’s Heroes

Network television provided us an interesting look at the theory of evolution and evolutionists.

We don’t want to get into the debate about whether television shapes society or reflects society. We merely agree that there is a correlation between what we see in the popular media and what is happening in America, without regard to which is the cause and which is the effect.

The NBC television program, Heroes, debuted on September 25. It was watched by millions viewers. We were fascinated to see how a major network portrayed an evolutionist. We neither support nor condemn the portrayal; but we found it, well, perhaps we should say, “thought provoking.”

Near the beginning of the program, the stage is set in a college classroom in India. Professor Mohinder Suresh immediately establishes his anti-Christian attitude by ridiculing the book of Genesis. He says that man isn’t worthy of being made in God’s image. Since cockroaches are the most highly advanced creatures on Earth, God must be a cockroach. In a later scene, he stomps on a cockroach. This action was certainly included in the script to show his contempt for God.

There can be no doubt that, in this fictional drama, the professor is openly anti-Christian, and trying to influence his students with his prejudice. It isn’t clear whether he is a Hindu, Buddhist, or an atheist, but he is definitely anti-Christian. This brings up several questions. Why would NBC portray a college teacher in this manner? Is that how the network views college professors? Do they have a reason to view college professors that way?

Listen to what the professor tells his students.

The human genome project has discovered that tiny variations in man’s genetic code are taking place in increasingly rapid rates. Teleportation. Levitation. Tissue regeneration. Is this outside the realm of possibility? Or is man entering a new gateway to evolution? Is he finally standing at the threshold to true human potential?

Of course, this is a necessary plot device because the TV series is about heroes who have these, and other, amazing abilities. They need to establish some plausible way for the characters to have these powers. But, this brings up several questions. Why do they think the audience will accept evolution as the means by which these powers could be obtained? Why didn’t they make the heroes alien creatures from another planet who brought these powers with them when they came to Earth? The network must have thought that an American audience would accept the premise that evolution could produce these effects.

It is true that lizards can grow a new tail, and starfish can regenerate severed arms. The aim of stem cell research is to learn how cells decode DNA to produce the appropriate kind of cell, so that eyelashes grow on eyelids and toenails grow on toes, and not vice versa. So, tissue regeneration could be a plausible result of genetic mutation (although we would expect it to take weeks, not seconds, for a hand mangled in a garbage disposal to regenerate itself).

But how could a change to DNA allow people to defy physical laws? What “tiny variation in man’s genetic code” could permit a person to teleport himself from Japan to New York City simply by wishing to be there? Granted, some people believe the ability to fly was the result of many mutations of dinosaur DNA, but those supposed mutations caused physical changes (hollow bones, feathers, special lungs) which permit flight. What kind of mutation could enable a man to fly without even flapping his arms?

Yes, this is science fiction, and the audience is supposed to accept fantastic ideas to permit the plot to unfold. We just find it interesting that the network would think that an American audience would so easily accept the idea that a change to human DNA could allow man to levitate or travel through time. It is far fetched, but some people really believe mutation allowed dinosaurs to evolve into birds, so there is a precedent for this ridiculous belief.

The fictional professor isn’t content to confine his evolutionary views to the classroom. He takes a job driving a cab, and preaches evolution to a passenger.

Some individuals, it is true, are more special. This is natural selection. Begins as a single individual, born or hatched like every other member of their species. Anonymous. Seemingly ordinary. Except, they’re not. They carry inside them the genetic code that will take their species to the next evolutionary rung. It’s destiny.

The last sentence is the really interesting one. He doesn’t believe in God, but he does believe in destiny. What causes destiny? What is it that directs evolution up the evolutionary ladder? This is an issue that really confounds evolutionists, as we saw in last month’s feature article.

In this first episode there are hints that the professor’s late father (who also was a genetics professor) might have done something to manipulate the DNA of several individuals in various parts of the world, and was secretly studying them when he was murdered. If this is the case, then the super powers of the heroes are not the result of natural evolution. They are the result of intentional, intelligent design changes to the DNA of the individuals being studied. So, even in this science fiction drama, the writers realize that undirected evolution can’t plausibly do the job. These heroes have to have been the result of genetic engineering, which is only possible if there is a genetic engineer.

But there were also hints in this first episode that supernatural forces were involved, and that “evil has a face.” Will the network really go down the path that there is a cosmic battle between God and Satan that is being fought on Earth? Does NBC really dare to advance such a Christian idea?

There is just one reason we have commented on it in this newsletter. We want you to think about the hidden agendas that might be lurking in entertainment programs, news programs, and commercials. We don’t know if NBC was making a clumsy attempt to promote evolution or was simply trying to ridicule evolution. Maybe NBC was just trying to make money and figured that since evolution is a hot topic it would attract viewers. Maybe we are overestimating NBC’s cerebral processes. Regardless, we hope this series (and other TV programs) will stimulate you to ask questions like the ones we have proposed.

We clearly have an agenda. Right at the top of our web page we say, “Science Against Evolution is a California Public Benefit Corporation whose objective is to make the general public aware that the theory of evolution is not consistent with physical evidence and is no longer a respectable theory describing the origin and diversity of life.” Others have agendas that might not be so clearly stated. Be careful.

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