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September 21, 2009

Darwin Film: Not Showing in a Theater Near You?


As Mark indicated last week, things are beginning to heat up around the Darwin biopic, Creation, in which a young Charles Darwin (played by Paul Bettany) struggles between faith and reason, particularly after the loss of a cherished daughter. In his post, Mark discussed Roger Ebert’s reaction to people who walked out of the film, possibly for theological reasons.

What the piece didn’t mention is that Creation may not be seen in a theater near you.

Why? Apparently it can’t get a distributor in America. The reason? According to a newspaper in the U.K., Creation, which opened the recent Toronto Film Festival, is having a hard time finding traction in the United States because it has been deemed too “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.”

The film’s producers, who say they have lined up distribution in every other country but the United States, are reportedly baffled, citing positive reviews but a hostile religious climate.

While there are Christians who see God’s handiwork in natural selection, the majority of Christians consider the uber-theory of the most controversial scientist of the 20th century as anathema to their faith. So it is little surprise that Creation is getting such a frosty reception.

But should Christians’ reaction to Darwin block the film’s release? What do you think? Do you think Creation (based on the book “Annie’s Box,” by Darwin's great-great-grandson, Randal Keynes) should go unseen in the States, or do you see it as a way to open a dialogue on the creationism vs. evolution debate?

NOTE: Another Darwin biopic, titled Mrs. Darwin, with Joseph Fiennes and Rosamund Pike is also in production.


You may be interested in the following release I issued in the UK last week.

Best regards

Steve Goddard


LET'S STOP creating about Darwin - and discuss the issues he raised.

That's the message from Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Southampton who is encouraging churches to reflect on the new film Creation.

Released in the UK on Fri 25 Sep, Creation dramatises Charles Darwin's attempts to reconcile his theory about the origin of species with love for his devout Christian wife - and the impact of his 10-year-old daughter's death on belief in a benign deity.

"It has been great to see churches engage positively with films that have an overt spirituality - Passion of the Christ and Amazing Grace being recent examples," said Bishop Paul. "However, it's just as important to take advantage of well-crafted films like Creation which sympathetically documents the struggles faced by the Darwin family.

"Let's debate, not demonise. I hope hundreds of churches and schools will use the free resources created by the Damaris Trust to do just that."

Sunday 27 September has been dubbed Darwin Day in the UK. Churches are invited to use the online resources created by Damaris - including film clips, video discussions, house group material and ideas for special outreach events and themed church services.

"It is also Back to Church Sunday, when thousands of people will be invited to special services," said Nick Pollard. "Here's an opportunity to give them a reason to return to church - by showing how the gospel is still relevant to the big issues of the day."


This story makes me embarrased to be an American. The theory of evolution is filled with facts and yet 61% won't accept it. Meanwhile christians believe in a god who answers prayers, Noah's ark, females came from a useless part of the male anatomy, hell etc. etc......without any good reason but faith in the bible. This is a mass delusion that is unique to the western world in it's size and yet we are the world's only secular country. I really find this embarrasing.

Don't forget Darwin's Darkest Hour, produced by National Geographic and starring the guy who played Jesus in The Gospel of John. It airs on PBS October 6.

It's a shame that the word "Christian", in this country, has become synonymous with willful ignorance, intolerance and bad manners.
So ...what kind of "casper milquetoast" film producers would allow ignorant, intolerant, rude jackasses to dictate where their film will be released?
Open dialogue and heated debate is exactly what is needed to educate, inform and stimulate people into thinking for themselves.

Ok, first with Steve. You are truly embarrassed to be American?Does the fact that the majority of Americans consider themselves Christian make you embarrassed as well? What about the fact that our Founding Fathers were believers in Jesus? Hmm...and the fact that Christianity is "a mass delusion that is unique to the western world in it's size and yet we are the world's only secular country..." Other countries have much larger Christain populations. Although they may have a lower percentage of the population, they are greater in number than American, so it is much more than a western myth (it started in the Middle East BTW).
Peter, much of the reason people won't come out and openly debate is because it would be simple to win a debate. It is not hard to win an argument, it is much harder to win a person. Christians don't care about winning an argument, especially when someone is being hostile as you are. Instead we want to follow the example of Jesus is showing unconditional love and praying that by our example you will ask questions and seek God for yourself. I'm sorry that a company decided they wouldn't make money by opening a film here, maybe you can get it on DVD or watch it on the internet...I wonder what you life would be like if you got as passionate about Jesus as you are about a movie.

