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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘Flock of Dodos’ takes lighthearted look at science

    The Loft Cinema, ever the entrepreneur, celebrated Darwin’s birthday Monday by participating in a mass screening of “”Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus.””

    Randy Olson narrates this documentary on the debate between evolution and intelligent design. School board arbitration on the issue in Kansas, where Olson grew up, spurred him to participate. Two battles were fought in Kansas over bringing in creationism, then intelligent design after creationism failed to be ratified.

    Supporters of intelligent design argue that some parts of evolution are correct, but there

    Flock of Dodos
    Rating: PG
    Length: 84 minutes

    are too many holes in the theory. Thus, because the world is so complex and full of

    unexplainable elements, there must be some greater power at work.

    Proponents of evolution are vehemently against that concept; just because there are gaps in our knowledge that haven’t been filled, they say, doesn’t mean they won’t be. Science doesn’t always have immediate answers, they say.

    Some of the documentary features Olson pointing out flaws in the scientists’ approach, including their lack of communication skills. They don’t know how to present the facts in quick, interesting “”sound bites,”” he shows. So, Olson uses quick light comedic animation to get debaters’ points across more simply. At times, he almost mocks the scientists for using too much jargon; when they use big words, he flashes a dictionary definition on the screen. Olson also uses dry, sarcastic dialogue running in the background to keep the mood from becoming too serious.

    Even though Olson has a background that favors evolution, the documentary doesn’t come off as horribly biased. (Many of the intelligent design supporters probably wouldn’t have signed on had that been the case.) He lets them slowly make fools of themselves without even realizing it. One staunch supporter admits that his background is only in chemistry; when Olson questions him, he can barely explain the fundamentals of biology. Olson lets the facts speak for themselves rather than interjecting too much commentary, a la Michael Moore.

    A question underlies the film: If evolution is so grounded in fact, why has the intelligent design crowd garnered so much success pushing its agenda? Olson attributes it to the amount of funding the intelligent design group has, such as PR firms who are better at providing talking points. But can putting a pretty enough bow on a package really be enough to trick people if there’s nothing inside of the box?

    Tracking down “”Flock of Dodos”” may be as difficult as finding facts in intelligent design. Currently, it doesn’t have a distributor, but once it does, the Loft said they hope to bring it back for more showings.

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