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Evolutionary Scientists Test-Drive Spore, Gripe 252

Posted by timothy
from the but-not-bitter-about-salaries-in-academia-no-sir dept.
ahab_2001 writes "The computer game Spore has been marketed partly as an experience that makes evolutionary biology come alive in a game setting. But does that claim hold water? To find out, John Bohannon, a correspondent for Science Magazine (writing as 'The Gonzo Scientist'), sat four card-carrying scientists, ranging from evolutionary biologist Niles Eldredge to JPL astrophysicist Miles Smith, down in front of a terminal to play the game. The upshot, says Bohannon: Spore flunks basic science, getting 'most of biology badly, needlessly, and often bizarrely wrong.'"
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Evolutionary Scientists Test-Drive Spore, Gripe

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  • Um, no duh. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Kral_Blbec (1201285) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @05:53PM (#25489285)

    I mean, I'd like to finish the game in less time than 1000000000000 years...

    • Reminds me... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Moraelin (679338) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @05:55PM (#25489307) Journal

      Reminds me of some decade ago or so, when someone warned that the stone age wasn't like in The Flintstones. I never would have guessed ;)

      • by Moraelin (679338) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @06:07PM (#25489509) Journal

        Actually, having RTFA, I stand corrected.

        I never paid much attention to they hype and went mostly by the criterion that I'd even buy Pee [penny-arcade.com] if it's Will Wright's anyway. Also, that it's just a game anyway.

        According to TFA, though, it sounds like EA's bulshitters... err... marketers have been shooting their mouth all over the place about how the game is an accurate representation of evolution, and how there's interest from colleges to use it to teach science. And while the former borders on fraud, the latter makes me cringe. As others have said, it's really an ID game, with some evolution language thrown in. The very idea of selling that as accurate science is ridiculous enough, but hyping it as a way to _teach_ evolution... is irresponsible at best.

        *Sigh* It's times like these that I see Bill Hicks's point about marketing...

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by yttrstein (891553)
          Only too true. Evolution, strictly (and even not so strictly) speaking does not exist in the game. Yes, it is possible to go through "versions" of a creature, but there is no motivation whatsoever--and in fact it makes the game harder, if you alter your beast with its environment in mind.

          It feels as you're playing it that it *wants* you to assume intelligent design. You're "designing" it, aren't you? And your designs are utterly unscientific and impractical, though terribly cute. And there's no explana
          • by BitZtream (692029) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @08:46PM (#25491531)

            Are you serious?

            You guys have taken a game ... thats it, nothing more than a game, that no one in their right mind would consider to be based on anything scientific or religous and turned it into an evolution versus intelligent design thing?

            For fucks sake, not everything is about advancing some agenda that you don't agree with. Put your damn tin foil hats back on and crawl back into your fucked up world of conspiracies instead of talking to those of us in the normal world.

            Its just a damn game, nothing more.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by T-Bone-T (1048702)

              You are overgeneralizing. It isn't just a game, it is a game about evolution thus the arguement of evolution vs ID.

            • by dangitman (862676) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @10:48PM (#25492617)
              Agenda or not, it was marketed as a game about evolution, but plays like a game about Intelligent Design. I think the comparison is very apt.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by bestiarosa (938309)

              The point is, it's been /marketed/ as sketching evolutionary law, which is not the case.
              This is not a case of bad game design (although it might be) but a case of misleading marketing.

            • Nobody said it was a good or a bad thing, simply that it isn't a game about "evolution" as the game has always claimed to be.

              Taking EA's claims and refuting them is perfectly legitimate.

              If a game came out claiming to be about Ghandi and it had him hacking kids' heads off in the temple, people would probably discuss how inaccurate that was too.

        • by ctaylor (160829) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @07:11PM (#25490439) Homepage

          it's really an ID game

          You mean like Doom or Quake? Wow. I'm a lot more interested in Spore now.

      • by aliquis (678370)

        Makes me remember, how I don't understand this "omg it would be like moving back into caves", I live in a cave damnit! Sure it may be made of concrete and have artifical lighting, still a fucking cave.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          You really should consider moving out of your Mom's basement and getting a place of your own.

