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UCL to host UK premiere of first intelligent design documentary film

Publication date: Jan 17, 2007 4:12:31 PM

The first documentary film to take an even-handed look at the intelligent design vs evolution clash will have its UK premiere at UCL on Friday 9 February 2007.

In ‘Flock of Dodos: the Evolution – Intelligent Design Circus’, US filmmaker and evolutionary biologist Dr Randy Olson humorously examines the debate between proponents of the concept of intelligent design and the scientific establishment that supports evolution.

The documentary premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York in April 2006, and since then has played at film festivals and campuses across the US.

The film centres on Olson’s visit to his home state Kansas and the community of Dover, Pennsylvania, which attempted to introduce intelligent design in science classes. Olson draws on basic aspects of evolution as metaphors, including the extinct dodo, which he suggests symbolises what happens to those unable to change with their environment. The film attempts to determine who the “dodos” are in a constantly evolving world: the scientific community who is failing to promote evolution as a scientifically accepted fact – or the intelligent design advocates who, to other scientists, are known as "dodos". While Randy Olson ultimately sides with the scientists who adhere to evolution, he gives equal air time to both sides of the argument, including intelligent design proponent Michael Behe, author of ‘Darwin’s Black Box’.

Tickets are free to the public on the evening but will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

The screening, which coincides with events to mark Darwin’s 198th birthday on 12 February 2007, will be followed by a discussion featuring three academics from the UCL Department of Science & Technology Studies:

Dr Jane Gregory – a specialist in public engagement of science

Dr Ric Whaite – a specialist in science–religion questions

Dr Joe Cain – a historian of evolutionary studies

Commenting on the film, Dr Joe Cain of the UCL Department of Science & Technology Studies, said: “We can learn a lot about this subject using the light-hearted approach taken by this film. It brilliantly shows how these two sides simply talk past each other – with more interest in scoring points than understanding or solving disagreements.”

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Notes to editors

For further information or to reserve a press ticket, please contact: Judith H Moore, UCL Media Relations, Tel: +44 (0) 20 7679 7678 (int: 07678), Mobile: +44 (0)77333 075 96, Out-of-hours: +44 (0)7917 271 364, Email: judith.moore@ucl.ac.uk

Further information about Flock of Dodos: the Evolution – Intelligent Design Circus’ http://www.flockofdodos.com/

UK film premiere: ‘Flock of Dodos: the Evolution – Intelligent Design Circus’

When: Friday 9 February 2007, 6.30–8.30pm (doors open 6pm)

Where: University College London, Cruciform Building, Lecture Theatre 1

The event is sponsored by the UCL Department of Science & Technology Studies and the London Centre for the History of Science, Medicine & Technology.

www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/flockofdodos