Oops, sorry I got the names wrong...that should have been directed toward Dave and Lucy. My apologies.

I am actually quite surprised that the Creation movie has recieved such a limited distribution State-side; as far as I am aware (being English, we tend to hear a polarized view of Hollywood etc) the movers and shakers in Hollywood tend to be of a more secularized, liberal bent rather than traditionally Christian outlook, so I would have expected it to be more widely shown.
The reason most people would object to such a film being shown is not that they disagree with it - although they may well do, but that those who do are very vocal because they don't know how to answer the questions it raises. Is there a God? What's He (She?) like? How doe we relate to Him and Him to us? Or, if there isn't a God, how did we get here and what's our purpose in life or are we simply just the result of a series of genetic mutations over countless generations covering thousands of years?
It is very easy for Christians to simply defer to the Bible and give answers from that all the while ignoring the arguments from such as Darwin and other alternative theorists. But the other aspect of the opposition to Darwinism is the lack of knowledge of how evolution theory works. On the flipside, it's often the case when a zealous convert comes across a supporter of evolutionary theory, their evangelism is intense and full on. Because of that, it's easy to be blindsided by someone more familiar with the other concept, and so react with ignorance and aggression.
So, instead of having a lively debate with an open dialogue and exchange of ideas (really? Darwinists and Christians listening to someone who thinks differnetly to them?) we simply degenerate into a slanging match of Darwinists being titled as Godless heathens and the Christians being called ignorant and backwards.
I happily confess I am a born again Christian - I'm neither ignorant nor backwards, thank you. But I will also admit that the whole idea of evolution was one thing that held me back from fully committing myself to following God. However, having taken a while to study both ideas, and spoken with both Christians and non-Christians, I was simply convinced that God was the way to go. But all I would say to any Christians reading this is why not watch the film, find out what Darwin said (not what Hollywood sais he said) then talk to people about it - to any who don't belive in God and affirm evolution to be correct, we Christians are not all thick, and maybe a little investigation rather than an out-of-hand rejection may prove beneficial? And at the end of the day, if our ignorance and dark ages thinking has the chance of getting us into a heaven that may or may not be there, what have we lost. Yet if your enlightened ideology causes you to reject God and Christianity turns out to be true, where are you then?

A poster named Dave said the United States is the world's only secular country. I am astounded, as a Canadian who has been to Western Europe to see such ignorance. Step out of your bubble buddy!

The poster who said USA is the only secular country.... wow, read a book some time, also what other larger Christian countries are you talking about? I think you need to learn some things before you give your silly little uneducated opinions? Also as far as the founding fathers you talk about are concerned, why do you think they decided to separate affairs of state from the church, BTW - Jefferson who wrote the declaration was heavily influenced by Thomas Paine and Voltaire... do the math, although I'm assuming you don't know much about those two characters.

On another note its very sad that this movie has caused so much negative sentiment. Evolution is not a theory, its a fact, there is way more information and scientific evidence for evolution than there is for gravity, ignoring the "facts" pertaining to evolution is nothing more than pure an utter ignorance, we will look back in 100 years and gasp in complete incredulity at the intolerance shown towards this scientific understanding.

Please, whether you're Christian or not, check out a university mathematician's research on numerics in the first verse of the Genesis creation story. It's not the "Bible Code" type. CUT and PASTE if no link: http://www.whatabeginning.com/Misc/Wonders/P.htm
"These evidences of deep design in the Bible's opening words throw a completely new light on the true status of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures"

Hey concerned, you apparently don't know much about American history. Most of our most illustrious founding fathers were Deists, NOT Christians. In other words, they did not believe in the miracles of the Bible, they did not believe Jesus was our saviour, etc. The religious right has been trying for decades to rewrite the history books but the documents for now at least still exist that clearly show America was NOT founded as a "Christian" nation. In fact, the treaty of Tripoli specifically says as much!

As for evolution, if it didn't happen, then God must be a malicious prankster to plant so much false evidence to suggest it does. Evolution is quite possibly the most well proven FACT known to modern man, and that so many people are misinformed about it is really, really sad.

First, if Bill Maher's _Religulous_ got distributed, along with films like _Saved_, I don't think some great fundy conspiracy is keeping _Creation_ out of theaters. Could it be that the film, no matter how well received by critics, looks like a boring loser to distributors, with opposition from all those "creationists" only a final nail that sealed this film's fate in the US?

