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Monday, August 25, 2008

"Militant Atheists" Attack New Computer Game

Spore, an upcoming computer game from famed SimCity creator Will Wright, has come under fire for its focus on the origin of species, but the loudest complaints have come from an unexpected source—what Wright calls "militant atheists." The game tasks players with guiding the evolution of their own designed creature, from a single-celled organism to a sentient civilization, complete with buildings, armies, and its own religion, that then sets out to conquer the galaxy (think "panspermia," the idea that the "seeds" of life are everywhere and that microbes—or, some think, spores— from space are responsible for originating life on Earth and maybe other planets). While the game clearly accepts evolution as its underlying concept—which you'd think would draw harsh criticisms from religious groups—it's militant atheists, claims Wright, who have really been protesting. They feel, he says, that the game presents a case for intelligent design and are insulted that the game includes religion as an integral part of civilizations. Ironically, Wright himself claims to be an atheist, though he says he has attempted to leave his personal religious views out of the game. Spore is schedules to hit stores early next month. —Stephen Mapes