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Arts and Culture

Godless Darwin Movie Too Sciency for God-Loving America

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Posted on Sep 13, 2009
chimpanzee
Flickr / Rennet Stowe

Humans and chimpanzees share about 98 percent of their DNA. Blasphemy!

Let’s get something straight, America. Charles Darwin was right. Only 39 percent of you believe that, but his theory of evolution is the basis of modern biological science. Deal with it. A new film about the man can’t get distribution in the U.S. because—this is embarrassing just to type—150 years after “On the Origin of Species,” he’s too controversial in these parts.  —PS

Telegraph:

The film was chosen to open the Toronto Film Festival and has its British premiere on Sunday. It has been sold in almost every territory around the world, from Australia to Scandinavia.

However, US distributors have resolutely passed on a film which will prove hugely divisive in a country where, according to a Gallup poll conducted in February, only 39 per cent of Americans believe in the theory of evolution.

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By Robert Mendez, September 14, 2009 at 9:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Those who wish to know why this is happening, will find comfort in reading a most uncomfortable reckoning on why our world seems to be crumbling.  If you thought that everyone was awake and conscious, read George Lakoff’s “The Political Mind” which describes how the mind and brain work and why the media and a handful of smart spin doctors are able to pit science against the mindless who proliferate regardless of what the facts say.

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By Jean Gerard, September 14, 2009 at 9:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chaotic Good:  Go to jeangerard.com and click on “Simian’s Skyhook”.

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By StuartH, September 14, 2009 at 9:17 am Link to this comment

It makes no sense that Christians should even care to comment on Darwin, the origin of species, evolution or anything related.  The Bible was collected into its present form 1700 years ago, well before any discussions of modern science began. 

Scientists who are religious say that studying physics, biology, astronomy and the other disciplines enhances their belief in some force at work in the universe that is behind the natural order, the systems, the measurable phenomena. 

We have limited brains.  We can’t, for instance, see ultra violet light.  The part of the electromagnetic spectrum we can see or hear is extremely small. 

It seems the height of hubris to limit the universe to our own narrow abilities. 

Why does Christianity seem, in an era of scientific excellence and worldwide knowledge expansion, dedicated to being so ill-mannered and interested in dragging everyone backwards?  This isn’t coming from Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Taoists or indigenous practitioners. 

There is a lot that some Christians, mostly the evangelical sects, seem to be promoting that really doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the Bible, but really is an attempt to control the thoughts and actions of others by using religion as some kind of trump card. 

The underlying premise seems to be that in order for evangelical Christianity to flourish, society has to be influenced to move backwards in all areas.  It isn’t just about Darwin. 

It is fear of the future, a sense of discomfort at the pace of change, and dismay at the challenge represented by having to live in an increasingly complex world.

Seems like it would be better to put the time and energy into demanding better schools, especially in rural areas.

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By Ben, September 14, 2009 at 8:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Anti-science, anti-knowledge, dark ages idiots.  We should prescribe them leeches when they get cancer.

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By Jill, September 14, 2009 at 8:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Only 39% BELIEVE the theory of evolution. Theory? Not. Truth yes. Jesus was just some guy that lived 2000 years ago. He was likely a whack job or magician that people made up stories about to set good examples. 2000 years later (despite all the proof) a majority of people still think that he is the son of a god that equally doesn’t exist. But they cant believe they are part of evolution. They cant continue to evolve for the better because of that would mean they should face their own mortality. So instead they force the rest of humanity to stop evolving and stop us from learning about the truth.

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By h, September 14, 2009 at 8:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

jbowman, DFC is simply drawing a distinction between religion, which is some supernatural thing you believe in, have faith in, without any facts or evidence, versus science, which is based on observations, facts and evidence.  In a strong sense, you don’t “believe” in science, you do it.  You study the natural world, measure it, form hypotheses about what might be going on, and test your conclusions with experiments and further observations.  Science is the very essence of being part of and immersed in this natural universe of ours.  If we can’t trust our senses, then what can we trust?  Everything is meaningless, baseless, without science.  It’s just not the sort of thing you “believe” in.  Science is how we understand the world around us, the real world, what happens out there, that we can see, hear, smell, feel, taste and measure with instruments far more sensitive than ours.  If we don’t “believe” in what we observe, then what sense is there in anything?

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By Jim Yell, September 14, 2009 at 8:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

On PBS I started to watch and do watch the foreign detective shows from France, Germany, Italy and so on, which I enjoy except for one frusterating thing.

