Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus (2006) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • 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 rabbit eating its own poop, and a flock of animated dodos playing poker, dancing, and helping the audience answer the question, "who really is the 'flock of dodos?'"

  • Though writer/director Randy Olson is a self-proclaimed evolutionist, this film truly does treat both sides of the issue with respect. Olson is from Kansas, where the Intelligent Design controversy was born, and interviews all the major names in Intelligent Design (John Calvert, Michael Behe, and Jack Cashill to name a few). The genius in Olson's movie is in never settling into a "PBS-style" science documentary. The frame of the film never gets weighted down by boring science lectures or obfuscating intellectuals. The film, instead, hangs it's hat on hilarious dodo animations, slick graphic sequences, and a humorous yet honest approach to the whole topic. "Flock of Dodos" will truly have people on both sides of the issue quoting the film in the theater lobby.

  • Filmmaker and evolutionary biologist Randy Olson tries to figure out if it is the Darwinists or Intelligent Design supporters who will become a flock of dodos.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus is the first feature length documentary (85 mins) to explore the Darwin vs. Intelligent Design controversy. Filmmaker/evolutionary ecologist/surfer Dr. Randy Olson pokes fun at both sides of this debate and eventually uses his own mother, Muffy Moose, to make sense out of the issue that both Time and Newsweek recently featured on their covers. He travels to his home state of Kansas, a top battle ground for evolution, where he sits down with his mother's neighbor, John Calvert, one of the top lawyers backing Intelligent Design, for a confrontation that leaves audiences squirming in their seats.

    School districts are now grappling with the new efforts to introduce Intelligent Design (ID), the movement evolutionists prefer to call, creationism in a cheap tuxedo. However, Olson, in a surprising turn given his evolution background, also paints an unflattering portrait of his fellow scientists. Pulling together eight evolutionists for a night of poker, he reveals them to be arrogant, condescending, and self-certain until they eventually turn on themselves in a spat that sounds like a flock of dodos.

    From the opening statistic (a pie chart in the form of an apple pie) the film provides equal amounts of laughter, guffaws, and eventually enough serious thought to prompt hours of discussion.

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