Stealth creationists aim to mess up biology students

So, God is a platypus?

Appearing to be aware they are losing the battle of the classroom to real science, creationists have taken a sneakier way to undermine science education.  P. Z. Myers explains:

A lot of people have been writing to me about this free webgame, CellCraft. In it, you control a cell and build up all these complex organelles in order to gather resources and fight off viruses; it’s cute, it does throw in a lot of useful jargon, but the few minutes I spent trying it were also a bit odd — there was something off about it all.

Where do you get these organelles? A species of intelligent platypus just poofs them into existence for you when you need them. What is the goal? The cells have a lot of room in their genomes, so the platypuses are going to put platypus DNA in there, so they can launch them off to planet E4R1H to colonize it with more platypuses. Uh-oh. These are Intelligent Design creationist superstitions: that organelles didn’t evolve, but were created for a purpose; that ancient cells were ‘front-loaded’ with the information to produced more complex species; and that there must be a purpose to all that excess DNA other than that it is junk.

Suspicions confirmed. Look in the credits.

Also thanks to Dr. Jed Macosko at Wake Forest University and Dr. David Dewitt at Liberty University for providing lots of support and biological guidance.

Those two are notorious creationists and advocates for intelligent design creationism. Yep. It’s a creationist game. It was intelligently designed, and it’s not bad as a game, but as a tool for teaching anyone about biology, it sucks. It is not an educational game, it is a miseducational game. I hope no one is planning on using it in their classroom. (Dang. Too late. I see in their forums that some teachers are enthusiastic about it — they shouldn’t be).

No such thing as a free lunch.  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Free software for use in educating kids about biology, sounds too good to be true.


In comments, Lars Doucet disavows creationist intent.  So the creationist/intelligent design factors were added just to make the game more playable, and not as an attempt to introduce or endorse creationism or intelligent design.

Lots of discussion, much of it rude (some of it delightfully so), at Myers’ joint.

Maybe, if the makers didn’t intend to make a creationist stealth game, they could jigger the thing to make it more accurate?

11 Responses to Stealth creationists aim to mess up biology students

  1. Chris S. says:

    So some programmers design an educational game based around organelles and don’t know what a chloroplast does. That’s…interesting.

    Having played the game I don’t really think it deserves the scorn poured upon it though – mildly educational about cell structure nothing to say about evolution really (at least not by level 3 when I got bored)


  2. Nick K says:

    I’ve been a Christian all my life, Mco.

    Would you like to try again? Or is it expecting too much out of you, my fellow Christian, to expect an apology for your stupid assumption?

    And if you’re teaching your kids intelligent design/creationism, MCo, you’re in no position to be chiding anyone else about not taking responsibility.

    Pray for yourself, little one, you’re the one that needs it. I would not sell my soul to the Devil to become like you.


  3. Lars Doucet says:

    Also, for the record : we didn’t seek out the biologists. They sought US out and then turned over the reigns completely to Anthony Pecorella (lead designer, also evolutionist) and me. They answered our questions like, “Hey, what’s a chloroplast do?” and that’s all. They didn’t impose an agenda.

    It’s a weird story, I know, but those are the facts. So, make what you like of that.


  4. Lars Doucet says:

    Not only do we have a BIG list of things we’re considering for a sequel, but the game will be open source! So, everyone’s more than welcome to change whatever they like :)


  5. Ed Darrell says:

    Do you teach your kids that they are descended from mud?

    No mainline Christian sect holds that Genesis 2 is literally accurate; that story about Adam being formed from mud is allegorical.


  6. mcoville says:

    No God is not a platypus, unless He wanted to be. No it is not lying to my kids to let them play a game. I guess the difference between my 9 year old and you is she knows that a game is for fun.

    I do teach my kids about evolution and how it helps organisms to adapt to God’s world. Do you teach your kids that they are descended from mud? Oh thats right, you probably teach them little because you let the government teach your kids what they need to know. Why to take responsibility there.

    Mr Doucet, I played more of the game yesterday and found it very entertaining and educational. Thank you for putting the work in to making this game. Will you be releasing a stand alone version or maybe a downloadable one that saves your progress?

    Hey Nick, what do you know about God? Unless you have a personal relationship with Him, you really should stick to the topics your familiar with. I will pray for you.


  7. Ed Darrell says:

    Mr. Doucet, I’m inclined to believe you — but did you really get “biology” advice from the creationists at Liberty U?

    And, really: A platypus?

    What’s your intent with the game?


  8. Lars Doucet says:

    I’m the lead programmer for Cellcraft.

    PZ Myers has his facts wrong. We have a large team, and in that team there’s a diversity of views on the subject. For the record, I believe in evolution. This is NOT a “stealth creationist” game and I find it insulting that no one has emailed me to clear this up, but is instead jumping to conclusions because some of the associations in our team.

    We’re not trying to push any agenda.

    Seriously, if this was a creationist title, do you think we would “hide” the message?


  9. Nick K says:

    And if you were a open minded Christian, or hell just a Christian at all, Mcoville, you’d teach your kids about the theory of evolution and tell them to stay away from the heretical belief of Creationism/Intelligent Design.

    After all, it’s the tool that God used. And unlike your precious creationism, the theory of evolution doesn’t say that God is a sociopathic liar.


  10. Ed Darrell says:

    My condolences to your children, and may God have mercy on your soul.

    What was it Jesus said about those who mislead children?

    Do you believe God is a platypus?


  11. mcoville says:

    Thanks for turning me on to the game, I am going to incorporated it in to my kids home schooling lessons.

    If a closed minded atheist like PZ dislikes it, it must be good.


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