Darwin is a documentary feature about an isolated community at the end of a weathered road in Death Valley, California. Propelled from society by tragic turns, the people of Darwin (... See full summary »
The highly anticipated, comic and controversial feature documentary, "Flock of Dodos: the evolution-intelligent design circus," is the first feature film to take an even-handed look at the intelligent design vs. evolution clash that appeared on the covers of Time and Newsweek in 2005. Filmmaker, scientist, surfer and evolutionary biologist Dr. Randy Olson explores the controversy over the teaching of evolution and the recently developed alternative, intelligent design. Olson, a native of Kansas, visits his home state and the community of Dover, Pennsylvania, which attempted to introduce intelligent design in science classes. Olson draws on basic aspects of evolution as metaphors, including the extinct dodo, which he suggests symbolizes what happens to those unable to change with their environment. Featured are seven top advocates for intelligent design, including Dr. Michael Behe, author of "Darwin's Black Box," fourteen evolution Ph.D.'s, a poker game among eight evolutionists, a ... Written by
Watch either "Dodos" or "Expelled" if you do NOT want to learn much about Evolution or Intelligent Design.
Both movies are more about attitudes towards their respective theories rather than the merits of the theories themselves. "Expelled" argues that scientific communities act with the same partisan and even repressive behavior seen in almost every kind of community, and "Dodos" argues that anyone who questions Evolutionary theory is an idiot or a quack (albeit likable idiots and quacks).
And this utter lack of respect for it's opposing position is why I give this movie a low grade. It doesn't even pose provocative ideas (like Expelled), or a sense of humor (like a Michael Moore film).
Instead Dodos offers criticisms of ID that would easily be destroyed if posed to one of the various ID representatives the movie interviews. The scientists offered as friendly witnesses on the side of Darwin rarely if ever pose a scientific argument, and instead offer ad hominem attacks, and other examples of logical terrorism that should make any scientist ashamed.
But perhaps worst of all is the recommendation the movie makes to scientists in the following statement: "The bigger issue in this whole thing is who will be the voice not just of evolution, but of science in general. Is it going to be scientists who are handicapped by their blind obsession with the truth? Or will it be public relations firms that know the importance of a good story but feel no constraints by the truth?" This is not the kind of statement made by people assured of the merits of their argument; no, this kind of statement is made by one with blind faith who lacks confidence in their ability to persuade by reason.
Dodos argues that ID succeeds in the public arena because it tells a simple story, while the truth is much more complex. I would argue that the opposite is true. Evolution succeeds because it is such a simple explanation; ID succeeds when the simplicity of Evolutionary theory fails to account for the evidence. IDs biggest problem is that it's central argument (that there is a designer to life) opens up so many more questions that sticking to the simple "selection via random mutation" is often more attractive intellectually.
Dodos claims that scientists have good answers to the questions posed by ID, but those answers require time and a depth of knowledge to understand. Personally, I've tried to find those answers, but such responses will rarely convince anyone not already converted, and often are rebuttals to arguments no one is even making.
I will agree with Dodos about one thing: if champions of Neo-Darwinism hope to squash the "pseudoscience" of ID, they need to have a more compelling presence in the media. But when they lose the veneer of a "blind obsession with the truth", scientists lose all credibility.
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