New biopic on Charles Darwin fails to find a distributor in religious America

BettanyDarwin

manicstreetpreacher reports on how creationist lunacy is still very alive and well in the Land of the Free.

I was stunned when I came across this article in on The Daily Telegraph website a few days ago about the soon-to-be-released biopic of the author of The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin, Creation (homepage / IMDB), directed by Jon Amiel and starring Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly.

The film, which is due to be released in the UK on 25 September 2009, appears to have been warmly received by critics in Europe.  Richard Dawkins, who has recently published his defence of the evidence for evolution, The Greatest Show On Earth, sat on a Newsnight Review panel with other religious and atheist intellectuals, praised the film overall with a few reservations in regard to “storytelling licence” over Darwin’s tortured character and the pressure he received from T H Huxley as portrayed in the film.

The film has been eagerly snapped up by film distributors from Europe to Australia, however, The Daily Telegraph reports that it has failed to find one in the USA due to anti-Darwin sentiments which are still rife over 150 years after the books was published.

The article ramifies the unbelievable ignorance and bigotry on display in a country where only 39% of population actually believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection.

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.

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.

Charles Darwin is, I suppose, the hero of the film. But we tried to make the film in a very even-handed way. Darwin wasn’t saying ‘kill all religion’, he never said such a thing, but he is a totem for people.

Movieguide.org, an influential website which reviews films from a Christian perspective, recently reviewed a book called Darwin’s Racists by Sharon Sebastian and Raymond G Bohlin and 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.

I have refuted at length these prejudices relating to Darwin’s theory here and here on this blog, so I am not going to expend the energy in doing so again in this article.  There would be little point. If I haven’t convinced anyone by now, then I’m not going to.

I just think that it is incredibly worrying that in the 21st century over half the population of the most affluent country in the world are so blinded by their religious dogmas that they fail to recognise the beauty, simplicity and above all the truth of a theory that has directly lead to advances in science and medicine of the kind that have eradicated smallpox from the globe.

Are Americans really so uncomfortable with the thought of being related to a monkey?  Yet again, John Allen Paulos in Irreligion puts matters into their proper perspective when he asks which is worse; having evolved from a puddle of slime over billions of years as Darwin’s ideas have us, or the Genesis account of being created from a lump of dirt…

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3 Responses to “New biopic on Charles Darwin fails to find a distributor in religious America”

  1. Richard Morgan Says:

    No distributors in the USA?
    Well, that’s not a problem really , is it?
    I guess most of the people who want to see the film will be able to find some kind of internet solution.
    Though far be it from me to suggest illegal down-loading!
    Perish the thought!

  2. Edmund Standing Says:

    Yes, it is a problem, because of what it says about the current intellectual state of America.

  3. Richard Morgan Says:

    OK – seen from that point of view, yes, it is a problem. In fact I was only referring to the accessibility of the film in the USA. And I suppose that it NOT being distributed over there will be excellent publicity, and the torrent sites will be quite busy.
    Not that I’m encouraging etc etc
    When you think that in France hardly anybody at all has heard of Dawkins and the like, and anyway they couldn’t care less. Getting a good price on a crate of wine is a far more important issue. Of, and going on strike from time to time as well.
    I’ve never met anybody who contests evolution here.
    When I asked my pupils who Darwin was, the most frequent reply I got was “An Australian rugby player”!

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