Carl Zimmer tells us that there are going to be showings of Randy Olson’s Flock of Dodos all across the country next week—do you know where your nearest exhibition will be going on? Here it is for us Minnesota people, along with a little rebuttal of a Discovery Institute hissy fit:
SCIENCE ON SCREEN
Bell Museum Auditorium
Thursdays at 7 p.m.
$7; $5 students, seniors and Bell Museum members
Each Thursday, the Bell Museum’s Science on Screen program presents topical films focusing on scientific research and related issues, personalities, and controversies.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Flock of Dodos **Twin Cities Premiere**
Filmmaker and evolutionary ecologist Randy Olson pokes fun at the battle between evolution and intelligent design. He travels to his home state of Kansas to consult his mother, Muffy Moose, and confronts her neighbor, a lawyer backing intelligent design.
I’ll be there! I’m joining in the discussion of the film (which I reviewed here)—let’s get lots of people there. Half the fun will be the conversation, I hope.
Carl points out something amusing, too. The Discovery Institute is feeling a bit cranky about Olson’s film, and they’re planning to try some counterprogramming, with some cheesy documentary starring John West and Jonathan Wells to be released on Darwin Day. I’m pre-emptively unimpressed. As we’ve been accustomed, they can’t help but lie, lie, lie in their announcement. Here’s an example.
According to the P-I article the films maker, oceanographer Randy Olson, started out really liking the work of Discovery, but only after we didn’t want to appear in his film did he resort to motive mongering and distorting our position on evolution. That’s one approach to getting interviews. If you don’t do this, I’ll make you look bad. And he tried to do just that.
Whoa…Randy Olson liked the work of the Discovery Institute? I’ve talked with Olson, and that certainly is a surprise. Like pretty much any credible, reasonably well-trained biologist, he thinks the DI is a collection of creationist phonies.
Hmmm…the DI says this interpretation is according to the Seattle PI. What does the article actually say? Would you be surprised to learn that the DI is making it up?
Evolutionary biologist turned filmmaker Randy Olson wishes his former colleagues were more like intelligent design proponents at the Discovery Institute in Seattle.
“I admire them for their communication skills,” Olson said recently. “It’s frustrating that the science world is so deeply stuck in the mud.”
Randy Olson thinks the creationists have done a better job of promoting their nonsense than the scientists have done promoting the real work; that is not the same as liking the DI. One of the themes of the movie is that the creationists have been effective in spreading their beliefs, and that skill is what he admires; their agenda, their honesty, their scientific rigor…not so much.
There’s more! The DI can’t help but flog a dead horse some more.
The main thing that Olson got wrong in his film Flock of Dodos is that he charges biologist Jonathan Wells with being a fraud for claiming that modern biology textbooks still include Ernst Haeckel’s faked drawings of embryos as evidence for Darwinian evolution. It’s been well-known for a century that Haeckel’s drawings are bogus. Olson doesn’t contest this. What he does contest is Wells’ claim that they are still in use in modern textbooks. It’s a silly assertion on Olson’s part since it is so easily proven to be wrong. We have shelves full of modern textbooks using the drawings, the sad fact being that the some are still in use in biology classes today. Olson knew this, but persists in making the claim, turning his flock of dodos into a hoax of dodos.
In my review, I mentioned that one of the more effective scenes in the movie was when John Calvert made exactly this same accusation, and Olson turned it around and asked him to show him an example from his library…and he couldn’t. The Discovery Institute can’t back up that assertion, either—I’ve got those textbooks, and I’ve looked. Most do not have Haeckel’s drawings, and those that do are using them as historical context, not as examples of contemporary science.
Poor, desperate, sad little creationists. Kick ’em while they’re down: go see Flock of Dodos next week.