DOCUMENTARY REVIEW: Spectacular introduction to evolution’s fatal flaws

Evolution’s Achille’s Heels
Documentary
2014 / 96 minutesAchilles
Rating: 10/10

I’ve watched this at least 5 times now, and many sections many more times than that. This is the best, most succinct, most content-dense, anti-evolution presentation I’ve ever seen!

That said, my first go-through didn’t leave me all that impressed. I was watching it while doing some paperwork, not giving it my full attention, and what I saw just seemed to be a bunch of interviews, lots of talking heads. It didn’t seem all that interesting.

But when I gave it another go and actually paid attention…. Whoah!

What the folks at Creation Ministries International have done here is, in one hour and a half presentation, boiled down all their very best arguments into the shortest possible form. That’s why I’ve watched it so many times already – I had to keep stopping, rewinding, and then listening to sections again, because so much of what these interviewees say in just a sentence or two is something that others have written articles and even whole books on.

For example, here’s a line from Dr. Donald Batten: “The survival of the fittest does not explain the arrival of the fittest.”

At first listen, this struck me as a great turn of a phrase, and it certainly is. But let’s hit the pause button and just think about all that’s being said here in just this one line. Survival of the fittest (AKA natural selection) is supposed to explain how species adapt and change: those with advantageous mutations will prosper, while those without will eventually die off. But survival of the fittest is a selective process – it picks the best out of the group. How then, does it work before there is a group to pick the best and brightest from? Natural selection is a key mechanism for evolution, but it doesn’t offer any explanation for how animals come to be in the first place! This one, short, ever so quotable line, points out a gigantic problem with evolutionary theory.

In addition to Dr. Batten, the documentary features 14 other PhD scientists, and together they highlight, as the title puts it, Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels. They cover a wide range of problems, grouped under categories that include:

  • the Fossil Record,
  • Genetics,
  • Natural Selection,
  • Cosmology
  • Radiometric Dating
  • the Origin of life
  • the Geologic Column
  • Ethics

I really can’t say enough nice things about it: from beginning to end this is brilliant, and as good an introduction to the problems with Evolutionary theory as you will ever find. The Dove foundation said, “If we could award Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels more than five Doves, our best rating, we would!” and I echo the sentiment.

You can rent it for online viewing at just $5 by clicking here or buy it on DVD or Blu-ray at Creation.com. There is also a book, of the same title, that would be of interest to anyone who wants to dig further into this material – you can find that at Creation.com too.

Movie Review: A courtroom drama, a romance, and a battle over creation vs. evolution

ALLEGEDAlleged
Drama / Romance
93 minutes; 2011
Rating: 8 / 10

Dayton, Tennessee is a small town in 1925, and too small for local reporter Charles Anderson who wants to make a big name for himself by going to the big city and working for legendary Baltimore Sun editor H.L. Mencken. His fiancee and coworker Rose is rooting for him, and when a legal battle in the town’s courtroom garners attention from the national media, it looks like Charlie may have just the news story he needs to grab Mencken’s attention.

Only, things don’t go quite how he was expecting. He does get Mencken’s attention, who is even willing to teach Charlie how to craft a news story. But this close-up tutelage lets Charlie see that his mentor won’t let a little something like the truth get in the way of a good story. Mencken is more than willing to make up a story if it will sell papers. Is Charlie willing to go that far to land the job he’s been dreaming of?

Setting

Though Charlie Anderson is fictional, the story’s setting is true. In 1925 an anti-evolution law that forbade the teaching of evolution in public schools was challenged in a Dayton, Tennessee courtroom. John Scopes, a high school teacher, was charged with violating the law by teaching his students about Charles Darwin’s theory.

The “Scopes Monkey Trial” pitted creationists vs. evolutionists and enlisted big name “stars”: the Scripture-quoting, Bible-believing, 3-time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan for the prosecution; and for the defense, Clarence Darrow, infamous for his defense of two indefensible child-killing clients. These big names got the attention of one other: Baltimore Sun editor H. L. Mencken. His columns largely influenced how the trial was perceived by the public – while the creationists won the court case, Mencken made sure that the evolutionists won the publicity battle.

Cautions

The film is excellent, with only a few cautions to consider.

First, Charlie is drunk as a skunk in one scene, though his fiancee’s disappointment and disapproval makes this an object lesson in the idiocy of drinking to excess, so there’s not too much to object to on that point.

Also one character shouts “Hallelujah!” insincerely in a church service.

I should add, because the film teaches about the implication of Darwinian thought, there is a subplot that deals with eugenics. This is a topic that our older children need to learn about, but is also too much information for a younger audience that doesn’t yet need to know how horrible the world can be.

Conclusion

This isn’t the first film to depict the Scopes Monkey Trial. Three decades later the events of the trial were again fictionalized as a play (1955) which was then adapted to film as Inherit the Wind (1960). Both the play and the film presented creationists as ignorant, foolish, bigoted and even bloodthirsty (Inherit the Wind has the townspeople threatening to burn John Scopes!) and because the film was shown to generations of American public school children it has had a lasting impact on the way the creation/evolution debate is conducted. It can be given much of the credit for why creationist arguments are assumed to be ignorant and more often mocked than answered.

Alleged is an enjoyable counter to Inherit the Wind, presenting a much more accurate account of the trial. It could be enjoyed as an above average Christian romance, but the setting makes this more than a fun little film. The historical importance of this event means this is a film for just about anyone. It is educational and informative, yes, but also fun, romantic, generally light, and quite well acted. Highly recommend for older teens and adults it is available at Amazon.ca. This review was first published on www.ReelConservative.com.