          • by aliquis (678370)

            I've moved plenty of years ago, only home was more of a hut though (wooden house :D), this cave has multiple rooms!

        • So by your broad definition where exactly could we live that wouldn't be a cave?

          • by aliquis (678370)

            "Sleeping with the fishes", on the ground, on a branch in a tree, ..

            I don't see the problem with caves though, we seem to like them, natural or artificial doesn't matter.

            • Well yeah. Caves (or houses) put a roof over your head, and have walls to keep the wind out. What other environment does that for you?
    • by thepotoo (829391)
      You come from a place where the inbreeding coefficient is greater than 1, don't you? (That's a joke, BTW.)

      It would have been trivial to run a simplified simulation where you controlled a hundred or so different Mendelian alleles (no need for epistasis or anything), and acted as the force of mutation to guide your civilization as it progressed. You could accelerate the entire process so that you could complete the entire game in about an hour, but you'd lack the "look ma, I built a protozoa with a penis" e

    • Re:Um, no duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by vivin (671928) <vivin.paliath@gmaiLIONl.com minus cat> on Thursday October 23, 2008 @06:21PM (#25489723) Homepage Journal

      Well, I think the main point is that "Evolution" in spore is not driven by Natural Selection at all, but rather by the whims of the user, or at least changes are made in way that the user perceives will help them be successful in the game.

      If anything, Spore gets right (in a very broad definition of the term) the different possible eras of evolution. Cell to pack to tribe to city to space-faring civiliation. And that only parallels advanced intelligent civilizations.

      Some species have evolved so well to fit a niche (like Honeybees) that they haven't evolved that much.

      If anything, I would say that Spore is part of an experience that makes "Intelligent Design" come alive in a game setting! After all, it's the user who's "designing" the creature! ;)

      I wonder how that would be for marketingspeak!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Ah, and you don't understand evolution, either, because evolution has nothing to do with a hierarchy of progress. It's ridiculous to claim that we are "more evolved than honeybees"; it shows that you don't understand evolution.

        Evolution has no stages like "tribe" or "civilization". These are parts of human creation. Perhaps intelligent life forms may undergo similar stages. Perhaps they'll form differently based upon their behavioral characteristics. Either way, though, evolution has nothing to do with

  • ID (Score:3, Funny)

    by gad_zuki! (70830) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @05:55PM (#25489313)

    Its an intelligent design game marketed as a game about evolution. Must be selling like hotcakes in Kansas.

    • by conureman (748753)

      Don't the scientists gripe about that as well?

    • I agree, if the intelligent design folks get a hold of this Spore will become part of the classwork. I can see it now, in classrooms during I.D. class all of the kids will be playing Spore while the teacher talks about why evolution is a lie and dinosaurs didn't exist.
      • And before Spore there was EVO EVO [rpgclassics.com], which was also about intelligent design but was much more accurate as far as the tradeoffs of the features the player chose to evolve.

        It had the added bonus of Gaia [gamespot.com] being a hot naked chick.
    • by Empiric (675968)

      Fun questions for your false dichotomy...

      Which view uses the term "toolkit genes"? Which one validly can, logically?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by systemeng (998953)
      Nope! TFA says that they sent it to an intelligent design expert at Lehigh University who also didn't think it bore any resemblance to either intelligent design or evolution. Suckage from all accounts.
    • Re:ID (Score:5, Informative)

      by ianare (1132971) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @06:17PM (#25489661)
      Not even. FTFA :

      In the spirit of fairness, I had a copy of Spore sent to Michael Behe, an intelligent design advocate based at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. After playing Spore, he concluded that it "has nothing to do with real science or real evolution--neither Darwinian nor intelligent design."

      • Re:ID (Score:4, Insightful)

        by MindlessAutomata (1282944) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @11:15PM (#25492843)

        In seriousness, however, the reason it's not ID to Behe is probably because Jesus Christ himself isn't directly each and every creature in Spore.

        In true seriousness, why would sending something to Behe have to do with "fair"? That implies Behe's side deserves fair representation. In my books, cranks do not deserve representation until they have actual science to back their claims up.

        • Whereas in my world of free speech, everyone deserves air time for their beliefs and if they can't express them clearly or if they make no sense, then its their loss.

