“Darwin’s Dilemma” Brings New Challenges to Evolution Theory

September 23, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

By Aida Ahmed
aahmed@smu.edu

The Hughes-Trigg student center was packed Thursday night for a discussion on the origins of life. (PHOTO BY AIDA AHMED / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

A new documentary that is testing Charles Darwin’s controversial theory of evolution brought many to Hughes-Trigg student theatre Thursday night.

The theatre was packed with guests eager to hear what experts in the fields of molecular, cell and evolutionary biology had to say about the claims made in “Darwin’s Dilemma,” a documentary that confronts Darwinism.

The documentary screening and discussion, Four Nails in Darwin’s Coffin, was sponsored by SMU’s Pulse and Victory Campus Ministries.

Pulse member and junior film and accounting major, Sara Nimeh, said she felt it was important that people get to know both sides of the origin of life.

“I think in education they teach mainly Darwinism, at least in college,” Nimeh said. “I feel like they teach it as fact. Creationism is put in a negative light. I hope that people will think about what they learn in school and take what they learn but continue their own research as to what they believe.”

“Darwin’s Dilemma”

“Darwin’s Dilemma” premiered last year, but was not broadcast on public television, mainly because of its controversial nature.

The film, shot on location in southern China, the Canadian Rockies and Great Britain, aims to challenge the theory of natural selection that is widely accepted in the scientific world.

Biologists in the film try to explain that research of fossils taken from the Precambrian period conflict the gradual growth of life described by Darwin, in that the Cambrian explosion is responsible for most of earth’s life.

The Researchers

All four of Thursday night’s speakers were either interviewed or had a cameo in the documentary. Author Stephen Meyer moderated the discussion with molecular biologist Douglas Axe, evolutionary biologist Richard Sternberg and molecular and cell biologist Jonathan Wells. The biologists argued in favor of intelligent design.

Sternberg, who is a research scientist at the Biologic Institute, spoke on the Cambrian explosion in terms of the evolution of a marine whale.

“It’s literally hundreds, if not thousands, of engineering changes that had to have occurred,” Sternberg said. “And they had to have occured not in 50 million years, not in 100 million years, not even in ten million years, but in a very narrow interval of time.”

Crowd Reaction

Dallas resident Barbara Baker was at the film screening and found the discussion afterward to be very scientific and unclear.

“It was kind of overwhelming for me,” Baker said. “I’m not a biologist but I thought it was very interesting.”

But others, like Alex Partin, a junior at the University of Texas at Dallas, were not convinced by the biologists’ claims.

“I was just looking for any coherent arguments against Darwinism,” Partin said. “I want to see if they have any publications in favor of intelligent design. This is kind of a circus.”