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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. The pro-creationist reviewers of this book clearly demonstrate this to be true.

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.

Even the Bible advises against this sort of thing, in Proverbs 29:9: "If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest."

Andrew Schlafly was similarly described for his contributions to Usenet 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."

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]


  2. - 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, March 15, 2002