          If however your own beliefs can't stand up to someone else's being shared, maybe you should re-test your own.

          • Re:ID (Score:4, Interesting)

            by MindlessAutomata (1282944) on Friday October 24, 2008 @02:15AM (#25494337)

            Great! Free copies of Spore for everyone with a wacky view on how species came about! Whooo-hooo! That's what free speech is all about! I personally believe that species come about by mutating in nuclear waste instead of natural selection; I'm eagerly awaiting my copy! Though I might not install it with the DRM attached...

            Quit trying to karma whore by turning this into a free speech issue. That trick isn't working for the creationists and it's not going to work for you. Quite simply, Behe doesn't deserve a "fair and balanced" treatment because his views, under scrutiny, are not science and should not be treated as if they are a viable alternative view.

  • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @05:56PM (#25489329)

    Doesn't spore teach much much more about the idea of creationism (under the form of 'guided evolution') than it does about true evolution?

    If you want to teach about evolution, make an RTS where everyone starts out with the same units, but depending on how you use them (and which units come back alive) they change over time. Still guided evolution I guess, since you could put your units in situations that would produce traits that you desire, but at least a few steps up the ladder of scientific validity.

    • by euxneks (516538) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @06:18PM (#25489687)
      The problem with an evolution game is that it's completely non-interactive. At most you might be able to design the environment and maybe tweak a couple of universal constants but I doubt that there is really any game that could make evolution an engaging experience.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        SimLife did a pretty good job on that score. It doesn't have to be completely non-interactive; SimLife allowed you to tweak a huge number of universal variables, but also intervene directly and modify a creature's phenotype or genotype by hand.

        The way SimLife implemented it was by allowing creatures to undergo randomized minor mutations when breeding. If a subset of a creature's population got sufficiently different from the rest, it would be designated a new species (assuming there was an open slot for s

        • In fact, the very first "experiment" recommended by the SimLife manual involved using the "smite" button to promote evolution of a trait that wouldn't normally be selected for. You had two genetically compatible variants of a species. One variant turned relatively frequently and the other often walked in a straight line. You were then encouraged to smite any creature that turned too infrequently for your liking. After several generations, most of the creatures would be be turning frequently enough to av

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Boronx (228853)

            Latent is the wrong word for Sim Life genes since all organism were haploid. What really happened was that the genetic space was so small, turn frequency being determined by a variable with four or five possible values, that it was pretty likely you'd get whatever turn frequency you'd want in a few generations.

      • by ceoyoyo (59147)

        I'm not sure if you could hit store shelves engaging, but you could take a run at it by letting the player do things like toss comets at the planet to radically alter the environment, and have mini-games where creatures get caught in tide-pools, etc.

        I remember spending hours playing Conway's Game of Life.

    • Actually, that would be the discredited idea of Lamarckian evolution: in which body parts change to match the environment, and the children inherit the slightly improved body parts. E.g., that basically because Schwarzenegger had big muscles, his kids would automatically start with bigger muscles too.

      In TFA they claimed that that's the kind of evolution that Spore has, but you just made the point that, yeah, it's not even that. A creature in Spore may never use its +1 wings, and then get the +5 wings out of

      • Well, actually I was thinking something a little more than your typical RTS I guess. If you produce 50 of the same unit, some of them will be faster than others, some will do more damage, some have a longer range, some have more health, etc, etc. The units that survive would reproduce when they returned to base. Battles would be raised over the course of generations. Not necessarily human generations, your units could be some creature that procreates at a higher rate to make things more reasonable.

    • by bonch (38532) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @06:59PM (#25490273)

      My impression is that it's a freaking videogame and doesn't attempt to teach anything other than how to use sandbox editors to make spaceships and stuff. I'm surprised at all this discussion over what is merely a collection of clay editors.

