Flock of Dodos

| 42 Comments

Update: Carl Zimmer reviews “Flock of Dodos”

Olson makes his point about the emptiness of Intelligent Design more effectively than a lot of scientists themselves have.

and additional links

Check out the Flock of Dodos website where filmmaker and marine biologist Randy Olson explores Intelligent Design versus evolution issues.

Various reviews are available online. And don’t miss the trailer which is quite funny.

  • Physorg, Science losing war over evolution
  • PZ Myer, The image of scientists

    Carl Zimmer reviews A Flock of Dodos, and also brings up that worrisome issue, the image of scientists in this country. Cosmic Variance is talking about image, too. Scientists get called “inarticulate”, “high-handed”, “stiff” and “arrogant”. “Arrogant” is terribly unfair as a criticism—a bit of arrogance is a virtue, and is exactly what you need in someone who is going to stick his neck out…and the creationists from Gish to Behe have possessed a superabundance of arrogance themselves.

  • Scientist Wednesday, Victories and Warnings for Evolution, Brendan Maher

    From the reviews and the short preview I saw on the web a while back, it has the style and flair of a Michael Moore piece – approaching sources with a friendly honest tone, but leaving them on camera just long enough to hang themselves. Indeed, this tactic works both ways, and the caricature of scientists he paints apparently places them in the ivory tower a bit. The characterization has stirred up some dust amongst scientist bloggers. Inarticulate and high-handed, their descriptions of real science can’t compete with IDers slick presentation of nonsense. Perhaps that explains the polls that say most Ohioans still want “controversy” in the curricula. ID is off most scientist’s radar, and if it doesn’t help one’s career to be able to explain science simply, many mightn’t bother, contends PZ Myers of Pharyngula.

  • Harvard University Gazette, Science losing war over evolution? by Alvin Powell
  • Lawrence Journal, ‘Dodos’ circling around I.D.: Film explores intelligent design-evolution ‘circus’, by Scott Rothschild
  • Kansas City Star, The dodos have come to Kansas: Filmmaker’s documentary a sold-out premiere in his hometown by Robert Butler
  • Bostonist, March of the Dodos, by C. Fernsebner
  • Washington Post, Kansas crowd flocks to ‘Dodo’ film on evolution, Reuters

    A sold-out crowd of about 300 attended the screening in Overland Park, Kansas, of “Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus.”

  • ABC News, Kansas crowd flocks to ‘Dodo’ film on evolution, Reuters

42 Comments

So, when’s it going to be screened in Ohio??? We’ve earned it, goshdarnit!

yeah, me wantee

LOL, that Bostonist link:

Olson’s documentary, Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus, aims to provoke discussion through the filmmaker’s encounters with inarticulate, media-shy evolutionary biologists and with advocates of intelligent design, a Totally Legitimate Scientific Theory that species were created miraculously appeared suddenly, designed by the Lord an intelligent entity with the power to do that kind of thing.

check out the website only if you’ve got active x, because the website was designed by a dodo.

The site works fine in Firefox.

Harvard biologist James J. McCarthy and New York Times science reporter Cornelia Dean will be on hand to spar with any Discovery Institute fellows or militant Pastafarians in attendance.

Militant pastafarians :-)

The site uses Macromedia flash

it works if you have active x turned on or Flash. Nobody should have active x turned on, because it enables such malicious activities by unscrupulous websites that some IT guys call it Hactive x. 99% of the time Flash is used to deliver distracting, annoying ads, so I don’t have it installed. Well-done Flash sites have a non-flash option.

Red State Rabble posted a review a couple of weeks ago.

Those there at Red State Rabble Wrote:

In another sequence, shot at John Calvert’s Lake Quivira home, we watch as Calvert, echoing an assertion in Jonathan Wells ID book, Icons of Evolution, claims that scientists lie to students about the evidence for evolution by continuing to publish Ernst Haeckel’s 19th century embryo drawings in biology textbooks even though they’ve been proven to be inaccurate, and, perhaps, faked.

