Friday, October 8, 2010

Anti-Evolution TV Documentary Review

Before watching the 'documentary' I wrote down a list of things that I expected they would say, and ticked them off as they were mentioned. I wrote down 14 preconceptions, and 13 of them were confirmed rather strongly, they included things like 'cyclical change' and 'limit to variation', 'mutations can not produce new information', 'rapid deposition', 'Darwin was racist' and so on.

The title screen had a voice over that was asking the question "does his (Darwin) science still make sense?" but beside that, the Creationist slant was mostly absent in the beginning. It wasn't too long into the film that they started saying that there is a debate over the age of the earth today, and the first hints of 'flood geology' started appearing, with references to drowning animals and rapid deposition of sediments to create fossils. There was a recurring theme  throughout that "as science progresses, intriguing new possibilities are emerging that run contrary to Darwin's understanding", they were constantly trying to undermine his achievements by saying that we shouldn't judge him by the standards of modern science.

They were obsessed to the point of fanaticism over the influence the geologist Charles Lyell had on Darwin, and attempted refutations of uniformitarianism probably account for at least 10% of the content. They were presenting Darwin as a dogmatic uniformitarianist, and that he was "convinced Lyell was right", while getting Young-Earth geologists to spout nonsensical propaganda about single floods carving out entire valleys with constant references to catastrophic geological events like earthquakes.

The first mention of creationism itself came probably about halfway through the film, when they were trying to discredit speciation. They said that natural selection was conceived of by a creationist, and had one of their lackeys say that "nature has been created to modify itself". They had more propaganda about Darwin himself, implying that he was indoctrinated into evolution by the work of his grandfather and into "deep time" and uniformitarianism by reading Lyell's books, often saying things like "he had preconceived ideas" and that "he was convinced" to give the impression that Darwin was stubborn and unwilling to accept evidence to the contrary. In fact they even specifically said that he had observed evidence that contradicted his theories, but as usual, this went completely uncited.

In the last segment they were really trying to hit home the creationist view, with a false emphasis on the 'debate' over evolution, having creationists say things like the human body has a "perfect design". They framed Darwin as having an agenda saying that he just wanted to remove the bible from science. They were emphasising the "bedrock of the truth of Genesis" and spent several minutes just attacking scientific naturalism, portraying it as dogmatic and unscientific, which is rather ironic, coming from religious creationists. They mentioned that "Darwin's book avoided ... the origin of life itself" and they never once mentioned a single piece of evidence for evolution, and never showed his work in a favourable light at all. They had creationists frequently making claims that there is no evidence for evolution, which made it apparent that this film was simply a propaganda piece. They ended with someone saying that "Darwins theory is not about science it is about god".

I give this film 0/10, they were trying to hide their creationist view at the start, and gradually introduced it over the course, and focussed much more on undermining Darwin's methodology and character than on presenting his work. This just goes to show that CMI and creationists in general are bunch of disingenuous liars.


  1. Yep, just what one would expect... A liberal rant from someone who already had their mind made up.

    But for all the rhetoric, where are the "lies and deception"? Specifics would be good...

    Just because someone has a preconception about something doesn't automatically mean they're wrong. You mention 13 that you ticked off, but didn't actually specify the errors.

    You accuse the film of misrepresenting Darwin, yet you completely misrepresent the content of the doco. No mention of the fact that more than half of the interviewees were either recognised Darwin scholars or Evolutionists.

    The film made it clear that Darwin was influenced greatly by his Grandfather and Lyell. This is a very different from saying he was "indoctrinated".

    The film also never made the claim that Darwin was racist. It said that the views that Darwin published would be considered racist today (the dramatic pieces where quoted verbatim from Darwin's Beagle Journal). You wouldn't find a credible Darwin scholar that would disagree with that statement.

    And as for the evidence for evolution... If by evolution you mean the "theory that all living things have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form". Nope, still not one piece of empirical evidence to prove that yet. Truckloads of evidence for natural selection and adaptation of species to their environments. But that only results in a loss of genetic information, so an epic fail there as far as the GTOE is concerned. Yep, there are heaps of fossils, but still no verifiable "intermediate forms" showing the all important graduation from simple to complex (at least none that evolutionists aren't arguing about). You know the ones that Darwin expected to be found in abundance. But no, the fossil record shows an abundance of complexity right from the beginning. This becomes very tricky when some really 'old' fossils turn out to be virtually identical to creatures/organisms living today. Coelacanth or Wollemi pine anyone???

    And finally 'Scientific Naturalism' IS dogmatic and unscientific. It is the ruling paradigm that brooks no dissent and puts limits on it's sphere of investigation. It is the very anti-thesis of "following the data where it leads".

    Darwin had a big issues with God (witness his anguish over the death of his beloved daughter Annie) and tried to reconcile that by formulating a creation story that took the divine out of the picture. The science (so-called) has been and will always be secondary.

    Darwins theory is very much about God (or no God), which is why Richard Dawkins could claim the Darwin's writings allowed him to become a "intellectually fulfilled atheist".

    Intellectually fulfilled perhaps. Blind and foolish most certainly.

  2. I've since thrown out the list, but I had written down things like: emphasis on 'controversy' where there is none, not mentioning any of the evidence for evolution but highlighting what they consider lack of evidence, cyclical change, limits to variations, young earth propaganda, cataclysmic geology etc. Things like that.

    As for the racism thing, my whole point for mentioning that is that it's entirely irrelevant to whether evolution is true or not (it is). Mentioning something like that is simply a diversion.

    I'm sorry, I can't let you get away with lying like that. There is an abundance of evidence for evolution, and it's readily available to anyone willing to look. Have a look at, or if you're the reading type, pick up a copy of Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne, or The Greatest Show on Earth by Dawkins, they both articulate extremely well some of the evidence for evolution. If you're not the reading type there are a lot of videos on youtube where people are giving evidence often with animations or pictures. On top of that there are a lot of documentaries that are frequently on Animal Planet, National Geographic etc. that are about evolution.

    The Fossil record does NOT show an abundance of complexity right from the beginning, in Pre-Cambrian layers, the fossils found are extremely simple. Onto the Cambrian, the majority of organisms are exo-skeleton types, Trilobites for example. If you follow the fossil record chronologically, you see the number of body-types and variation within those types increase. It's a branching tree of life.

    There is a much better, simpler explanation why some organisms have undergone very little change in hundreds of millions of years, and fits perfectly well into an evolutionary model. These organisms successfully fill their own niche. That's it, no problem for evolution at all.

    So do you propose that Scientists go off accepting supernaturalistic theories of everything? What a joke. Naturalism is the only way progress is made. Next time you're sick go to a faith healer if you can't stand the scientific naturalism that brings you medicine. Not one single unsolved puzzle has ever been answered by discovering a supernatural source. Science looks for natural causes, and thus far has found one every single time without fail.

    Evolution is 100% science, it's not interested at all in debunking god.

  3. Evolution is 100% science, it's not interested at all in debunking god.

    ... Even if it was, that wouldn't make evolution any less factual. To claim otherwise is to commit the genetic fallacy ;)