    • by cbhacking (979169)

      Cool idea, but I think a better example of simulated evolution would be to have an sim-envirnoment game where you don't control the units. Instead, you control the terrain and other environmental factors (possibly including direct, but more likely indirect, control over creatures of other species). You control things like mutation rate by affecting radiation levels, environmental toxicity, and so forth (higher means more mutations, which is good for genetic diversity but also causes higher fatality rate). Y

  • by Gat0r30y (957941) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @05:56PM (#25489337) Homepage Journal
    But it is a user driven game, and natural selection takes too long. Its more fun to let the user make a creature which is not even remotely adapted to its environment and just pretend that selection pressures don't exist. Otherwise the likelyhood of getting a creature to the "tribe" level, or even just past the "cell" level aren't very good.
    • by thepotoo (829391)
      Sure, but it would have been nice (to me, as an evolutionary biology student and a gamer) if you'd had an increase in fitness with certain traits.

      The idea being that if you place flagella on the front and back of your creature, you have the same fitness as if you put the same two flagella on the front. It makes no sense.

      I would have liked this game a whole bunch more if it had been nothing but a bunch of quantitative genetics equations, and you'd had submissions like maximizing net effective population siz

      • by retchdog (1319261)

        I think that the problem of having a "game" with anything like an objective parametric solution is that it'll be discovered within a day or two by some hardcore player with the right skill-set; and then propagated over the internet. And then, *poof* it's not a game anymore; it's homework with an answer key.

        Of course you can challenge yourself to find it, but knowing full well that the answer is out there already? Not so appealing.

    • by Moraelin (679338) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @06:20PM (#25489705) Journal

      Well, the way I understand the point, though, it's not that the game _should_ be an accurate represetation of unguided evolution. It's that EA has marketed it as an accurate representation of evolution, and as a way to teach evolution. Clearly that claim doesn't match the game's content.

      And normally I'd have said the said you did. But if they made some very clear claims about the game, I think it's fair to judge it by those claims.

      I mean, for example, if UT claimed to be (among other things) an accurate flight simulator, it would be entirely fair to expect it to match that claim. After all, that's what their own marketers are telling you to use as your buying criterion.

      Way I can tell, that's what they do in TFA. They didn't just come out of nowhere with the idea that a game must be like evolution. (Which would be a silly expectation indeed.) But once EA claimed that it _is_ an accurate representation of evolution, and good enough to be used in colleges, well, the game is on. Let's see how true that statement is.

  • what do you expect?
    • what do you expect?

      Obviously what they expected was better evolutionary biology principles. Was that an unreasonable expectation? Well, yeah, and I bet they feel stupid for expecting that now, but hindsight is 20-20.

      • Yeah, well I found Hacker [wikipedia.org] to be a bit disappointing too, with regards to real hacking principles.

      • by thermian (1267986) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @06:13PM (#25489603)

        what do you expect?

        Obviously what they expected was better evolutionary biology principles. Was that an unreasonable expectation? Well, yeah, and I bet they feel stupid for expecting that now, but hindsight is 20-20.

        Speaking as someone who spent three years working in the field of evolutionary biology (from the standpoint of working on same with evolutionary algorithms), I can tell you that the reality of that subject, whilst scientifically fascinating, is about as entertaining as watching paint dry.

        You wouldn't want a game to follow scientifically realistic principles. For one thing doing so would involve including the possibility that it would go off on a tangent and fail. You don't want that, not in a game anyway, which means you have to add a lot of constraints, which in turn means a truly scientific approach is pretty much impossible.

        That said, I'm sure there is a lot that can be taken from the real science. Just don't ask a scientist to do the extraction, instead, ask an experienced game designer, someone who knows what a game would need.

        • You wouldn't want a game to follow scientifically realistic principles. For one thing doing so would involve including the possibility that it would go off on a tangent and fail.

          Actually, I think you could do it in an RTS, though you'd still have the standard RTS "everything but walking and fighting happens a zillion times faster" effect. The game would give randomized characteristics to your new units based on the ones you already have (natural variation with "inheritance"), and the higher a unit's level, the more likely its traits would be to pass on. Then depending on your play style, various traits would be more or less emphasized. For example, if you did a lot of hit-and-ru

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)

        I think it was an unreasonable expectation. I don't even know how one can make a game about natural selection / evolution. Once you put interactivity into it, either by changing the environment or changing the creature, it plays right into the hands of the principles of ID.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      It's not even a terminal game. No wonder he was disappointed.