Olson and Calvert then search for Haeckel’s embryo drawings in the biology textbooks in Calvert’s library, only to find that they aren’t there – except in one published way back in 1915. Calvert then admits that he’s never bothered to confirm that what Wells’ writes in Icons of Evolution is correct.

I certainly want to see this, although I’m a little leary about want sounds like it might be a wishy-washy “giving both sides their say” approach. But I should reserve judgment until I see the finished product; clearly the guy’s intentions are spot-on. Fortunately, living in New York City, I will probably have some chance to see it pretty soon.

Check out this hilarious bit in the Kansas City Star story linked above:

— …John Calvert, the retired Johnson County lawyer who runs the Intelligent Design Network and is a major figure in the documentary. Calvert, who has not seen the film but will be there Thursday, says he’s accustomed to being bashed by evolutionists and would be thrilled if “Flock of Dodos” allows ID supporters to clearly state their case.

“If Randy’s team participates in a fair contest and wins — well great,” Calvert said. “I guess I can retire then.” —-

This guy’s a regular Andy Kaufman.

For those of you who still have active x turned on, check out this bit from Wikipedia:

The embedding of COM into the Internet Explorer web browser (under the name of ActiveX) created a combination of problems that has led to an explosion of computer virus, trojan and spyware infections. These malware attacks mostly depend on ActiveX for their activation and propagation to other computers. Microsoft recognized the problem with ActiveX as far back as 1996 when Charles Fitzgerald, program manager of Microsoft’s Java team said “If you want security on the ‘Net’, unplug your computer. … We never made the claim up front that ActiveX is intrinsically secure.” [3] ActiveX as it is currently implemented is intrinsically insecure and is the biggest weakness of Internet Explorer not addressed by Windows XP Service Pack 2.

As COM and ActiveX components are run as native code on the user’s machine, there are no restrictions on what the code can do. Many of these problems have been addressed in platforms developed since COM such as the Java platform, and later by the .NET platform as well.

Well-done Flash sites have a non-flash option.

hmm. seems a bit of an contradiction.

TOTALLY OT:

not that I’m a spkokesperson for Macromedia (hmm, i guess i should say Adobe now), but there are things you can do in flash that would be damn near impossible to do any other way.

Hence, that’s why the ad community has glomed onto it so ubiquitously.

One of the companies i used to work for did 90% of our work for our clients in flash (and that included sites that got some serious traffic, like nsync.com).

I personally quite like designing sites in flash; adds a lot of functionality and motion that requires pages and pages of javascript or .net applications to attempt to duplicate.

also, while Steve is quite correct to state that ACtive X has vulnerabilities, completely turning it off will break quite a few sites.

It’s always best to make sure you have updated anti-virus and anti-spyware software running at all times, preferably behind a decent firewall to boot.

It’s pretty rare (once in 5 years) that anything has managed to get thru that on my machine, and the thing that did was totally my fault anyway, and had nothing to do with an active X exploit.

anywho, just two cents to add to steve’s comments.

ack. i meant to say NOT a spokesperson for macromedia.

ugh. missed that even in the preview.

oh, i totally think it’s unfortunate that it’s more beneficial for me to turn off flash completely than to suffer through 4 flashing blinking ads while I’m trying to read a page of text, but it’s worth it to me. there’s a very good extension called flashblock which hides flash unless you deliberately click on it. I should install that and flash. HacktiveX though is a horrible, stupid thing, and I won’t abide it.

there’s a very good extension called flashblock

that sounds like a good idea.

if you find it, give us a link?

On a similar note, the Feb 6 copy of Newsweek has an article about how some conservative schools have been spending a lot of effort training students in debate. The students were saying that they wanted to do things like make abortion illegal in the US. No doubt those debaters will end up arguing for Intelligent Design as well. I guess that’s how the battlelines are being drawn: scientists spending time studying biology and figuring out how things actually work, conservatives not bothering to learn the facts except to the extent that it reinforces their rhetorical arguments.

