Just In Time For National Darwin Day

Ruzan Haruriunyan's picture

On Sunday February 11, at 2pm, the Exploratorium Film Program screens the documentary Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus by Randy Olson, Ph.D., a Harvard evolutionary ecologist who left academia to pursue making films on subjects of science. Here he tackles the current debate in the United States over intelligent design and looks at its place in science and in the classroom.

Exploratorium scientists will be on hand to facilitate discussions following the screening of the film. All films are included in the price of admission to the Exploratorium. Flock of Dodos will air at over 30 venues across the US in honor of National Darwin Day. Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus is the first feature-length documentary (84 min.) 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, the 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.

"It's a reflection of the current culture wars," Olson says. "It's the age-old split between science and religion, with a few new twists." Labelled by early audiences as "a polite Michael Moore," Olson challenges top advocates for intelligent design (including Dr. Michael Behe, author of Darwin's Black Box). With a sense of scientific inquiry, he tries to understand a movement that so misfired last year in Dover, PA, that a Republican, Bush-appointed judge labelled local efforts to teach intelligent design as "breathtaking inanity."

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. And unlike recent political rants, the film maintains an atmosphere of fairness, allowing audiences from both sides to watch it together. -- www.exploratorium.edu

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