News! News! Darwin Outlasts Theory in 6-month Slugfest!!



Aaaaannnnnd, we're back. Thank you for tuning in.

Remember? Remember the brackets? The 2007 Science Spring Showdown? The phenomenon Rolling Stone said was summarized at this url"; the tournament ESPN: The Magazine hailed as "full of 64 teams and then some, as shown here!"; the event Larry King called "As good as Cocoon, and twice as young!"? Remember?

We didn't, but our readers sent us a note. So do some clicking on the header links, and catch up. Because our readership has tripled since the Showdown's start, all you upstarts will want to do some catching up.

Now, when the brackets first came out, Dave and I both looked at each other and said out loud, at the same time: Oh. My. Gosh. Do you see that?!

We did see that. We both saw the possibility that Darwin and Theory could possibly meet in the Round of Eight. It was one of the oft-seen cruel tournament jokes, the kind oddsmakers salivate over, the kind fans stake out eBay for, the kind science enthusiasts get out their back issues of Nature and Science for--the possibility that only one of these two vaunted teams could make it to the Final Four.

And so it came to be.

And, lo, it took a long time, as most fans expected.

The Darwin-Theory match-up came together when the tournament was working full steam ahead last Spring. One thing that we knew would happen, if it did come to pass (as it has) that Darwin and Theory would meet up in the Round of Eight, was that the game would take a looooooooooonnnnnggggggggg time. As it did.

So, a big pat on the back to Dave and I for the prediction. We knew it'd take a long time. So long that we forgot about it. Funny, that was one of the pulls our Advisory Board saw for the Tourney from the get-go: pacing and fidelity to reality and the likelihood that we would forget about it. They're always right.

Here we are, at the brink of the New Year, well into the next actual NCAA college basketball season, and Darwin and Theory finished up just a few weeks ago. They both had to look over their data and write up their game results before we could announce the winner. (That is, for those who weren't at the game we had to do this, and, given the time of the game, there was only one fan left in attendance. Yes, it was Jonathan Vos Post.)

But we announce those results today.

It was Darwin.

Darwin won. 13,623 to 12,914.

Darwin won.

Me? I wasn't surprised. I realize most of the bloggers probably are. They discuss Darwin as having provided the basic framework from which the next century and a half of biological work proceeded, but they don't seem to really like Darwin -- I just don't see any evidence at the blogs that folks find him compelling. (Look, there aren't even 1252 pages of post that refer to him. Only 1251.) Biology has grown and stretched and ached and shifted so much, these science bloggers seem to suggest, it doesn't really make any sense to say you're Darwinian.

But, as I stand here before you today, I stand for Darwin. I'll carry the torch if the rest of you aren't going to. And I'm happy - nay, proud! - to boast that I picked Darwin to go this far in the Showdown. I believe in him. I do. Not that I would say I "believe" in stuff. I've now learned from the sciencebloggers that we don't believe in things.

But anyway, I believe Dave owes me a hundred books for predicting this game. And I believe he'll owe me another hundred after Darwin mops the floor with Particle in the Final Four. Which also took place, incongruously, many months ago. Or so I believe.

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