Just the other night I did something which is apparently rare amongst those who are already critiquing the film “Voyage that Shook the World”—I actually watched it.
I know, I know; actually watching the very film that one is criticizing is a novel notion now a days.
“Voyage that Shook the World” presents a succinct biography of Charles Darwin and considers him as a person and a thinker from his earliest to his later years.
The film considers the various influences which played upon his mind and helped him forge (and forge) his theory of evolution: from theology to his grandfather Erasmus Darwin, from Charles Lyell’s “Principles of Geology” to the theorizing of Alfred Russel Wallace, from his voyage upon the Beagle to parasitic wasps.
It also notes various places where Charles Darwin’s ultimate conclusions were based on his limited observations. There is certainly knowledge today which he had no clue about in his day and yet, also knowledge which he simply missed accessing, or simply ignored. It notes where his observations could have been augmented by further, lengthier, observations—such as noting that Finch beak size can change from one general to the next, evidence against Charles Lyell promulgation of uniformitarianism, etc.
It is a well produced film which combines reenactments of Charles Darwin during various stages in his life with interviews which give both biographical facts about Darwin as well as discuss various scientific issues.
I find myself almost more interested in the expected and sadly typical cries from the evolutiondidit crowd.
Yepper, them’s got they’s six-shooters all loaded up with they’s bulleted-talking points—it’s a showdown at the cyber-coral.
It is all the same ol' tired fallacies: it is funded by those creationists from Creation Ministries International-CMI (who, if I recall, just published an essay on atheism). This charge consists of what in logic is known as an “ad hominem” or “genetic fallacy” whereby one attacks the source of an argument whilst disregarding the actual argument.
The question of funding was virtually all that Richard Dawkins could muster in his pseudo-critique of “The Atlas of Creation.”
They manipulated the Darwin scholars into appearing in a creationist film, they cherry-picked the interviews, they “lie for Jesus,” etc., have not seen it but a blogger wrote…, etc., all lies but I have not watched it, etc., bla-bla-bla, etc., yatta-yatta-yatta, etc.
One blogger even saw a light at the end of the dark tunnel of creationist conspiratorial propaganda: hear yea, hear yea, “PZ Myers had weighed in”!!!
Indeed, PZ Myers weighed in about as light as a feather and has been found wanting—he has been disqualified from the fight due to the fact that even his feather weight critique carried excess weight as it consisted of nothing but emotive bullying—most certainly something which one would not expect of a professor of biology. Perhaps the most telling statement of PZ Myer’s is “there is no scientific controversy anymore on this matter”—thus saith PZ!
Actually, he did not even bother mentioning to what he was referring by “this matter”: the Darwinian theory of evolution with the conveniently concocted byproduct of affirming atheism? The sort of natural selection which anyone can observe? Evolutiondidit? Charles Darwin biography? What?
Actually, it does not matter; the point is “there is no scientific controversy anymore on this matter” and so it must be true—right?!?!
The issue of cherry-picking-editing the interviews is actually serious as a person can be made to seem as if they hold to a position that they actually do not hold or their statements can simply be edited out when they are not convenient to the filmmaker’s purposes.
Such was the case with Bill Maher’s “Religulous” in which he edited out inconvenient comments by scientists. It was also the case with Richard Dawkins who edited out inconvenient comments by Alister McGrath in “Root of All Evil.” Et al.
Overall, I empathize with the evolutiondidit crowd as “Voyage that Shook the World” does not merely deal with the icons of evolution but with the very idol himself. Thus, they are desperate for reasons to not believe in something that we have not seen yet: funding issues, creationist slant, editing, thus saith PZ Myers, anything, anything at all.
All are mere discretions but good enough for the pseudo-skeptical who are merely interested in protecting their chose position from any hint of dissent—these are the dogmatheists at work.