Cut, Thrust and Christ Why evangelicals are mastering the art of college debate. Feb. 6, 2006 issue - When you believe the end of the world is coming, you learn to talk fast. On a Friday afternoon the debate team from Liberty University, Jerry Falwell’s fundamentalist Baptist college, is madly rehearsing for the tournament about to begin … The Liberty team is currently ranked No. 1 in the country, above Harvard (14th) and all the other big names … Seventy-five percent of Liberty’s debaters go on to be lawyers with an eye toward transforming society. “I think I can make an impact in the field of law on abortion and gay rights, to get back to Americans’ godly heritage,” says freshman debater Cole Bender. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/1107888[…]te/newsweek/

How sad.

Ed Brayton has already dissected the “Liberty U. Debate Team is #1” thing. It turns out that one can balloon one’s rank by going to a bunch of debate tournaments with low-ranked teams, and that, by the way, is just what the schedule of tournaments for the Liberty U. team looks like.

Your trackback addresses aren’t working.

http://degas.fdisk.net/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/2009

returns

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DaveScot,

Our trackbacks work fine, you just have no idea how they work. If you read the trackback spec, you will see that trackback urls are not designed to be accessed from a normal browser. That is why they are not hyperlinked. The error you get is the expected behavior since your browser is not posting any information to our webserver upon accessing the url. (You should have made an attempt to understand the actual error message.) If you want to send us a trackback, you need to do it via an application that is trackback aware. Most blog administration interfaces can do this if you give them the trackback url.

I would be very interested to see what Calvert looked like when he discovered Wells’ claim wasn’t quite as accurate as what he thought…

Liberty University students are the MASTER deBATERS!

If evolutionary theory isn’t accepted in America because scientists aren’t doing their job, why is it so commonly accepted in European countries?

(Here’s a hint: European countries are far, far less religious than America is. And that’s including Italy, home of Vatican City.)

hi,i take it you morons love a good fairy tale’once upon a time,mommy nature came to life,became a missing link.then a real live boy.you might want to read pinocchio.it sounds much more scientific.’once upon a time,a dead chunk of wood came to life,became a talking puppet,then a real live boy.i bet your nose is a whopper.ha ha ha.the joker

Comment #79592

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 13, 2006 10:14 PM (e)

there’s a very good extension called flashblock

that sounds like a good idea.

if you find it, give us a link?

They have this thing called ‘google’…

hey,i hear santa has been spotted at the north pole.you might want to hurry down and give him your christmas list.oh thats right.you fools dont have any holidays.well since the bible calls you a fool.im going to let you and your buddies have april fools day from now on,just for your very own holiday. from now on just call april first.the national holiday for atheists.

hi,its me again your popeship.have a few jokes for you.why do atheists believe one specie can evolve into another-it worked for pinocchio.why do atheists believe dead matter can come alive-it worked for the phoenix.why do atheists still believe in the spontaneous combustion even though it has no science to back it up-are you kidding.we hear spontaneous combustion at taco bell constantly.ha ha ha.see ya moron.im done.

I certainly want to see this, although I’m a little leary about what sounds like it might be a wishy-washy “giving both sides their say” approach.

I’ve seen it. Olson comes to the conclusion that the IDC side is well-funded, adept at PR, and unconstrained by the truth; meanwhile the evolutionary biologists are not very good at getting their message out. Thought-provoking. Meant to be entertaining as well informative, so it does not go into boring depth. Lively pacing. The graphics look fairly low budget, but since they’re filling in the story instead of driving hte movie that’s not a serious problem.

