Pigeon chess

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"Pigeon chess" or "like playing chess with a pigeon"[note 1] is a figure of speech originating from a comment made in March 2005 on Amazon by Scott D. Weitzenhoffer[2] regarding Eugenie Scott's book Evolution vs. Creationism: An introduction:
Debating creationists on the topic of evolution is rather like trying to play chess with a pigeon — it knocks the pieces over, craps on the board, and flies back to its flock to claim victory.

As such "debating techniques" are not limited to creationists, the phrase has entered the general Internet lexicon,[3] together with the source quotation, which is sometimes cited as an anonymous "Internet law". The reference to creationists is usually replaced with whatever group the user is arguing with.

Andrew Schlafly was similarly described for his contributions to Usenet talk.origins in 2002:[4] "I tried it for a while, but arguing with Andy is like playing chess with a small child who doesn't know the rules."

The 2007 cartoon "King me!" by Rudis Muiznieks[5] uses a similar joke and has achieved some notice in the skepticsphere:[6]

(Above image copyright © 2007, Rudis Muiznieks. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License)

See also[edit]


  1. Not to be be confused with "Playing Checkers With Pigeons" appearing in a Sesame Street sketch from 1978.[1]

External links[edit]

Playing Chess With Pigeons - talk.origins veteran Troy Britain's blog


  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82Dkf_UH_aI
  2. http://www.amazon.com/review/R2367M3BJ05M82 - though a commenter there claims that they "came across it in 2001 attributed to 'anonymous/unknown.'"
  3. Obligatory Urban Dictionary entry for 'pigeon chess'
  4. Richard Carnes on talk.origins, March 15, 2002
  5. http://cectic.com/069
  6. http://old.richarddawkins.net/articles/2140-king-me