That thing is be it a bronze nude garden sculpture, a beau arts doorway with nudes, every hint of the human body is covered with a blurry patch. I like to tell myself this was added years and years ago and paying for these to show is cheaper than a pristine copy. Perhaps, but now we find we are being blocked from seeing a movie about Darwin.

The really crazy religiously afflicted segment of the population is actually probably not greater than the part of the population that are complete free thinkers and yet that seems to be enough to block a movie to be viewed by a large, but not necessarily huge audience. But, the really outrageous thing is probably the largest part of the population will swing to which ever side makes the most noise. I guess they would rather be seen to be ignorant than to be different?

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By anonymous, September 14, 2009 at 7:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

this is how censorship works in a capitalist-democratic system. read manufacturing consent.

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By shemp333, September 14, 2009 at 6:18 am Link to this comment

Here’s a really cool website explaining one of the more recent, and possibly most exciting ever fossil finds!

http://www.revealingthelink.com

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By stcfarms, September 14, 2009 at 5:45 am Link to this comment

You would be closer than the rest of us to the great apes,
you lack the glial cells that are essential to conceptual
thought. It is a ‘theory’ in name only, it is a fact.

By christian96, September 14 at 8:19 am #

To those individuals with reading problems—-My
basic premise was that “scientific research and
statistical analysis” is the basis for modern
biological science not the theory of evolution,
whatever that is.  When talking about “theory of
evolution” please be more specific since that
phrase means many things to many people.  Someone
seemed to hint at what they meant by relating a
certain percentage of DNA of one species to the
DNA of humans.  Because they share a percentage of
DNA does that mean one evolved from the other?
What about the simple fact that DNA requires protein
to exist and protein requires DNA to exist.  Did
they evolved at the same time?  If you believe that
I have a bridge to sell you!

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By The Mad Loon, September 14, 2009 at 5:45 am Link to this comment

We must be related to apes. How else do you explain why so many of us insist on making monkeys of ourselves.

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By shemp333, September 14, 2009 at 5:39 am Link to this comment

Because they share a percentage of
DNA does that mean one evolved from the other?

No.  This means that in the past they shared a common ancestor.  It wasn’t quite a chimp and it wasn’t a quite a human.  From there is where one branch went off and evolved to today’s chimpanzees, while another branch went on to evolve into humans.

You do realize this article was written about you!

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By christian96, September 14, 2009 at 5:19 am Link to this comment

To those individuals with reading problems—-My
basic premise was that “scientific research and
statistical analysis” is the basis for modern
biological science not the theory of evolution,
whatever that is.  When talking about “theory of
evolution” please be more specific since that
phrase means many things to many people.  Someone
seemed to hint at what they meant by relating a
certain percentage of DNA of one species to the
DNA of humans.  Because they share a percentage of
DNA does that mean one evolved from the other?
What about the simple fact that DNA requires protein
to exist and protein requires DNA to exist.  Did
they evolved at the same time?  If you believe that
I have a bridge to sell you!

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, September 14, 2009 at 5:10 am Link to this comment

How do we know this movie is being refused distribution because it’s controversial?  How do we know it’s actually controversial?

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By ardee, September 14, 2009 at 4:54 am Link to this comment

christian96, September 14 at 3:43 am

It is a wonderful thing to live in a nation wherein one may make a fool of oneself as one wishes. Congratulations.

The scientific community is almost universally on the side of Darwin’s theory, DNA research supports it as well. You are free to believe what you wish, you are free to tell all what you believe or disbelieve, as I am free to snicker at your silliness.

As advances in science continue to come along, as our knowledge continues to grow the theory will , in all probability , become science fact. Why on earth not simply believe that evolution is one of your god’s inventions? Too much common sense for you?

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By joan rimart, September 14, 2009 at 4:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

the land of the brave and the home of the free?

Give me a break!

Seems to me you are not brave enough to discuss ideas that may oppose your beliefs and slave enough to avoid a film deemed controversial…do you understand freedom? Can you live with yourself?

Shame

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By Commune115, September 14, 2009 at 3:05 am Link to this comment

Funny observation while watching the trailer: The film was produced by Icon, Mel Gibson’s company.