Olson does challenge the IDC supporters in some scenes, such as the one with Calvert over Haeckel’s embryos, and another one with a school official in Dover over Mt. Rushmore and its designer. There are other scenes where Olson does not challenge the IDC statements. He has quite a bit of footage of Behe, with his mousetraps and pictures of Mt. Rushmore, and doesn’t do much to point out how silly it is.

In one scene, Jack Cashill (Kansas) states that the IDC movement is being run behind the scenes by jews, muslims, and agnostics; along with other outrageous comments, and Olson gives him a free ride. (Is the audience supposed to recognize the lies by themselves?)

Late in the movie, Olson draws the connection to the various locales and events he’s been following and the Discovery Institute. He mentions their funding, the Wedge Document, their swift boat PR company, and the fact that they refuse his requests for interviews.

Having been plugged into the Thumb for a while, I was able to recognize various things that were said and that weren’t. I don’t know how much of that will come across to an uninformed member of the general public.

There’s one good sequence where Steve Case points out that the ‘God of the Gaps’ theology of IDC sets students up for either anti-intellectualism or a crisis of faith, but that’s only one sequence that is not reitereated.

In one scene, Jack Cashill (Kansas) states that the IDC movement is being run behind the scenes by jews, muslims, and agnostics

Surely you (or Cashill?) mean “the Darwinist conspiracy”, not the IDC movement, no?

Surely you (or Cashill?) mean “the Darwinist conspiracy”, not the IDC movement, no?

I wrote that accurately. As to what Cashill meant, and how serious he was, I have no way of knowing. The movie presented him as an IDC proponent.

Cashill has a web site in case you want to check out his writing. Here’s his articles on IDC. I haven’t read them in-depth, the stench prevented me from taking more than a quick glance.

ivy privy Wrote:

There are other scenes where Olson does not challenge the IDC statements. He has quite a bit of footage of Behe, with his mousetraps and pictures of Mt. Rushmore, and doesn’t do much to point out how silly it is.

In one scene, Jack Cashill (Kansas) states that the IDC movement is being run behind the scenes by jews, muslims, and agnostics; along with other outrageous comments, and Olson gives him a free ride. (Is the audience supposed to recognize the lies by themselves?)

Late in the movie, Olson draws the connection to the various locales and events he’s been following and the Discovery Institute. He mentions their funding, the Wedge Document, their swift boat PR company, and the fact that they refuse his requests for interviews.

It sounds to me like he is expecting some things to speak for themselves. Unfortunately, I think he overestimates a lot of potential viewers. The same people who cling to obsolete religious ideas like creationism will probably also cling to any claim that isn’t thoroughly and repeatedly refuted.

When you think about it, the ID crowd has it pretty easy. One hundred percent of their budget can go to PR. None of it has to go for research.

Those of us who have done research most of our lives have to deal with one hundred percent overhead costs, insufficient amounts for the research, with no PR money allowed. We may get some money to get research results published in peer-review journals or presented at conferences. Then there are the 12 to 18 hour days every day in the lab, or writing up results and going after new funding. None of the ID crowd has to do any of this.

The public is not familiar with the intense critiques that go on in the scientific community and are uncomfortable with it when they witness it. ID promoters put on a pretty face, smile a lot, and hand out candy-coated crap. Their public loves it and thinks that scientists are jealous, crabby, negative-thinking defenders of their precious territory.

Some of us do come across as being very unpleasant in public, and we need to be careful. The intense love and interest most of us have for our field doesn’t necessarily come across that way when we see something stupid being pawned off on unsuspecting citizens.

The same people who cling to obsolete religious ideas like creationism will probably also cling to any claim that isn’t thoroughly and repeatedly refuted.

You mean, like a global flood?

Well, Flint, of course there are some who will cling even to claims that have been thoroughly and repeatedly refuted. I mean to distinguish them from those who are ignorant but teachable (clinging in response to scare tactics). It might be helpful for those people if the film at least briefly covered the silliness of Behe’s arguments. It sounds like Cashill just comes across as a raving loon, but Behe is probably more sympathetic.

