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Amused Muse

Inspiring dissent and debate and the love of dissonance

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Master's Degree holder, telecommuting from the hot tub, proud Darwinian Dawkobot, and pirate librarian belly-dancer bohemian secret agent scribe on a mission to rescue bloggers from the wholesome clutches of the pious backstabbing girl fridays of the world.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Kansas vs. Darwin, the Film

UPDATED: Reason prevails in Kansas. May it prevail all over the U.S. Let freedom ring.
Last night I saw the documentary Kansas vs. Darwin at the Bell Auditorium. I highly recommend this film, so see it if you get a chance! Apparently, a Young Earth creationist was in the audience and told the director, Jeff Tamblyn, that it was a fair and compassionate treatment of the May, 2005 Kansas School Board hearings, which apparently mirrors what other Y.E.C.s have told the director about the film.

When I heard about that I did kind of feel a little bad for the Y.E.C., because we are all human beings after all, and the audience, including me (especially me, you know me by now), was verbally hooting at the creationists—but you just can’t help it, since they hang themselves by their own golden chains!

I also found the film to be objective and fair, and yet it got some digs in, too. The visual juxtapositions display a fine wit. It does take a point of view—all films do, no matter what—in its calm observation of the proceedings, in the gentle encouragement of the creationists to tell their stories, and in the deft interweaving of the testimony before the board, including statements by Jonathan Wells (whom I hissed—I harbor a secret affection for a lot of the ID folks but I simply detest Wells) with commentary from scientists (including Jack Krebs—I applauded for him) and the Kansas Citizens for Science group.

Mr.Tamblyn led a discusson about the film afterward, both in the auditorium and a little later at a cake-cutting for Darwin’s birthday sponsored by Campus Atheists and Secular Humanists (C.A.S.H.). The man is a wonderful speaker and thinker, and provoked some really good discussion on the issue of science education in this country and of the stereotypes that Americans on both sides of the issue have of each other. He challenged me to justify my opinions at one point, and he is as passionate and informed about this issue as anyone I’ve met. He made me think about a few things that I hadn’t before, and it was really a pleasure to meet him and to see his work. This film is truly a crucial document of an important point in American history and deserves a wide release.

And I noticed that Pat at RedStateRabble was among those thanked in the credits!

Next Tuesday, the Kansas School Board will vote on the ID-inspired standards adopted last year. The expectation is that these standards, which allow for supernatural explanations for phenomena, will be discarded in favor of science standards drafted by the curriculum writing committee, chaired by Steve Case. Stay tuned.

And don’t diss Kansas, people—that state is usually ahead of the rest of the nation in dealing with issues (remember Brown v. the Board of Education?) and is the canary in the coal mine for the rest of us.

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Blogger Mojoey said...

Welcome to the Atheist Blogroll

February 09, 2007 8:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was raised in Kansas from the time I was six; got both my degrees at Emporia State. I was scrappin' with creationists in the mid-seventies there.

I read the anecdote about the character stoned on LSD mistaking a window for a mirror; reminded me that the warhero Audie Murphy once mistook a mirror for a door, in Italy or southern France, back in '44 or '45. He entered a house recently held by the Germans and blasted his own reflection with his Tommy-gun.

February 10, 2007 10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, blast my hide!!! I forgot to sign my last comment.

February 10, 2007 10:28 PM  
Anonymous JanieBelle said...

We came to hold your blog hand while you watch scary movies (fortunately, I don't think stomach viri travel well through interweb cables).

Sorry we're late.

***blasts Scotius' hide for him***

February 11, 2007 6:37 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Oooh, thank you JanieBelle! That Boggy Creek film is a creepy good time.

Good thing the sun is up now. ;-)

Maybe we should all have a good campfire story post sometime, tell stories, scare ourselves good. I love that stuff.

Scotius: I'd love to see a Tommy-gun shoot out baked beans sometimes. :D

February 11, 2007 11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A friend of mine had a Thompson sub-machine gun these thirty years gone. It was adjusted to be semi-automatic in order to be legal. Its projectiles were not baked beans, but rather, .45 caliber slugs. I never stood in the line of fire to test their digestibility. I was cautious about acute lead poisoning.

I used to cook up a mean mess of stovetop "baked" beans. Would take them to picnics. Any hopes of leftovers were forlorn. Maybe two or three lonely beans were left in the skillet as a general rule. Except for a very light snack, they weren't much use. No chance of heaving them out a window, hoping they would grow a giant stalk, giving me access to some giant's gold.

February 11, 2007 7:33 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Maybe two or three lonely beans were left in the skillet as a general rule.

That reminds me of another movie scene...a comedy-western, with a bunch of cowboys sitting around a campfire... ;-)

February 12, 2007 8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep, "Blazing Saddles," which came out in 1974. Beans can produce a sound effect similar to that of a Tommy gun.
These comments are drifting far afield of Kansas and evolution.

February 12, 2007 9:13 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

These comments are drifting far afield of Kansas and evolution.

Yes, they tend to do that. It doesn't help that I've never been to Kansas.

I’d like to jump-start some evolution discussion at the Triumvirate. Someone just commented on my post The Active Germ-Line Replicator and it reminded me of a discussion that I had last year regarding Gould vs. Dawkins.

February 12, 2007 10:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I shall keep tabs on the news about the Kansas Board of Education vote concerning evolution. Am crossing fingers and knocking on wood that the moderates prevail.

One way or another, I spent over thirty years in Kansas. Over those years, I butted heads with creationists on occasion. The kindest thing I can say for them is that they are innocent and naive.

For a three year stretch, about forty years ago, I was in South Carolina, a very hotbed of fundamentalism. I got the impression that for some Southerners, the words "evolution," "integration," "communism," and "atheism" are synonyms.

I don't call myself atheist. I'm agnostic, but from the perspective of reactionary religionists, I am atheist, because I don't believe in their dumb ass version of God.

February 12, 2007 11:44 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

That's right, the big vote is tomorrow! Red State Rabble is sure to announce it--I'll link.

February 12, 2007 12:36 PM  

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