Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus (2006)
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Critic Reviews for Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus
Randy Olson, a fun-loving marine biologist and filmmaker, stings both sides of the intelligent design ruckus in Flock of Dodos a documentary that makes the controversy -- believe it or not -- really entertaining.
A mostly entertaining and always informative documentary on evolution versus the George W. Bush-approved "intelligent design".
If not broached further, evolution can be trivialized more and more, and folks who champion the fact of evolution will be as ancient as those who view the Earth as a flat surface, and we'd have no one to blame but ourselves...
Audience Reviews for Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus
In the end, there is a right or wrong issue at hand. Either there is evolution happening or there is not. I have to say, I've never seen any evidence that there's anything else. I'll just put that right out on the table. I believe in a divine entity, call it what you will, but all the evidence that we see around us shows evolution happening. The fossil record is part of it, but even things like antibiotic-resistant bacteria are evolution at work. I suspect someone who saw things from a different perspective would be giving this documentary a very different review, though I do like to think that it's as balanced as a documentary on this subject needs to be. He laid out the evidence, and it shows one thing and one thing only. So that's the controversy taught, right? Dr. Randy Olson was Steven Jay Gould's TA. Now, he is an evolutionary biologist and filmmaker who has produced a work about the "intelligent design" debate. (He leaves out my favourite bit, more on which anon.) He talks to as many people as he can from both sides, though no one from the Discovery Institute would talk to him. However, he talked to Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals, scientists and what they're now calling "design proponents." He works very hard to show where the arguments come from and why, and he also works pretty hard to show that the argument is badly handled on the science side and the science is badly handled on the ID side. He [i]likes[/i] the ID people he talks to; he really does. However, he generally finds them to be ignorant about most of the issues under discussion. Because, you see, they are. The film is good, but it's rather amateurish. For one thing, as Mrs. Nicholson would have told me had I put it into a speech, you're not going to convince anyone by calling them dodos, even if you're calling them [i]all[/i] dodos. The animation's a bit silly, too. I mean, I think it's trying to be, but I think it--and, sadly, the filmmaker's wacky mother--distracts from the broader story he's trying to tell. It also feels, I don't know, kind of like he's trying to stretch a film of not-quite-enough-material, even though [i]NOVA[/I] managed to make a lengthier film just covering the Dover case. I think he might be working too hard at being accessible. I want to talk, just for a minute, about the supplemental materials, which you know I don't usually do. And, indeed, I haven't gotten all the way through it. However, it does include a good series of possible educational materials, should a biology teacher choose to use it that way. (I do recommend it!) A teacher could make a very good week's worth of lessons here. Admittedly, a lot of people could see it as lazy, but I think watching half the film and then doing a Q&A session and so forth. There's good content here, even if the original movie isn't as good as some of the [i]NOVA[/i] stuff. It may, however, be easier for less-advanced biology and "life science" classes to comprehend. I will say that for the movie; indeed, that may well be my biggest problem with it. It [i]feels[/i] a bit oversimplified. Okay, my favourite ID story. In the infamous Dover, PA, case, the students were advised to look into a book called [i]On Pandas and People[/i]. The thing is, as was presented into evidence at the trial, the book had originally been written as a creationist text, back before teaching creation in the public schools had been declared unconstitutional. So "Intelligent Design" was invented. But that meant that the book was out of date and not legally permitted in the US public schools. So they went in and did a cut/paste. "Creationist" became "design proponent." But the cut/paste went wrong, you see, and "creationist," in many cases, became "cdesign proponentist." This is, obviously, the transitional form between the two.
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