Playing the game “Evolution” in a liberal church seems like a good thing to do, as a demonstration that we accept evolution in our churches.

What’s needed:

8-24 people (give or take); a pillow, chair, or other seat for each person; 30 to 90 minutes.

How to play:

Sit in a circle, on chairs or pillows or something to mark seats. The circle roughly constitutes an evolutionary ladder, rising from primitive organisms to more sophisticated organisms. Divide the circle into four roughly equal segments. The first section will contain primitive organisms; the second section, plants; the third section, herbivores; the fourth section, carnivores.

Within each section, each person chooses an appropriate organism, and then comes up with a simple motion to represent that organism (for example, the lowest organism, by tradition, is always Pond Scum; and the motion for Pond Scum is to hold your left hand out in front of you as if you were holding a cup with your fingers curled to touch your thumb, while above that hand and not quite touching you hold your right hand flat and palm down, moving it in a small circle over the left hand). Once you’ve gone all around the circle, go around again so everyone can try to remember all the organisms and their associated motions.

The highest organism always begins each round. Let’s say the highest organism is Human Being, motion: waving. So the person sitting in that seat would say something like, “Human Being [waving] loves Pond Scum [left hand circling over cupped right hand].” That means play goes to the person sitting in the Pond Scum seat. She might then say, “Pond Scum [left hand circling over cupped right hand] loves Redwood Tree [stands and raises hands over head].” Of course that means play goes to the person sitting in the Redwood Tree seat (which is in that second section of plants), and he might say, “Redwood Tree [stands and raises hands over head] loves Grizzly Bear [makes growly face and holds hands up like claws].” The play should proceed relatively quickly from person to person.

Now if anyone hesitates, or uses the wrong motion with the name of the organism, or says an organism that isn’t part of that particular game, or otherwise stumbles in the estimation of the other participants, then he or she must go to the bottom of the evolutionary ladder, taking the seat of Pond Scum. Which means that whoever is sitting in the Pond Scum seat then moves up one place on the evolutionary ladder, adopting the name and motion of the organism for that particular seat. And other people also move up until everyone below the person who made the mistake has taken a new seat. That concludes one round.

Whoever is sitting in the seat at the top of the evolutionary ladder commences the next round. Continue playing until bored.


Usually, you will want to send the play to people above you in the evolutionary ladder, because the only way you get to move is by getting one of them to make a mistake. However, it can also be effective to look at someone as if you’re going to send the play to them, but then name another organism — with the hope of faking them out so that they start to respond, which could be reason for the other players to send them to the bottom of the evolutionary ladder.


This game has no basis in actual biology at all. I mean, that should be obvious, but with all the misunderstanding the creationists have created over evolution, it seemed wisest to state it explicitly.

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