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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

trailer break: ‘Creation’

Take a break from work: watch a trailer…

I’m so looking forward to seeing this movie, and it looks like I’ll get my chance: the film has finally been picked up for U.S. distribution by Newmarket Films, after a period during which no one would touch it. As the Telegraph explained back on September 11:

US distributors have resolutely passed on a film which will prove hugely divisive in a country where, according to a Gallup poll conducted in February, only 39 per cent of Americans believe in the theory of evolution.

Movieguide.org, an influential site which reviews films from a Christian perspective, described Darwin as the father of eugenics and denounced him as “a racist, a bigot and an 1800s naturalist whose legacy is mass murder”. His “half-baked theory” directly influenced Adolf Hitler and led to “atrocities, crimes against humanity, cloning and genetic engineering”, the site stated.

The film has sparked fierce debate on US Christian websites, with a typical comment dismissing evolution as “a silly theory with a serious lack of evidence to support it despite over a century of trying”.

Jeremy Thomas, the Oscar-winning producer of Creation, said he was astonished that such attitudes exist 150 years after On The Origin of Species was published.

“That’s what we’re up against. In 2009. It’s amazing,” he said.

“The film has no distributor in America. It has got a deal everywhere else in the world but in the US, and it’s because of what the film is about. People have been saying this is the best film they’ve seen all year, yet nobody in the US has picked it up.

“It is unbelievable to us that this is still a really hot potato in America. There’s still a great belief that He made the world in six days. It’s quite difficult for we in the UK to imagine religion in America. We live in a country which is no longer so religious. But in the US, outside of New York and LA, religion rules.

But, as Empire Online noted,

one brave company raised itself onto its two legs, rubbed the spot where its tail had been, and flicked a large middle finger in the general direction of increasingly-powerful Creationists everywhere…

I wonder if the ire of those Creationists will be placated by the fact that Newmarket also distributed The Passion of the Christ. I’m guessing not.

Funny coincidence: Paul Bettany played a proto-Charles Darwin character in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.

Creation opens in the U.K. today, and in the U.S. in December.

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  • Bill

    i can’t wait. paul bettany is pretty great in everything he does and i’ve been wishing for a good darwin flick for a long time.

    “only 39 per cent of Americans believe in the theory of evolution.” is it really that bad? we need to get some science up in here and quick. let’s start with kansas. silly kansas.

  • Pollas

    This whole most Americans not believing in evolution must be new since I was in school. I mean, there were always those who believed strongly in the Bible’s creation story, but in school evolution was taught without controversy. And I can’t recall it ever being made a big deal of outside school either. And I grew up in a Christian family and went to church on Sundays when I was younger.

  • Only 39 per cent of Americans believe in the theory of evolution.

    What Pollas said.

    I went to a secular Texas high school in the 70s and evolution wasn’t considered all that controversial back then either.

    Then again, when I consider the many things I’ve heard said about my fellow Catholics that contradict my personal experience, I can’t help but wonder whether this is yet another case of someone proving Twain right in his famous quote about lies, damn lies and statistics.

    Then again that poll wasn’t taken in my neighborhood…

  • SaintAndy

    I can hardly wait to see this, too. Paul Bettany is a great actor, and you can pretty much count on him to deliver a good performance, even if the film sucks. And yes, it was about time we got a good Darwin biopic.
    Still, the fact that so many Americans still believe in creationism, in the 21st century, makes me to almost lose hope in humanity… it would be funny if it weren’t so tragic…

  • Kenny

    I can’t wait. This is the movie I’ve most been looking forward to all year.

  • Alli

    I’m in my mid-20s and grew up in West Virginia. Our Biology instructors in High School always had to make a short speech about how Evolution doesn’t contradict your religious beliefs, but if you didn’t want to participate in class, your guardians could sign a form and you wouldn’t have to participate. I don’t remember anyone doing it.

    It’d be interesting to see how the 39% statistic was gathered. I have a feeling the way the research was conducted was biased in some way.

  • Grinebiter

    I’ve been hearing these or even more alarming statistics for at least a decade; and people’s experiences at school are not necessarily relevant, if modern creationism is not in fact continuous with the early twencen variant, but a modern artefact of very well-organised mobilisers.

