How many Darwinists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Charles Darwin: None. But if it could be shown that the bulb entered the socket without a series of clockwise turns, my theory would absolutely break down.
ACLU: None! We have separation of church and state in this country.
Eugenie Scott: None. To say a Darwinist did it is not a scientific explanation.
Panda’s Thumb: None. To say that light bulbs don’t screw themselves in is not a testable proposition. You can’t prove they don’t. That would be an argument from incredulity. You are committing a ‘Darwinist Of The Gaps’ fallacy.
Generic 1: None. Time and chance are sufficient. Eventually it is inevitable that the bulb will be in the socket. Say, in a billion years.
Generic 2: None. The quintessentially non-random process of natural selection is sufficient. Those objects capable of giving off light when screwed into sockets will be in sockets. Those that aren’t will be in the trash.
Richard Dawkins: None. A light bulb that gives off 1% light intensity is very much worth having. A bulb sitting on the shelf at the supermarket gives off a certain amount of light. One in the cupboard at home gives off more. One five feet from the socket gives off more, and one two feet away even more. One in the socket gives off the most of all. It is therefore inevitable that the bulb will reach the socket.
Stephen J. Gould: None. The bulb jumped into the socket when no one was looking. Gradually.
Kenneth Miller: None. The bulb was already serving a function: providing rigidity to its corrugated packaging on the supermarket shelf. Co-option did the rest.
Theistic Evolutionist: All of the above explanations are substantially correct. But the more important question is the meaning of the light.
Philip Johnson: One.
Michael Behe: One.
Stephen Meyer: One.
William Dembski: One.
Guillermo Gonzalez: One. But isn’t it interesting that other light bulbs allowed the Darwinist to see what he was doing as he screwed in this light bulb.
Darwin Chorus: Oh, yeah? Which Darwinist? What is his name? If you won’t tell us that, you’re being disingenuous, and therefore no one screwed in the light bulb!
Flying Spaghetti Monster: Two. But don’t ask me how they got in there. Oh. 'Darwinists'? I thought you said 'fruit flies'.
Michael Ruse: Are you trying to create a theocracy? The light bulbs in the reeducation camps will be depressingly dim. Unless they use candles. Do Christians know how to make fire?
Internet Infidels: First answer this: How many priests did it take to burn Galileo at the stake? Huh?!?
Panda’s Thumb: If a Darwinist had screwed it in, it would be an efficient fluorescent, not a wasteful incandescent. Therefore no one screwed it in.
Talk.Origins: We’ve observed all kinds of light bulbs in all kinds of sockets: flashlights, automobile headlights, Christmas tree lights, Las Vegas marquees. There is nothing special about this light bulb and this socket.
Richard Dawkins: None. Darwin made it possible to feel fulfilled sitting in the dark.
Update: Richard Dawkins has accused me of leaving out one of his best arguments, so I add it below:
Richard Dawkins: To say that it took a Darwinist to do the screwing in of the lightbulb is to explain precisely nothing. The obvious question becomes: Who did the screwing to create the Darwinist screwer? And who did the screwing to create that screwer? There would have to be an infinite regress of screwers. And if you invoke some invisible, mystical Unscrewed Screwer (for which we have no credible evidence) to start the whole thing off, why not just say that the lightbulb screwed itself in and be done with it?
Update: I've been linked at Uncommon Descent where I found these comments:
Eugenie Scott: No one doubts that the light bulb got screwed into the socket. The only debate is over the details.
Richard Dawkins: Evolution is the study of light bulbs that look as if they’ve been screwed into their sockets for a purpose.
For S.J. Gould’s answer: It’s called punctuated illumination. And then we have to be careful about non-overlapping illuminarium.
Daniel Dennett: Perhaps we should keep fundamentalist light bulb inserters in cultural zoos so future generations can see how “in the dark” they really are!
Comment by DonaldM — April 18, 2006 @ 6:48 pm
Pianka: If we could just produce a directed surge of destructive electricity which would burn out 90% of the worlds light bulbs thereby conserving energy in the long-run and…
…you… you errr… didn’t get that on tape, did you?
Comment by Scott — April 18, 2006 @ 7:01 pm
Also, from my own comment section (Larry Fafarman):
Judge Jones: The inanity of that question is breathtaking.
Update: More from Uncommon Descent commenters:
IDist: The lightbulb emits light and was screwed in by an intelligence. The lightning bug’s rear emits light and therefore it must have been screwed in by an intelligence.
Comment by Fross [apparently a good-humored Darwinist]— April 18, 2006 @ 8:14 pm
Sternberg at Smithsonian: I’m not allowed to question how the lightbulb is twisted into the socket now and they took the lightbulb, the switch, circuit and socket from my office.