Second, evolution has enough problems that a thinking person can still find plenty of reasons to find it as ridiculous to believe in as the supposed illogic of Christianity. Finally, both sides need to agree that the Continental Congress is not all theirs to claim. Yes, Franklin and Jefferson were at best Deists, along with many other of the Founders. Yet it was Franklin himself who suggested Congress pray at one difficult point, all the Founders were influenced by the Christian heritage of the Puritans and Anglicans, and, believe it or not, some of the other Founders were actually still believing Christians.

Patrick, I should have said the united states is the world's only established secular country. Canada isn't. Not officially. I know about europe, your talking about France right. That's where the word established comes in.

Maybe the reason the movie can't find distribution is because it's an art house film that would appeal to a niche audience. It doesn't have explosions and special effects, so American movie studios don't see it as having wide appeal.

Also, the producers may be trying to play up the "controversy" angle to get attention for the film.

Pedro, the definition of secularity according to wikipedia is: Secularity (adjective form secular) is the state of being separate from religion. You know the USA government is officially secular. What other government in the world is officially secular? Read a book sometime.

Dave, I don't really feel the need to answer someone who gets they're info from Wikipedia.... ouch!

The above comments reflect the confusion among the general public about America's true roots.
It comes from an ignorance of Big Picture Thinking - which I learned from my training to become a Montessori teacher (not from America's fractured schooling process.) Sorry!

In my FREE on-line BOOK, I document which Founders were Christian, the origin and subsequent perversion of the phrase "separation of church and state" by Justice Hugo Black in 1947; why Darwin's hypothesis has not proved true; and why Secularists want to undermine America's original Worldview; and which of the 8 Dominant Worldviews is the most rational. (I show why Secularism is irrational.)
The book is a well documented easy read, the product of 25 years of research using Big Picture Thinking.
See it at: totaltruth.org

It's amazing how quickly this kind of discussion devolves into mean-spirited attacks. Thank you, John Hale, for the historical balance you contributed. I also share your skepticism regarding the release of this film. Considering the movies that are routinely distributed, I find it hard to believe that the potential distributors of this film are concerned about it being "too divisive." Such a concern might be commendable, but this kind of division creates publicity and ticket sales---and distributors know this very well. Maybe they were simply worried that a large percentage of doubting Americans (not all of them fundamentalist Christians, BTW) would pass on this film. And maybe they're shrewdly creating some controversy so people on both sides of the issue can go grab their picket signs (figuratively speaking---I hope!), and give the film some much-appreciated publicity.

I do have to comment that it seems that those who are decrying the ignorance and intolerance of the opponents of Neo-Darwinism seem to be fairly strident themselves. Apparently those who argue their points the loudest, the harshest, with the most demeaning comments, automatically win the debate. Your rhetoric causes me to ask, though, "Have you even read and considered the arguments of these critics of Darwin?" Some very intelligent people, including highly qualified members of the scientific community, have serious questions concerning Neo-Darwinian evolution. You may not agree with them, but might I suggest ratcheting down the vitriol a bit? I can't presume to know your familiarity with the many substantive works critical of evolution, but to label these people as willfully ignorant if you yourselves are not very familiar with their work might just be . . . willfully ignorant? And that would be quite ironic.

Curt Parton, This is very simple, there are more than 20,000 "peer reviewed" papers published each year supporting Darwins fact, and in all this time there has not been one single "peer reviewed" paper refuting it... is that loud enough for you.

Tell me one single peer reviewed work that you talk of that is critical of the fact of evolution... I'll save you the bother, there isn't any, not one, the science community is in complete agreement.

Sorry Curt, it is not that simple. Since no human was there to observe the beginning of the Universe (and it has been proven scientifically that it had a beginning), Evolutionism (that deals with ORIGINS) will forever remain a MODEL. It can't be rightly called a theory logically (let alone a fact) because it must be testable and repeatable - according to true science.

Darwin himself stated in his racist book (subtitled "The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life"). that, if his hypothesis is true, the earth would be knee deep in transition fossils - animals changing from one KIND into another. National Geographic was founded specifically to fund the exploration for such fossils.
To date, not ONE legitimate transition fossil has been found - and honest evolutionist palentologists have said so
publically. (See my quotes at totaltruth.org)

As far a 20K peer reviews vs zero, apparently you have not seen the Ben Stein documentary "Expelled" which exposes the discriminatory tactics that Evolutionists routinely use against Creationists. They refuse to let them publish in their journals. What are they afraid of???

