Campus & Community

Science losing war over evolution?

2 min read

Screening airs evolution versus intelligent design debate

This just in from the front lines of the battle between evolution and intelligent design: evolution is losing.

That’s the assessment of Randy Olson, a Harvard-trained evolutionary biologist turned filmmaker who explored the debate in a new film, “Flock of Dodos: The Evolution – Intelligent Design Circus,” which was screened Monday (Feb. 6) at the Harvard Museum of Natural History.

Featuring Harvard faculty as well as scenes shot within the museum, the 90-minute film strikes a humorous tone as it explores the debate, poking a bit of fun at both intelligent design and the scientific community.

Though Olson is obviously on the side of evolution, he exposes the shortcomings of both sides. He portrays intelligent designers as energetic, likeable people who compensate for their shaky theory’s shortcomings through organization, personal appeal, and money. Scientists, on the other hand, squander their factual edge through indifference and poor communication skills.

But Olson said there’s something deeper than the surface face-off between those on the front lines. The efforts to teach intelligent design in the schools is backed by media-savvy, well-financed organizations like the Discovery Institute that aren’t afraid to hire high-powered public relations firms to advance their cause.

And, though the position of evolution supporters has been upheld by the U.S. courts – most recently last year in the Dover, Penn., case – Olson predicted that the battle isn’t over.