Evolution Vs. ID

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Last night there was nothing good on, so I picked out a documentary from Netflix. My hubs is rather pleased that I'm displaying a propensity for documentaries as of late....

This one was called Flock of Dodos by Randy Olson. I hesitated just slightly when choosing it. Amazon has this description: In a light-hearted take on the culture wars, FLOCK OF DODOS tweaks egos and pokes fun at both sides in the evolution vs. intelligent design debate. Evolutionary biologist and filmmaker Dr. Randy Olson rides along with jargon-impaired scientists and jargon-rebranding intelligent designers as they engage in the comic theatrics that erupt wherever science and religion clash over the origins of life. From the shadowy, well-funded headquarters of the pro-intelligent design Discovery Institute in Seattle to the rarefied talk of Olson s science buddies around a late-night poker table, FLOCK OF DODOS lends a thoughtfully critical ear to the wonderful personalities and passions driving the Darwin wars.

By explaining the quirks of evolution with colorful visual aides while respectfully listening to people of faith, FLOCK OF DODOS is intelligently designed for popular appeal (VARIETY). And if you find it difficult to determine which side of the issue is the bigger flock of dodos, Olson offers up his 83-year-old mother, Muffy Moose, as the ultimate head dodo who provides the Rodney King perspective of can't we all just get along? This enlightened, fun film is a must-see for anyone who cares about the issues of our time.

I only got part way through it when I finished my laundry and decided that the previous nights 2am bedtime due to a frantic search throughout the household for a precious 'blankie' meant that I would watch the rest later and head my little self off to bed.

But back to my hesitation. Evolution/Creation has been a special interest of mine since mid highschool when I heard speaker Ron Carlson up at Fair Havens. I was around 16 years of age, impressionable, searching out my faith and Dr. Carlson's seminars made a huuuge impact on me. I spent many a bus ride to my full time job at Subway sandwiches post highschool, listening to his tapes and transcribing them so that I'd have all his information in written form. I relied heavily on his illustrations and proofs for an OAC geography class presentation that was supposed to be 20 minutes and ended up being twice that.
I didn't want to watch something that was going to attack my faith and beliefs and just distress me. By the end of the day, I need to de-stress. But I was interested to hear a more recent account of the arguments.

Not that I lost interest in the topic, but I haven't really been keeping up. I went away to school, got married, started having kids, kept on having kids, got more involved in music and here I am about 20 years after the erruption of that interest feeling like my news is old news. I started realizing this a couple years ago when I found a few Facebook groups on creation/evolution and was pretty lost. I mean, I barely passed math and science in highschool and took the 5 year B. Music degree partly because it meant I didn't need to have any more math or science. (Pathetic, I know). I've always been an average student and while my ability to understand logic and methods of argument is not stellar, I think I can get by. I realized though, that the illustrations and proofs of my highschool days were fodder for the birdcage now. Sneered at. Pretty much considered irrelevant.

I had heard something about Intelligent Design sometime over, oh, the last 10 years perhaps and thought it sounded like a theory a little closer to what I could stomach. I didn't do any research or reading into it however. I was too busy feeding little mouths, changing little diapers, etc...

I was rather proud of myself as I watched, that I could keep an open enough mind not to snatch up the remote and flick to another doc. I'll admit, I'm not used to watching/reading something of this nature that starts with a premise completely opposite from my worldview. (Of course, it could be argued that most of the primetime TV and movies I watch are produced by someone with a completely opposite worldview....still, they usually aren't actively trying to bring down my beliefs. Again, that's debatable).

It was definitely interesting. A particularly cringe-inducing moment for me was early on in the doc when they were discussing the whats and whys of ID. Where did it start? Who is a proponent? Why is it such a raving debate these days? How did it oust the traditional Creation/Evolution debate?
The doc producer/host was talking to many people, experts or not, to get this all important definition. A number of the speakers went at it from the perspective of un-intelligent design. We've probably all heard about the various parts of the body that are so awe-inspiring that scientists, if they're honest with themselves, don't know how they could have come about simply by evolution. The eye is a famous example. These un-intelligent design accusers were quick to dismiss these 'few' examples and jumped instead on aspects of man and beast that are simply bizarre. The first I remember was a cardiac specialist who told us that if he had designed the heart, he would have done it much more effectively than the "intelligent designer" did. And then another hombre extolled the ridiculousness of a rabbits digestive system. I didn't realize this, but apparently the little brown balls you see rabbits leaving hither and yon have already been down that road, if you get my drift. He was especially derisive towards the IDer which since that place in my beliefs is filled by GOD, I found especially offensive. Still, I kept watching. Me and my open mind.

I waited with bated breath when a couple of outspoken Christian members of the Kansas state board of education were interviewed. Were they going to be fairly represented? Ridiculed? I was fairly pleased to see that while it was an obvious effort for Mr. Olson, he didn't completely shudder in disbelief.

Ironically it was nearly at the stroke of 10:30 that Netflix had a little freak-out session and stopped playing the doc. As I transfered my piles of folded laundry to the baskets, James and I talked a bit about it. He and are on the same wavelength when it comes to the creation of the world and he had found it difficult to keep his opinions quiet as the film rolled.

I told him about how I feel quite inadequate to enter into the debate now. I had been burned a few years ago during a FB discussion with a girl I grew up with, now a teacher. This was when I first started to realize that all the cute illustrations I knew to prove creation and disprove evolution (the hurricane ripping through a junkyard one? Rolling a dice to see if you can get a 6 ten times in a row?) were passe. More recently, I was talking to a young mom (oooh, notice I don't put myself in that category? sigh) about how to explain dinosaurs to her young son. I got the distinct impression after I shared my thoughts--established at the end of highschool during that period of study, that it was all stuff she'd heard before, and it didn't really cut it.

Well, I never did get around to watching the rest of the doc. Nothing against it, just everytime I saw it sliding by on Netflix after that, there was just NO desire to finish watching it.

Interestingly though, I was at the OCHEC homeschooling conference last Friday. It was especially good this year (I'll post later perhaps all about that). There were two seminars in particular--and this is unusual, in 5 years, I've not seen seminars at OCHEC--about Darwin and Creationism. I discovered a wonderful organization called Answers in Genesis. I sat in their lecture about dinosaurs and got some really great information. Some was similar to what I learned 20 years ago, but much was new and ever so interesting.

Looking back at it all, I'm just rather touched that even without me asking, God provided answers to questions I didn't even realize I was asking. Hmm. :-)


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