  • In other news (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 23, 2008 @05:58PM (#25489377)
    War veterans said that standing near an exploding grenade in Call of Duty was not at all the same as the real thing.
    • If you read further down into the article, though, it still gave them nightmares for years afterwards. Sounds similar enough to me.
  • by philspear (1142299) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @05:59PM (#25489397)

    Since when do we have club cards?!?

  • Your doing it wrong.
  • That must be Will Wright's philosophy if he goes around saying stuff like this (from TFA):

    Last month in an hour-long show on the National Geographic channel, the game's creator, Will Wright, spoke with biologists about "the breakthrough science that's revealing the secret genetic machinery that shapes all life in the game Spore."

    And the author's writing style just hurts. Pretentious twit. And he keeps trying so hard to set up a false dichotomy between scientific and religious-minded players. Give it a rest. Stop trying to stir up controversy where there isn't any.

    And "The Gonzo Scientist?" Hunter S. Thompson would shoot himself if he saw that. Oh wait...

  • Swap (Score:2, Funny)

    by nlawalker (804108)

    In other news, gamers test-drive careers in evolutionary science and find them to be mind-numbingly boring.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 23, 2008 @06:12PM (#25489579)

    If you think this is bad you should read how those Air Force Missleares ripped the Missile Command developers.

    Totally unrealistic usage of the trackball for targeting, didn't require the appropriate 2 keys, and had a high score list in a totally different configuration than the actual high-score lists that appeared on official Strategic Air Command consoles.

  • Not too surprising. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @06:26PM (#25489793) Journal
    First off, the pithy one liner:

    Spore is Lamarkian evolution with hit points.

    Seriously, inheritance of acquired characteristics, "the complexifying force", "the adaptive force", it's all there. Compare this to Will Wright's much earlier Simlife, which is substantially oversimplified, for the sake of gameplay on the computers of 1992; but is actually a Darwinian evolution simulator game. Now, that said, that isn't an issue. Spore isn't required to be anything in particular. Some games rely on realism. Spore doesn't. Some rely on verisimilitude, Spore doesn't really do that either. Not a problem. Civilization II is a great game; but anybody who thinks that it is a civics lesson is mistaken. Nothing wrong with that. I just hope that the vague notion that "Spore is about evolution" doesn't give rise to yet more peculiar misunderstandings of the subject.


    Incidentally, and maybe this just makes me a bad person; but why does the Spore space stage have no concept of genocide? It keeps track of, and awards medals and stuff for, all kinds of weird things(OMG! painted 5 planets!). Why does neither the game, nor the AI races, react appropriately when I take my ship to their homeworld and suck up all its atmosphere, turning the ancestral home of their race into a barren rock, coated with bones and ashes? Shouldn't that deserve a message less generic than "You hurt our planet."?
    • Why does neither the game, nor the AI races, react appropriately when I take my ship to their homeworld and suck up all its atmosphere

      They're probably in disbelief that you managed to guess the code to the atmospheric shield.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        They're probably in disbelief that you managed to guess the code to the atmospheric shield.

        I have the same combination on my luggage!

    • by dangitman (862676)

      Why does neither the game, nor the AI races, react appropriately when I take my ship to their homeworld and suck up all its atmosphere, turning the ancestral home of their race into a barren rock, coated with bones and ashes? Shouldn't that deserve a message less generic than "You hurt our planet."?

      I'll hazard a guess: Spore is a craptacular game developed by hacks.

  • and I found it boring as a game. It felt like a same-old rts which made me stop playing once I got to the civilization stage. It's all so linear, I know you have a choice b/w herbivore/carnivore but the dynamics I thought were going to be involving your choice of what your organism looks like, behaves, etc. would drive your gaming experience. Now that would have appealed to gamers and scientists alike.
    I personally don't see what is so wrong with a critique of a game that claimed to give an experience of nat
  • by kellyb9 (954229) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @07:09PM (#25490409)
    EA needs to make their games more accurate. The game should take a few billion years to play.
  • Next you'll tell me that Hollywood movies and TV shows get history and other facts wrong?

    A video game is written to be enjoyed, not scientifically accurate, just as a movie or TV show was written to be enjoyed and not factual.

