Kickstarter Animation Project Looking For $27K To Produce More Of These Enjoyable, Accessible Videos About Evolution

Good stuff:

Bad stuff:

The team behind the above video works for a startup called Stated Clearly. You can find out more about the members and their goals here.

In a nutshell, their objective is to overcome the tendency of most people to “shut off” any learning and thinking about evolution. Stated Clearly identifies the three key factors in that popular rejection as a general lack of interest in science, the fact that evolution can be difficult to understand, and the perception that evolution is “offensive” (after all, some people get upset about being told we’re all related to monkeys, and many see evolution as a middle finger to religious beliefs).

The videos aim to address all of that. The accessibility of the four animated shorts the Stated Clearly team has already produced is beyond question — the gentle voiceovers, the droll little animated jokes, and the cleverly distilled-to-its-essence science are all designed to appeal to budding Darwin fans and longtime naysayers alike. Stated Clearly has plans to write and produce seventeen more videos, at a total cost of $27,000.

The company started raising the money through Kickstarter yesterday. This is what the team promises to do if the financial goal is met by December 20:

If your Festivus budget allows, consider kicking in some money in support of a smartenized, more rational world.

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder and Main Mischief Maker of Moral Compass, a site that pokes fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards.

  • Jon Peterson

    That “the bad” section doesn’t make it particularly apparent what it symbolizes. Especially coming from the Facebook auto-post, where it appears as if you’re about to highlight how this is all bad (the auto-post doesn’t indicate the presence of embedded videos or images, so it looks like a blank “Good Stuff” section and a brimming “Bad Stuff” section).

    It became apparent a couple paragraphs later that this article is in support of Stated Clearly, and their Kickstarter… but perhaps another heading to separate the main body of the article from the “Bad Stuff” section would be warranted (or a caption indicating that the image shows how much of an uphill battle these fellows will have to fight to gain support for their Kickstarter, and to gain an audience with their videos).

    • ShhhImReading

      I had the same perception.

  • Rain

    The animations aren’t that expensive and the audience is hip and knows that it’s easy to do those. The real life video segments were nice though.

  • Houndentenor

    What kind of “intelligent” designer has mammals eat and drink through the same opening that they breathe? That’s a pretty serious design flaw that leads to the death of many people. Please feel free to add your own design flaw. This is just one (and maybe not even the most serious one).

    • Feral Dog

      The vagus nerve- to simplify: one of its branches (recurrent laryngeal nerve) travels down into the chest, around an artery and then up into the throat, instead of simply branching off in the throat to the tissues it need to control.

      The human spine- many back problems are the direct result of a hasty jury-rigging for bipedalism.

  • guest

    I kinda wish the narrator toned down a bit the “perfect” diatribe a bit in his other videos though.

  • James

    The Author seems to have confused evolution with Mendelian breeding. There is great genetic diversity already present within each Kind, like shuffling cards and dealing out hands. If a light skinned and a dark skinned person have a tan child, did Evolution take place? No. Breeding will also only take you so far. You can breed dogs or guppies forever and get wonderful variations, but they will never be anything but dogs or guppies, etc. This has been researched intensively. There is a limit to how far you can get recombining existing genes. If you stop isolating the gene pools they quickly skew back to the median, such as when you have a melting pot of humans. Actual Evolution by point mutation would take far longer than the mere thousands of years the dog kind has differentiated through breeding. Mutations are by definition mistakes and are destructive. They are coming to be known as responsible for an increasing number of diseases besides the obvious known genetic ones. Surprisingly, they have been linked to increased susceptibility to Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, etc. If given the choice, would you rather your child receive pristine copies of your genes if possible or ones with GATC letters switched at random and hope they spell something useful in thousands of generations instead of something immediately detrimental?

    • Feral Dog

      If I could point out that Darwin was very upset that he couldn’t explain how the traits were inherited, and Gregor Mendel was quite pleased that he knew the answer (genes), that would be great. Yes, evolution has been researched so intensively that there are hundreds of new species of fruit flies and bacteria whose lineages can be traced back to their wild ancestor species.

      Dogs are mutant wolves; the majority of the mutations affecting them are harmless (or, because they are desirable to and therefore promoted by humans, beneficial- an example being their more docile and welcoming behavior and reduced body odor). Some dogs are actually an excellent example of what happens when terrible traits are allowed or even encouraged. Many of the harmful ones common to some breeds (or, if I may soapbox for a moment, are considered the most important trait of said breed) are directly linked to modern breeding practices, and the intense selection to create new breeds in the past 300 years have resulted in a bunch of medical train wrecks because we keep alive dogs that would have died left on their own due to their own deformity, or would have been killed if we couldn’t find a way to market it. To use a specific example, the English Bulldog is something evolution would never have produced. Any of the dozen or so debilitating medical conditions it has as defining breed characteristics (without getting into its other problems!) would have killed any wolf afflicted, most likely before it could ever reproduce. It only exists because humans go through extraordinary measures to breed an animal that can’t naturally mate or give birth and has small litters with an insanely high puppy mortality rate (Bulldog breeders regularly lose entire litters due to poor health), and typically dies at half the age of other dogs of similar size. In contrast, while the roaming packs of feral dogs in the Mediterranean and Middle East are riddled with parasites and environmental diseases, they are genetically quite healthy.

      Evolution (as any biologist or independent learner could tell you) works on populations, not individuals. A population needs a lot of variety, and that includes random mutations. There are a number of random mutations in humans that are helpful and useful- the ability to easily digest lactose into adulthood, for example, is a mutation mostly found in Europeans and Mongolians.