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Creation Simulation – WSJ.com

September 22, 2008

 

The HMS Beagle, with a 26-year-old Charles Darwin onboard, anchored near the Galapagos Islands 173 years ago this week. If that young man were alive today, he just might be hibernating in his parents’ basement instead, eating cheese puffs and playing Spore on his laptop. It’s true that Darwin once said that “a man who dares waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” But he might have found Spore, an elaborate videogame that simulates the creation of our universe, to be an enlightening diversion.

The player chooses the adaptations of his own micro-organism to transform it from underwater prey to solar-system demigod. The creatures are guided through five stages of evolution — starting with a single cell, then moving to land creatures, then entire tribes, civilizations and, finally, space invaders. In typical Darwinian fashion, Spore has caused a ruckus on blogs for its premise and narrative. One site, AntiSpore.com, appeared to be set up to counter what one poster, a self-described concerned Christian parent, called the game’s “propaganda aimed directly at our children to teach them evolution instead of creationism.” But after thousands of postings on AntiSpore, mostly by angst-filled atheist gamers bewildered and angry that someone could actually question evolution, the anonymous creator of the site announced last week that AntiSpore was in fact a hoax.

AntiSpore.com was meant to parody religious fundamentalism, but the atheists who fell for the hoax ended up parodying themselves with their over-the-top vituperation. Forum administrators noted in their “reveal” message on the site that their favorite post came from a commenter named “Asssombrero,” who wrote: “Best spoof site I’ve ever seen; you’ve successfully proved atheists are bigger whiners and every bit as petty, venal, abusive, aggressive, malicious and generally unpleasant . . . as the God squad.

Source: Creation Simulation – WSJ.com

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