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8:30 p.m., Thursday, May 17
Randy Olson — writer, director and star of this documentary — is a Harvard-educated scientist who was an evolutionary ecologist for 15 years before turning to filmmaking. In “Flock of Dodos,” an appealing and informative look at evolution vs. the notion of intelligent design, you can pretty well guess which side is the dodos.
Still, intelligent design proponents get a considerable amount of time to argue their case, which is that evolution can’t explain all of the various forms of life, that a Creator had to have designed things, as well.
Most of the film is shot in Olson’s native Kansas, where, until last fall, a fundamentalist majority on the state Board of Education held sway. For nearly seven years, the board denigrated evolution theory, making Kansas a laughingstock throughout the nation, maybe the world.
Olson interviews board members and other true believers … and then he points out the holes in their arguments. Many of the designs really aren’t all that intelligent, he notes, and, unlike evolution supported by considerable evidence, there is no scientific way to test intelligent design. It is, as a judge recently pointed out in Pennsylvania, “breathtaking inanity.”
The film, a Talking Evolution production exec produced by Steven Miller and Julie Janata, has its tongue in cheek much of the time but avoids being disrespectful. Just the opposite: Olson includes unflattering footage of condescending scientists and practically urges viewers to be nice to the intelligent design crowd because they are good people, just misguided. That’s an admirably tolerant approach.
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