Monday Morning Skepticism.

After spending the better part of my weekend at work and subsequently feeling a bit vindictive I thought I would take this chance to take a jab at some of the anti-science garbage I’d seen a while back. Now I don’t usually like to rag on people for their beliefs as its a quick way to ensure that they never want to talk to you again. As long as you’re not doing any damage to anyone else I’m fine with you believing whatever you want, just be prepared to be bombarded if you ask me what I think 😉 Still I came across this particular video some time ago and I’ve used it mostly for comedic value amongst my scientifically inclined friends:

I’ll admit that my mind was completely in the gutter the entire time I saw the first video (thankyou sex-ed classes that used bananas as sub ins for male wedding tackle) and I didn’t really bother with anything more than sharing it around for a laugh. Interestingly enough I recently came across some evidence that showed that the video is not only hilarious for its unintended euphemisms but it is also based around some pretty glaring false pretences. Check out this article from Damn Interesting, a site renowned for its writings on all things cool and unusually fascinating:

The banana, however, is a freakish and fragile genetic mutant; one that has survived through the centuries due to the sustained application of selective breeding by diligent humans. Indeed, the “miraculous” banana is far from being a no-strings-attached gift from nature. Its cheerful appearance hides a fatal flaw— one that threatens its proud place in the grocery basket. The banana’s problem can be summed up in a single word: sex.

The banana plant is a hybrid, originating from the mismatched pairing of two South Asian wild plant species: Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. Between these two products of nature, the former produces unpalatable fruit flesh, and the latter is far too seedy for enjoyable consumption. Nonetheless, these closely related plants occasionally cross-pollinate and spawn seedlings which grow into sterile, half-breed banana plants. Some ten thousand years ago, early human experimenters noted that some of these hybridized Musa bore unexpectedly tasty, seedless fruit with an unheard-of yellowness and inexplicably amusing shape. They also proved an excellent source of carbohydrates and other important nutrients.

Indeed a quick google fact check shows up many sites showing the original wild bananas as chock full of seeds and would be considered unpalatable when compared to the seedless fruits we are accustomed to today. Whilst they were still considered a staple food for many cultures who inhabited their native areas it wasn’t until after significant amounts of artificial genetic engineering (yes, it can and has happened without a lab. Farmers do it all the time) that the banana shown in the video was in that form. So you see it wasn’t intelligent design or anything like that, it was us humans buggering around with a couple plants to make something we enjoyed more than nature gave us.

I shouldn’t be surprised though, people like the ones in the video aren’t renowned for doing their research on a topic before they start crafting their analogies. This is, of course, because they already know the answer to any question we may posit to them and therefore anything and everything becomes part of their body of evidence. This kind of thinking is what sickens me the most when I hear that creationism may be taught alongside science in some American schools. For creationism to even approach science they would have to be able to craft a testable hypothesis for any and all claims they may seek to make. Since they have yet to do that I won’t even do them the favour of relegating them to pseudo-science since nothing of what they do should ever have the word science associated with it.

Now you’ll excuse me while I get back to work, and subsequently fuel my vindictive mood futher 🙂

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