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May 3, 2006

Bird by bird

Sounds a little too even-handed for me, but could be the perfect movie for Henry Jordan, South Carolina’s wingnut candidate for lieutenant governor:

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The biologist in Randy Olson cringed at news reports of evangelical Christians challenging the teaching of evolution to schoolchildren in places such as Kansas on the grounds it was just a theory.
But the filmmaker in him feels just as strongly that scientists have done a lousy job explaining their side of the debate.
The result is “Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus,” a humorous and entertaining documentary that premiered at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival this week.
… The controversy is raging in America as intelligent design proponents face off in court with scientists who say evolution is supported by fossils and other evidence. So far, courts have struck down teaching intelligent design in science classrooms as a violation of the wall between church and state.
But Olson said scientists had squandered a winning hand through their inability or refusal to engage in the debate. He wants to show filmgoers there’s little scientific challenge to evolution, yet he also wants to entertain them.
… “Flock” injects interviews with Olson’s 82-year-old mother, Muffy “Moose” Olson, for comic relief and the neutral voice of the layperson, between serious interviews with evolutionist scientists, advocates of intelligent design and school board members in the battleground states of Pennsylvania and Kansas – which also just happens to be Olson’s home state.
Perhaps the brightest moments of the film come as Olson invites his academic pals to a poker game, recording an unscripted and at times tense round-table discussion among Ph.D-wielding scientists expressing frustration at the growing popularity of intelligent design.
Olson also shared his press briefing platform in New York with three actors in bright orange dodo costumes, modeled after cartoons that bridge different scenes of the movie.

Olson has a point about the failure of scientists to make the case for evolution, but on the other hand… how do you engage with people who believe their imaginary friend created Earth a few thousand years ago in six days flat? (Answer: the same way you engage with anyone who should be wearing a straitjacket.)

Full (and fair) review here.

Posted by Stephen at 8:42 PM in Evolution | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

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