    It is like trying to criticize fiction for not being non-fiction.

    Video games have their own set of rules and laws, not necessarily the same as the reality universe laws and rules.

    I'm Orion Blastar a Space Pirate Ninja from 4096AD who time traveled back into the past to make a better fu

  • Where are the ads? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IronChef (164482) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @07:12PM (#25490447) Homepage

    The only Spore ads I saw were on TV and I don't remember them saying anything about its accuracy or educational value.

    So where exactly are the marketing materials that claim Spore is accurate and educational? If they exist, then yes, shame on EA.

    If they don't, then shame on whoever is trying to pick a fight.

  • Financial crisis and the inevitable increase in unemployment rates not to mention the drops in research investments has forced scientist to pick their backup jobs.

    "It's been tough", Niles Eldredge claims after admitting he now has to review games for a living. "At least the pay for an evolution game reviewer is much higher than such of an evolution biologist in America"

    "They asked for it!" an anonymous member of the Kansans school board couldn't hide how much he enjoys this. "At least my life will get mor

  • by jweller13 (1148823) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @08:05PM (#25491095)
    This game didn't live up to the years of incredible hype. It is really a very simple-minded game that I finished within a few hours. And it has virtually no replay value. Also it has not much to do with evolution. A decision to add two eyes on my ass or 5 eyes on long stalks on my head have absolutely no ramification on my survivability. And the character creator is interesting for about 5 minutes. Don't bother with this game, well maybe buy it for your 9 year old.
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @08:10PM (#25491151) Journal

    I get the feeling that Spore originally was meant to be more but Maxis has always had trouble delivering. SimCity of course were amazing games. For their time. It is the reason the francise died. Because as it aged, the graphics improved but the quality of the simulation didn't and we as players became aware that more was needed. More paths, more options, more choice. Instead SimCity and the likes have always had a rather narrow path to victory and if veered of that path, the game model couldn't cope.

    Spore is perhaps the greatest failure. It seems originally to have been a game about evolution or at least to use evolution.

    There have been games in this nature before, so it can be done. I remember an ancient game that used clay-motion animation for its creatures that allowed you to breed creatures and cull them to get the ones best suited to their enviroment.

    But there is NOTHING of that in this game. As the article mentions, antlers on your back help you charge skill. You charge backwards?

    There is just one TINY hint at the slightest possibilty of evolution, fruits. If you are small, you can only reach fallen fruit, if you are tall, you can get the highest fruits. There is no difference in the fruits but it is the one and only time the build of your creature seems to matter.

    The rest of the time, it just don't matter. You can't even make a monster eater with a dozen mouths that devours everything in its path, or a super defensive creature because multiple items don't stack their bonusses.

    The game just completly failed to live up to its early promises. I get the feeling Will Wright is following in Molyneux's footsteps. Once a person who made innovative and fun game but one who increasingly just can't deliver on his promises.

    To bad because a game that uses evolution to judge your creationism could be a lot of fun.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Paradoks (711398)
      Your post made me think about how Spore should have had multiple endings -- if it's about evolution, it should be about successfully having your creature survive, right? So why not have a creature that's really, really good at surviving at one level, but because it never developed brains/a spine/whatever, it doesn't go to the next level of the game, but still wins because it survives really well.

      But, eh, it's not as if many people in the Slashdot crowd were likely to buy the game in the first place, due
  • by CapnRob (137862) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @10:09PM (#25492295)

    My wife's lab - she's an evolutionary biologist, in a sense - gathered around Spore last week, and we all had a good laugh. Out of something like three master's students, three Ph.D. candidates, three Ph.D.s, and me, lowly MFA that I am, nobody could think of a single thing it did right in terms of actual evolution ... but, at the same time, it's so thoroughly, ludicrously wacko (all herbivores want to be friends with other species? Anyone who's ever seen a hippo in the wild wouldn't agree with that... ) that we agreed that it couldn't possibly help the ID folks, either. I mean ... would *they* want people to think that God sends piles of bones down to induce change in how well species dance?

    It's a Big Bucket of Fail on pretty much every level, no matter what direction you're coming from.

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