Pharyngula

The Discovery Institute is up to their usual shenanigans — they’re pushing another propaganda movie (say, whatever happened to their research program?), Darwin’s Dilemma. It’s complete nonsense.

This documentary will examine what many consider to be the most powerful refutation of Darwinian evolution–the Cambrian fossil record. Charles Darwin realized that the fossil evidence did not support his theory of gradual, step-by-step evolutionary development. He hoped that future generations of scientists would make the discoveries necessary to validate his ideas. Today, after more than 150 years of exploration fossil evidence of slow, incremental biological change has yet to be excavated. Instead, we find a picture of the rapid appearance of fully developed, complex organisms during the outset of the Cambrian geological era. Organisms that embody almost all of the major animal body plans that exist today. This remarkable explosion of life is best explained by the existence of a transcendent intelligence.

Wait, what? They’re planning to overstate the rapidity of the Cambrian, ignore the vast amounts of morphological change that has occurred in the half a billion years since, and do the usual stunt of waving away scientific explanations so they can claim creationism wins by default. An utterly worthless bit of hokum.

The real shame, though, is that they’ve landed a respectable venue for the premiere: The Sam Noble Museum of Natural History in Oklahoma. Well, it was respectable. This will put a little spot of schmutz on their glossy reputation, I fear. And they’re planning to turn it into a real kookfest, with both Jonathan Wells (whose book, Icons of Evolution, revealed that he was an ignorant maroon on the subject of the Cambrian) and Stephen Meyer, the philosopher-creationist with his own book on molecular biology (hah!) to peddle, there to lecture at the opening. I guess any clown can rent the integrity of the U of Oklahoma for a day.

So, where are the University of Oklahoma biology professors? Where is the staff of the museum? Where are the rational people of the state of Oklahoma? They should all be rising up in disgust to mock this ridiculous affair. At least they’ve got ERV to stick up for them.

I wonder if the Oklahoma legislature will try to censure the university for allowing religion on campus, as they did against Richard Dawkins?


In the department of NO-FRICKIN’-BIG-SURPRISE, the movie has two big name scientists in it, Simon Conway Morris and James Valentine…and their interviews were obtained under false pretenses. Of course. I wonder if there isn’t some universal law behind this, that every creationist movie is obligated to lie to some scientist somewhere to get their words on tape?