Biblical account: Abraham walked with the light, Isaac inherited the light, Jacob stole it and built a ladder to place the light in Yisrael, Moses wrote a “How To” instruction manual for climbing the ladder, Joshua cleared the way for one to climb the ladder to the light, the twelve tribes argued about 613 traditional ways to walk up the ladder for the light, Christ welcomed everyone into his mansion saying there are many rooms and many lightbulbs, sending forth 12 disciples to the world with goodnews of grace that he fulfilled all the instruction manuals steps of Moses, the prophets and Psalms, and even though all others failed, he’d lift them to the light to see how one screws in the bulb if they believed on him. And he would return one day as light eternal for those who repented of not following instructions and they would never have to screw in another light bulb.
Comment by Michaels7 — April 18, 2006 @ 8:24 pm
Generic 3: It is impossible to screw in a lightbulb with any less than four Darwinists. You need one to screw it in and three to act as peer-review referees. Otherwise there will be no light. If an IDist gets three referees to watch, even if the light goes on, someone's going to get fired.
SciAm Editorial: Two MIT researchers have announced the results of a breakthrough experiment, detailed in this month's cover story. To summarize briefly, they first turned on the overhead light in the kitchen. Then one of them donned mittens, got on a chair, and very slowly rotated the bulb in a counterclockwise direction, until it just turned off. The two then proceeded to jump up and down on the kitchen floor, in order to generate random displacement perturbations at the socket site. In an astonishingly short time, the bulb relit.
This experimental result powerfully establishes that lightbulbs are capable of screwing themselves into sockets with no intelligent guidance, demolishing the "one Darwinist" explanation of the creationists, which should now join epicycles, phlogiston, vital elan, and the luminiferous ether in the museum of discredited hypotheses. It is perhaps not too much of an exaggeration to say that Darwinists themselves are becoming wholly superfluous to proper scientific explanation. This important result is something to keep in mind as the nation-wide battle over school district science standards continues to rage.
Michael Ruse: None. Light bulbs in sockets are a fact, fact, FACT!
Richard Lewontin: None. For we take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to self-screwing lightbulbs. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a self-screwing explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to self-screwing causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce self-screwing explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that self-screwing is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Darwinist hand on the bulb.
Update: From my comment section (chunkdz):
Ken Miller: None, because the bulb could be used as a drinking glass, the filament could be a spring, the screw could be used as an archimedian pump and the contacts could be used to make a dandy tie-clip!
Which prompts me to add:
Stuart Kaufmann: None. Notice that both the screw pattern on the light bulb's base and the filament itself exhibit the form of a single helix, testifying to powerful, ubiquitous self-organizing properties in nature.
Talk.Origins: None. The evidence for light bulbs falling up into their sockets is every bit as solid as the evidence for gravity. So why are we still calling it a theory?
NCSE Pamphlet: Scientists have established that the early earth had in abundance all of the materials needed for light bulbs. There was sand. Bauxite. Tungsten. And plenty of electrons. There is absolutely no question among credible scientists that a functioning light bulb could arise from these. The only debate is about which of many possible physical pathways resulted in the light bulb.
Stephen J. Gould: None. The light bulb being in the socket is completely fortuitous. If the tape of evolutionary history were replayed, the bulb would not be found in the socket. Indeed, if you replayed the tape from even further back in time, there wouldn't be a light bulb or a socket. Instead you might find something else entirely. Like a ping pong ball. In a jar of pickles.
Generic 4: None. To just throw up our hands and say "a Darwinist did it" is a science stopper, and will only hamper our efforts to find the real explanation.
DISCLAIMER: This is, of course, a parody. None of the persons or institutions listed above made those actual quotes.
Also, as a pre-emptive point of clarification, I am not a Young Earth Creationist, I do not believe that all the fossils were laid down in a Great Flood, I believe that the universe is around 14 billion years old, that forms of life have evolved, that is, unfolded over time from relatively simple (although there is nothing "simple" about a bacterium) to relatively complex. I am a big fan of science and the scientific method. I am not a big fan of the doctrine of metaphysical naturalism. I believe the ID movement has very good arguments that are simply failing to be addressed in a serious way by its opponents, many of whom refuse to directly examine the books, documents, and fully stated arguments generated by the IDists. It is from that overall perspective that I created this parody.
For those interested, I've been rounding up (list is complete at this point through October 2005) posts I've made on this blog regarding the overall theism/atheism/evolution/ID topic. The round-up can be found here.
This post highlights "A Principle For Examining The Intelligent Design Controversy".