‘Mys­te­ri­ous’ puts Dar­win on trial

The Washington Times Weekly - - Culture, Etc. -

Agroup of cre­ation­ists de­cided they’d choose a creative way to mark the 200th an­niver­sary of Charles Dar­win’s birth­day and the 150th an­niver­sary of his most fa­mous book, “On the Ori­gin of Species.”

Know­ing that pro-Dar­win fea­ture films — such as “Cre­ation” re­leased in Septem­ber in Lon­don — were in the mak­ing, the cre­ation­ists tapped the Birm­ing­ham, Ala.-based Er­win Broth­ers film­mak­ers to pro­duce an an­tiDar­win film to be re­leased close to Nov. 24, the 150th an­niver­sary date of the evo­lu­tion­ist’s book.

The film was geared to counter an ex­pected “un­prece­dented on­slaught of pro-evo­lu­tion­ary pro­pa­ganda as the ma­jor me­dia and leaders of academia heap praise on Charles Dar­win, the pa­tron saint of evo­lu­tion­ism,” ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Doug Phillips said.

It is called “The Mys­te­ri­ous Is­lands,” af­ter the Gala­pa­gos Is­lands off the coast of Ecuador, which Dar­win vis­ited as a 26year-old in 1835. That life-chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence led him to form his the­ory of evo­lu­tion.

“For the fol­low­ers of Charles Dar­win, the Gala­pa­gos ar­chi­pel­ago is the spir­i­tual home­land to their evo­lu­tion­ary faith,” Mr. Phillips said. “Our film — shot on ground zero of evo­lu­tion­ism — will be a coun­terof­fen­sive to the Dar­win adu­la­tion that blows holes in the con­clu­sions he formed while ob­serv­ing the won­der-filled crea­tures that in­habit the Gala­pa­gos Is­lands.”

The Gala­pa­gos is an Edenic place where many of the an­i­mals show no fear of hu­mans and where five ocean cur­rents merge. Mr. Phillips led a team of sci­en­tists — along with his 16-yearold son — there to de­ter­mine, he said, whether the place is an exhibit for evo­lu­tion or di­vine cre­ation. Al­though he re­fused to di­vulge the full cost of his project, just get­ting the per­mits to film there, he said, cost $10,000.

Be­ing that the team was made up of Chris­tians, the out­come of their trip was pre­or­dained. But it seemed a creative way to counter a pre­vail­ing ide­ol­ogy of our time by ac­tu­ally go­ing to its orig­i­nat­ing point. The film­mak­ers did a great job cap­tur­ing un­der­wa­ter photography of white-tip sharks, plus close-ups of salt-spit­ting lizards, blue-footed boo­bies and


flight­less cor­morants ac­com­pa­nied by a sus­pense­ful “Raiders of the Lost Ark”-style sound­track.

The film touches on the same crea­tures — such as finches — that Dar­win pro­filed but reaches dif­fer­ent con­clu­sions on how they came about. Dar­win thought that all life evolved from sim­ple or­gan­isms like seashells and that he knew the sci­en­tific mech­a­nism by which they did so.

The film ar­gued that new kinds of an­i­mals are not formed through mu­ta­tion nor the pass­ing of mil­lions of years but that in­for­ma­tion stored in an­i­mals’ genes — by God — al­lows them to adapt to dif­fer­ent cir­cum­stances.

One watches scenes from th­ese beau­ti­ful is­lands laced with fac­toids link­ing evo­lu­tion­ary the­ory to Adolf Hitler and Planned Par­ent­hood founder Mar­garet Sanger, who saw some races as be­ing more evolved than oth­ers — which led to se­lec­tive breed­ing, the “Aryan race” and the killing of 6 mil­lion Jews.

It was pointed out that sci­ence fic­tion writer H.G. Wells, who stud­ied un­der Dar­win dis­ci­ple T.H. Hux­ley, be­came an athe­ist when he ac­cepted evo­lu­tion, say­ing he could no longer be­lieve the book of Gen­e­sis. And if Gen­e­sis — which de­tails the cre­ation and fall of mankind — is in er­ror, so is the idea that hu­mans need a sav­ior to re­deem them from that fall.

“Dar­win’s think­ing was ex­pressly a re­jec­tion of the bib­li­cal Chris­tian ac­count of ori­gins,” Mr. Phillips said. “His work is based on the sur­vival of the fittest; that is, the sur­vival of races. It was ap­plied to so­cial the­ory and so­cial en­gi­neer­ing. If there is no tran­scen­dent God guid­ing the ori­gin of life, that has im­pli­ca­tions for ev­ery­thing.”

Ju­lia Duin can be reached at jduin@wash­ing­ton­times.com.


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