    It is the same, on a longer time-scale, with biblical literalism (a better term than fundamentalism). Medieval theologians did not consider the bible factually inerrant, but treated the tricky bits as allegory. Augustine wrote that talking nonsense about the physical world only served to bring the faith into disrepute. The extreme literalism of some modern American churches is a modern phenomenon, with social, political and economic roots.

    It may get worse, if the economic crisis sends hitherto indifferent people into the arms of such churches in order to be fed, and said churches demand adherence to literalism and hence creationism as the price of the soup. We have, after all, seen the same development in the Muslim world. As the Arab-socialist welfare states collapsed under demographic pressure, IMF rules and foreign invasion, the mosques stepped into the breach. “Faith-based initiatives”, right? A family wants welfare, maybe they have to send their kids to the madrassah, where they may be exposed to salafists and jihadis. I remember the Bush administration (which drew all its WH interns from biblical-literalist schools) saying that this was a big problem in the Muslim world, but I see no reason why it should not be a big problem in the USA as well. I prefer my social welfare secular, but then again, I’m an evil European liberal atheist…….

  • MaryAnn

    I went to a secular Texas high school in the 70s and evolution wasn’t considered all that controversial back then either.

    A lot has changed since the 70s. Creationists and fundamentalist Christianity has a lot more pull now than it did then.

  • captain_swing

    I tried searching for Creation on movieguide.org – guess what, there is no reference to it anymore. So the inference is: either the Telegraph lies, or the site is ashamed of it’s earlier view and removed it’s opinion. Interesting.

    Perhaps the more experienced of you can find the comment. Don’t stay on there too long mind – the lunacy is too strong and may corrupt your mind.

  • bats :[

    I’ve read where ever major religion does believe in evolution; this might stumble at the oh-so-critical modern man/Adam point, but for most niggly lesser life forms, evolution is OK.

  • AJP

    Grinebiter: Remember that Augustine was a Catholic, and according to fundamentalists, is therefore in league with Satan.

  • Grinebiter

    Perhaps the more experienced of you can find the comment. Don’t stay on there too long mind – the lunacy is too strong and may corrupt your mind.

    The Telegraph? Oh yes, I’ll second that.

    @Bats: I once knew a British charismatic church whose members, although “fundamentalists”, didn’t think evolution was a problem, on the grounds that God could create us any way he liked, and if what took his fancy was six billion years of evolution, then so be it. Moreover, most of them voted Labour. Ergo, the theology does not inevitably lead to American red-state politics.

    @AJP: indeed, by their rejection of everything between Patmos and Wittenberg the fundis are the quite precise equivalent to the Salafists, who reject everything said and done since the generation of the Companions of the Prophet, and who are driving the insurgencies.

  • Lea

    So only 39 per cent of Americans can actually think for themselves then…
    But why think for yourself when you can go through life in a state of delusion?

  • Paul

    39%? How the hell did we vote Obama into office? It never occurred to me that someone could vote Democrat and believe in creationism at the same time. Weird. But then, when I was a teenager, only 40% of Americans believed in creationism. This is really boggling my mind; how can belief in creationism be creeping up but acceptance of homosexuality is also creeping up? Those two things just don’t go together in my mind.

  • MaryAnn

    Because people can discover that their friend/neighbor/cousin/child is gay and then discover that that friend/neighbor/cousin/child is still a human being who deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.

    But no one has ever met an Australopithicus afarensis.

  • Ryan

    That 39% statistic has is bull.

    According to CBS in 2005 81% of people believe in evolution. What you are running into are religious people who are smart enough to know that interpreting the bible literally is moronic…but they need to reconcile that with their beliefs.

    They check the box; ‘humans evolved, but the evolution was guided by God’ and that skews the statistics.

    As seen here: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/10/22/opinion/polls/main965223.shtml

  • MaSch

    But no one has ever met an Australopithicus afarensis.

    I’m sre there’s a gem of a joke about this lying around somewhere here, but I can’t be bothered to pick it up …

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