So Creationists gather in Pittsburgh every 4 years to conduct peer reviews and publish them for the world to evaluate. I attended one such 4 day session last summer. Their R.A.T.E. case studies alone show how fundumentally flawed Darwin's Model of Macro-Evolution* is. But their findings are suppressed - an academic blackout - by those guarding the store. Their careers and funding is at stake!!(*Creationists agree that Micro-Evolution is common - changes within in "kinds" - eg many dog varities.)

Lastly, the scientific community is NOT is complete agreement. The Evolutionists are not even in complete agreement among themselves as to the mechanism. (That is why some are looking to aliens as an answer.) But they know that their career is "toast" if they don't uphold the party line.
But there are hundreds of closet Ph.D Creationists in secular universities that don't dare publish their findings because they fear they will get "Expelled" - as Stein's documentary proves with actual cases. So much for "objective science."
Obviously you have been brainwashed like most university students today. That is part of the strategy of Secularists. The Soviets used Evolution to brainwash generations of Russians so they could establish their anti-God Worldview. It is working pretty well here now too - and Socialism is the next step to orchestrate our downfall. When you don't know the truth, you are easily defeated. totaltruth.org is there to help!

I wouldn't be surprised if the ancients indulged in some sort of numerology, and it would be fun to tease such things out and give it deep context and a reliably interpreted history, but Bible code stuff is kind of silly to me...maybe I just don't understand it adequately.

It's easy enough to figure out the significance of "7," as in seven days of Genesis, however. Just look at the names of the days of the week (though many in English have been renamed with the names of Nordic gods.)

Israel's polytheistic neighbors generally believed that there were seven planetary gods, each with their own day and domain. Genesis makes short work of that, neatly dismissing the pagan gods without even bothering to name them. They're just moving (relative to the stars) lights in the sky, not gods that one needs to appease for good crops or good fortune. God created what is, and what is... is not controlled by imagined pagan gods.

The days in Genesis don't have the names of the wonderfully discredited pagan gods...names, after all, would have sort of legitimized them, gave them a sort of life in the mind. They have been reduced to nothing but a nameless number.

The usual creationist/anti-evolutionist method of cherry picking through disassociated, decontextualized bits of evolution, and some eyebrow raising forensic tricks of dubious intellectual ethics, does not do anyone much good, I would think. Have you read creationist books? They're just an embarrassment...they're what good research simply isn't.

Misleading metaphors.
I vaguely remember a creationist with quite valid hydrologist credentials, dismissing evolution as beinglike water running uphill. Most of the time, when we see running water, it's usually running downhill, down the drain, down and away. Water runs downhill, it's only common sense, right? Never trust common sense.

Of course, there are a great many natural ways in which water runs up instead of down...like your heart, osmosis, wave action, artesian springs, steam, capillary action, tides, natural siphons. evaporation...and I could probably come up with more if spent some time on the subject...or if I were a trained hydrologist.

Dubious footnoting.
One of my favorite things in creationist books is the footnoting. Things that aren't controversial at all, are extensively footnoted. Things that are twisted in interpreting them, but otherwise wouldn't be controversial, are also often extensively footnoted, often in a fragmentary sort of way.

But, extraordinary things that would send the science world into a whirlwind, a tornado, a hurricane, of massive research projects, massive amounts of publishing and internet traffic, and extensive grant seeking for funding really exciting research...get unsatisfactory, sparse, rather vague footnotes. Extraordinary evidence gets...nothing much usable.

I distribute research in all scientific disciplines to scientists, researchers, professors and/or students all over the world. While I may not actually know what any individual report or article is really about, do I look remotely like a physicist?...I can know what has great intellectual integrity (even if it's obsolete, even if it's been long proven to be largely incorrect. Nothing is ever completely incorrect and therefore useless, or completely, perfectly correct. If you think "perfect" when you read something...run away, and come back only until you can properly appreciate it.)

I also read many layman's science magazines, Scientific American, American Scientist, Discover, Science, Physics Today... Where is that certain sort of intellectual integrity in creationist/anti-evolution research?