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By Commune115, September 14, 2009 at 2:51 am Link to this comment

We need to stop bothering other countries about “freedom of speech” when we can’t even get some costume drama to play here because it deals with a scientific topic. Roger Ebert, a big Darwin fan, even reported on his blog that the film doesn’t even really deal much with Darwin’s theories or the ideas behind them, it focuses more on a love story between him and his wife (this is a MOVIE after all). Sadly, this probably won’t be the last film to endure this. Many doubt Oliver Stone’s Hugo Chavez documentary, “South Of The Border,” will be able to find distribution here, his documentary on Castro, “Comandante,” was pulled from HBO’s schedule back in 2003 because of right-wing protests in Miami. Land of the free?

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By shemp333, September 14, 2009 at 1:47 am Link to this comment

Richard Dawkins has a new book coming out September 22,  just for those of you that don’t accept evolution.  “The Greatest Show on Earth” is a book going into detail to show how all of the different sciences come together and point directly at Darwin’s theory being factual.
  ChaoticGood has a real experience that is to the point of this matter.  A little over 98% of human DNA is IDENTICAL to a chimpanzee’s DNA.  Indeed, we are more closely related to chimps than chimps are to gorillas, it turns out.  All life on earth is related. 
  Some of the comments here are frightfully ignorant on this subject.  I suggest you stop re-reading the bible over and over for 32 years and try reading a different book.  ANY different book would be a start. 
  The way you arrogantly boast about how a subject you obviously have never read about is completely wrong is not only stupid,  it is an embarrassment. And the fact that you can’t see that is what’s frightening.
  christian96,  your last post is so impressively ass backwards that you have outdone yourself.  Bravo on showing off your stupidity so thoroughly.  There is no kind way to say how wrong you are.  I have read the bible twice cover to cover.  There is nothing in there to study,  let alone waste 32 years reading over and over.  Sorry to inform you that you have wasted your life.

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By Howie Bledsoe, September 14, 2009 at 1:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The real problem is that only 39% of Americans HAVE evolved past their knuckle dragging cousins. The rest don´t want to deal with this embarrasing fact.

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By christian96, September 14, 2009 at 12:43 am Link to this comment

PS——“The theory of evolution is the basis of
modern biological science.”  That statement is
loaded with ignorance and deception.  Research
design and statistical analysis is the basis of
modern biological science.  Charles Darwin’s ideas
stimulated some theories for some people to seek
acceptance or denial of but to make the assertion
that the basis of biological science is Charles
Darwin’s theory of evolution is to expose your
ignorance. DEAL WITH IT!  It surprises me to see
such a low quality article appear on Truthdig.
Perhaps there exists a hidden agenda behind Truthdig
of which I am not familiar.  I’m afraid they really
made a monkey out of themselves with this article.
I wonder who payed them to print it?

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thebeerdoctor's avatar

By thebeerdoctor, September 14, 2009 at 12:42 am Link to this comment

DFC makes an important point here about the difference in dogmatic belief and acceptance of a scientific theory. It is rather typical for the religious enthusiasts to impress their bias to this; that is why they look back and see “Charlie Darwin and The Devil walking side by side”; and it is impossible to engage in a discussion with someone who Knows, who really KNOWS (because God is whispering in their anointed ear) what the ultimate truth is.
Unable to find a U.S. distributor for a movie about Darwin because the demographic shows that 61% would have preferred the Beagle ship sailed too far and fallen off at the end of the world… common sense should tell you that the world is indeed flat.

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By FlyoverCountryBoy, September 14, 2009 at 12:12 am Link to this comment

There is anything but a conflict between biblical Christianity and science. There is, however, a conflict between contemporary political liberalism and sanity, and this concerns many Christians as they fight against secular Statists in America. See “Create a Godless Nation? YES! WE! CAN” at http://firebreathingchristian.wordpress.com/2009/09/07/create-a-godless-nation-yes-we-can/

Darwinian thought drove Nazi Germany.

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By ChaoticGood, September 14, 2009 at 12:12 am Link to this comment

I really cannot pass up this opportunity to relate what happened to me when I was a child.

My mother was dating a man who owned a wild animal zoo.  He had a 3 year old male chimp and I got to play with the chimp for two years.  So from the time I was 8 till I was 10, I spent many hours alone with the chimp and we became “buddies”.  We spent long summer days playing and exploring.
 
We came to know just by looking at each other what the other was thinking.  I learned about what makes a chimp laugh and cry and get mad.

I learned about chimp bravery one day when we were playing in an open field near my house.  I was playing on the ground and my chimp friend was tree climbing, when some dogs started barking and growling at me.  My chimp friend confronted the dogs, grabbed me under one arm and climbed the tree to get me to safety. He risked his life to save me and never asked for anything.  Too bad more people aren’t that good.

