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