I don't have a vested interest in evolution...I can do what I do just as well, and at the same pay, with creationist research...just that nobody who is even remotely anybody at all in science, seems to be all that much interested, I guess. They likely have more fruitful things to do with their always limited time and usually limited resources...even if their big research project comes up disappointing (which is also an exciting learning occasion), and with their professional careers.

The theory of evolution isn't, to me anyway, A theory, but a massive body of theory. If I prove something wrong within that body of theory...good, the body of theory is then even more robust. I can be inspired to ask fun new questions that might just be predictive of something, to some adequate degree...which would then inspire even more fruitful questions, formulate more robust and fruitful theory, and come up with ingenious, exciting new experiments and/or get me out there in the field with fresh new eyes, so to speak...which would, of course, give me quite good reasons to apply for new grants, directorships, lucrative patents and such, with a high probability of getting them...

...all of which helps me come up with even more fruitful questions ,of course, even more robust theory... and maybe (cue celestial choir) even get published by NATURE...past the front section, to where you really have to know what I'm writing about to know, with real understanding, what I've really done.

Proving something very wrong in the theory of evolution could be the start of making a highly fruitful and highly esteemed career...as an evolutionist scientist.

Evolution is, at the end of the day, I think, deep history. Evolution comes from deep time...from Planck time to my time, into my future, the near future, and then past that, into deep future. Evolution likely won't go away, even if humans do, and it will continue to...evolve, until nothing can more happen, for all practical purposes...if it comes to that.

God, it would seem from evolution, is an artist, but with infinite canvasses. We're in one painting, so to speak, one that God is painting, so to speak....this is an unsatisfactory metaphor, but then, when it comes to God, aren't all metaphor's ultimately unsatisfactory?

An artist's body of work is constantly evolving. For not-God artists like me, from the time of self consciousness, whenever that is...from an inchoate formlessness of before I could do art...from what is now to what can be from that.

While distributing other peoples scientific research to other researchers in need of it...that's what pays most of my bills these day. My soul, however, is an artist's soul.

Don't confuse me with God, though. I have enough on my plate.

But creationists don't actually "prove" much of evolution theory and research wrong, do they? They talk big and bad, but to me anyway, they use shamelessly cherry picked, decontexualized, yet overly pedantic, racist-like clobber verse theology; cherry picked alleged and dubiously sourced factoids which look more like debris after a science fiction themed party; take shameless advantage of a general lack of knowledge about highly specialized disciplines; and use and abuse common assumptions, common prejudices and common misconceptions for political gains... but publish and do little that's actually scientifically useful in coming up with new questions and more robust, fruitful theory.

Why do the creationist scientists do that? They aren't evil minded conspirators, though they seem to believe that others are, who likely aren't. Creationist scientists aren't illiterate, poorly schooled, ignorant. They aren't themselves dummies and dupes. They're generally adequately smart for respectable science careers, I think.

They want me to be better at being what they want me to be, as near as I can figure out...someone who could be God's loyal and productive servant in that most wonderful, heavenly, spiritual store of the Great Commission.

I think, therefore, they do it all for love, for an idealized love, more romantic than life itself...but, it's just not a love that I would want, name or claim. Isaiah chapter 20, if memory serves, comes vaguely to mind.

Leonard, the post that I believe you are responding to was written by Pedro, not by me.

Pedro, to claim that the scientific community is in complete agreement is simply and unarguably incorrect. To continue claiming this is akin to those who tried to drown out the studies of Copernicus and Galileo while insisting that they still held the unanimous view. Ignoring opposing viewpoints will not make them go away. I challenge you to educate yourself concerning the many scientists who oppose Neo-Darwinism and then you'll at least understand why they do so. (And, yes, they have indeed written peer-reviewed papers, although at least some journals have had policies rejecting anything overly critical of evolution. It is, after all, the new orthodoxy. But exploring that issue will take us even more off-topic than we already are.)

Curt... educate myself?... ok lets see then, post the link to even one "peer reviewed" paper that has successfully challenged the basic fundamental principle of evolution.... I'll be waiting a whole though because non exist and your comment about journals rejecting them on prejudice is complete and utter nonsense, its just another massive kop out.

You see the thing is there is more scientific evidence for the fact of evolution than the theory of gravity

Leonard .... wow, I'm not even sure how to respond to you... the origin is racist?.. dear oh dear...

Why is there is never any few findings on creationism I wonder?