We were so much alike that at times I forgot he was not a human.

I know from experience that I and my chimp friend evolved from a common ancestor.

I felt that commonality in the touch of the chimps hand and I saw that common intelligence when I looked into his eyes.

I am proud to be related to such a fine animal and I think it is just tragic that more people could not share my experience.

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By StuartH, September 13, 2009 at 11:30 pm Link to this comment

When I was in college, I spent some summer months selling books door-to-
door in southwestern Pennsylvania and in parts of Ohio. 

I was shocked to discover every now and then, someone would proudly lead
me into a library in their house and show me their collection.

As I looked at all the shelves with bound volumes, on all the walls, and from
floor to ceiling, I was indeed impressed.  These were bound editions of the
Watchtower pulp paper tabloid magazine that the Jehovah’s Witnesses publish
and distribute. 

There are an amazing number of people out there who think of education and
science as representing outsiders that should just always be suspicous. 

Maybe the issue is that we actually haven’t evolved.  Or some of us haven’t.

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jbowman's avatar

By jbowman, September 13, 2009 at 11:26 pm Link to this comment

DFC, I am trying to understand what you mean by ‘I don’t believe in science’. I can understand the statement ‘I don’t agree with the theory of evolution’, since the personal beliefs of some people will not even allow them to have a rational discussion of what the theory of evolution is. Also, I think that every evolutionary biologist out there would believe in the theory of evolution, since it is the most common scientific theory we have to explain how we, as a species, came to exist.
But, what this article is saying is that no distributor in the US will pick up a film about Darwin. It is very saddening to me that film distributors, knowing how completely unhinged some people would become about this film will not pick it up for distribution.

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By ChaoticGood, September 13, 2009 at 11:24 pm Link to this comment

America is the most religious of all the western democracies, so it is no surprise that movie distributors would pass on this movie. 

Think about it from a distributors point of view.

Why should they advance money to distribute a movie that most people will not pay to see and many will protest as being against God.  It just does not make fiscal sense.

If they wanted this movie to sell in America, it should have been about how Darwin was wrong and evolution is a lie told by liberals to make children hate God.  Now that movie would sell !!!

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By Morgan Sheridan, September 13, 2009 at 10:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s just so tragic being co-opted by the bread & circuses crowd.  In the long run, we’ll get to see our fellow American’s devolve into cannibals or worse.  Of course it’s no wonder progressive issues like health care get shouted down.

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By DFC, September 13, 2009 at 10:03 pm Link to this comment

Ahem, uh… but I don’t believe in the theory of evolution and I consider myself, an American, something of an atheist (not an Atheist, just an atheist)...

Nor do I believe in science.  The theory of evolution, and science in general, are not systems of belief.  Science is about observation, either indirect or direct at some level, at least.  Scientific findings are open to disproval; not so religious belief, or much of any belief, for that matter. No self-respecting evolutionary biologist, I imagine, would want you to believe in evolution.  He or she is a scientist, after all, not a preacher.

No, I’m not a believer, be it in religious doctrine or scientific thought.  The latter because belief is oxymoronic and the former because belief or non-belief are my only choices.  A better word is “accept”.  Yes, I accept the theory of evolution as well-founded and supported by a myriad of natural patterns.

It’s not a matter of “belief” for those who know what it is.

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By Timber, September 13, 2009 at 9:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I was brought up and confirmed as an Episcopalian, a “big tent” church, and I
struggle to think of anything in my understanding of Christianity which would
be in conflict with the scientific understanding of our and the universe’s
origins. And I don’t see any basis for excluding gays, either. Rather, it seems
Christ said that gays didn’t have to get married if they didn’t want to. Whatever.
But he also had quite a lot to say against divorce, a procedure a lot of these
wing-nut swingers seem to be addicted to.

Bible literalism immediately founders on the fact that every version of the Bible
is an interpreted and edited document, even the Codex Sinaiticus. What are you
reading? King James? NAS? How about the Apocrypha? Not to mention that it’s
full of allegories meant to be “teachable moments”, for example the Prodigal
Son.

And the idea of Christians mostly reading the Old Testament? Um, that’s the
history of the Jews back to the Old Stone Age. And, yeah, it’s pretty
conservative. It’s also a marvellous historical and cultural reference, but it’s not
Christ’s teachings.

Bring on your Darwin movie. I’ll watch it.

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