Caledonian wrote:

(Here’s a hint: European countries are far, far less religious than America is. And that’s including Italy, home of Vatican City.)

Do you mean “less religious,” or “less inflexible?” There is a difference. I know people who are very religious, but are able to process new and/or complex information without blowing any gaskets.

It’s interesting to see how quickly one distortion feeds on another.

Ivy Privy wrote, “In one scene, Jack Cashill (Kansas) states that the IDC movement is being run behind the scenes by jews, muslims, and agnostics …”

Let’s get the truth out here. In the film, Jack Cashill actually said that there are Jews, Muslims and agnostics in the movement. “run behind the scenes” is not accurate and is, itself, outrageous.

If you want to know what Cashill has to say, see http://www.cashill.com/intellig_design/index.htm

Reed wrote:

“DaveScot,

Our trackbacks work fine, you just have no idea how they work.”

And on the minitrue site of UD Dave has removed his original post boasting of his knowledge of computing compared to Wesley’s. He’s still claiming that there was a problem with PT’s trackback’s while implicitly admitting that he goofed. What a loser.

efsteel Wrote:

hi,i take it you morons love a good fairy tale’once upon a time,mommy nature came to life,became a missing link.then a real live boy.you might want to read pinocchio.it sounds much more scientific.’once upon a time,a dead chunk of wood came to life,became a talking puppet,then a real live boy.i bet your nose is a whopper.ha ha ha.the joker

efsteel Wrote:

hey,i hear santa has been spotted at the north pole.you might want to hurry down and give him your christmas list.oh thats right.you fools dont have any holidays.well since the bible calls you a fool.im going to let you and your buddies have april fools day from now on,just for your very own holiday. from now on just call april first.the national holiday for atheists.

efsteel Wrote:

hi,its me again your popeship.have a few jokes for you.why do atheists believe one specie can evolve into another-it worked for pinocchio.why do atheists believe dead matter can come alive-it worked for the phoenix.why do atheists still believe in the spontaneous combustion even though it has no science to back it up-are you kidding.we hear spontaneous combustion at taco bell constantly.ha ha ha.see ya moron.im done.

Well, I think we have a winner for “most amusingly stereotypical troll of the year”.

Speaking as in my role as an atheist rather than as an evolution supporter (and I apologise to the theists present), here’s a fairy tale for the troll. Once upon a time there was a God who was completely benevolent, all-powerful and all-knowing, and He expressed this by creating a universe in which horrible things would be done to innocent people. Of course, being as He was completely honest, He created the universe in such a way that a detailed examination would lead inevitably to the conclusion that no God was in any way necessary for almost all of it.

Then this incorporeal God had it off with a random virgin and proceeded to have the resultant offspring tortured to death in the name of His mercy. And to this day He’s completely merciful and benign. Unless of course you follow the evidence, in which case you’ll burn forever in the fires of Hell, despite His great love for you and His ultimate power.

Compared to that, even quantum mechanics* looks logical.

* Anyone can explain Clebsch-Gordan coefficients to me, I owe that person a beer.

Gold Shawl: I can’t make any sense of the Cashill quote either. But your link doesn’t help; it’s broken.

Gold Shawl’s link is working now, but it doesn’t help. Ivy Privy told us what Cashill said in “Flock of Dodos”, but the link just leads to Cashill’s website, on which there’s no mention of the film.

Let’s get the truth out here. In the film, Jack Cashill actually said that there are Jews, Muslims and agnostics in the movement. “run behind the scenes” is not accurate and is, itself, outrageous.

Got a transcript? I viewed the movie just two days prior to posting that comment, and Cashill’s comments were outrageous enough that I asked Randy Olson, who was also in attendance, about them.

this not dodos

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PvM published on February 13, 2006 9:29 PM.

Nobel Laureate: “Intelligent Design” is An Attack on All of Science was the previous entry in this blog.

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