Despite all attempts by the intellectual elite to treat certain issues as settled, controversy persists. This issue’s DVD offerings focus on three areas where conventional thought is getting a workout these days.
In 1993, a landmark meeting of design theorists was assembled by Professor Phillip Johnson in Pajaro Dunes, California. Out of that meeting came something the world has learned to call Intelligent Design theory, an idea that is now shaking the foundations of mainstream thinking. “Unlocking the Mystery of Life” follows the development of the movement from that historic gathering. Included are insightful interviews with Stephen Meyer, Dean Kenyon, Paul Nelson, Michael Behe, William Dembski, Jonathan Wells, Jed Macosko, and Scott Minnich. The DVD tells the story of these contemporary scientists who are advancing this powerful, but controversial, idea—which many have come to believe makes more sense than the established “theory” originally advanced by Charles Darwin.
During his five weeks on the Galapagos in the 1830s, Darwin studied dozens of animal species which he had never seen before. Many exhibited evidence of adaptation to their specific environments, and that observation became a major tenet of his explanation for the nature of life. But despite such discoveries, many puzzling questions remained and still remain. Open-minded scientists have now come to realize that variations in the shape of a finch beak or tortoise shell fall far short of answering what is perhaps the most puzzling and important question in all of biology—how did living organisms in all of their spectacular diversity originate on earth in the first place?
In his The Origin of Species, published in 1859, Darwin argued that all of life on earth was the product of undirected natural processes—time, chance, and natural selection. Biologists have since relied on such processes to account for the origin of living things. This approach must now be challenged, according to this documentary, because Darwin didn’t know then what we know now. NOW, thanks to discoveries by biologists and chemists, we have access to a complex microscopic world of which Darwin had no clue! Darwin himself said that if someone showed that there was an organ that could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, his theory would absolutely break down.
Michael Behe (Darwin’s Black Box) states that one can point out structural problems like “Irreducible Complexity” in many biological systems and show that there are big barriers to natural selection.
He defines Irreducible Complexity as a fancy phrase for a very simple concept—it just means you have a machine or system that has a number of different parts all interacting with each other. If you take away one of the parts, then the whole system fails to work. These systems can’t be approached in the step-by-step, gradual manner that Darwin envisioned for natural selection working on a biological system. He states: “You can also point out that if you look at the science literature, scientists have been unable to use natural selection to explain these things. You can then say that we’ve got a lot of evidence that seems to point in the direction that these things cannot be formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, so we have good reason to think that Darwin’s theory has, in fact, broken down.”
In this documentary state-of-the-art computer animation is used to transport you into the interior of the living cell to explore systems and machines that bear the unmistakable hallmarks of design. When discussing the remarkable Bacterial Flagellum, (a virtual machine within a living cell that bears the unmistakable hallmark of design), Robert Minnich (Molecular Biologist, University of Idaho, who has studied it for 20 years) argues: “One of the most amazing aspects is the motor itself. It’s like an outboard motor on a motorboat and it has a large number of parts in order for it to work. It’s very sophisticated. The fact that some run at 100,000 rpms, have two gears—forward and reverse, have a rotor, a U-joint, a drive shaft, a propeller, are water-cooled…and are hard-wired to a single transduction system that has short-term memory, is, in itself, fascinating. But then when you step back and look at the genetics in terms of the program, the blueprint, to build it, you find another even greater level of complexity. It’s just not enough to have the fifty genes required. We find that they’re fired, or expressed, in a given sequence. There are checks and balances. If there’s a problem in assembly, that feeds back at a genetic level to shut down expression. There are gate keepers. There is communication molecularly at a significant distance. It’s very intriguing how this system works!”
Phillip Johnson (author of Darwin on Trial) defines Darwinian Evolution and the philosophy of Materialism: “With Darwiniam Evolution, we’re dealing with something that’s much more than a scientific theory; it’s a creation story. In fact it’s the creation myth of our culture. Every culture has a creation myth which tells the people where they came from, what is ultimately real and how they relate to that, and from where they should get their knowledge, their information. Every culture has a priesthood that has custody of this creation story and who relays that knowledge. In our culture, the priesthood is not the clergy, it’s not the ministers in church. It’s the intellectual class, especially the scientists. So, the Darwinian story says that ultimately all that’s real is nature. Nature is all there is, and nature is composed of matter, the particles making up matter, and the energy that physicists study. So, this is a philosophy called naturalism, or Materialism. Since that’s all there is, it follows that matter must have done all the creating that had to be done. That is to say, matter unassisted by God, or any other intelligent force. According to Materialism, a mind can’t exist until it evolves, mindlessly, from matter. It follows that we are the products of an unguided, purposeless, material force which specifically is called Darwinian Evolution when you get to the history of life. We get our information about it, and really information about everything, from science.”
So, to Darwinists, all that matters, is matter! In the review of Biology of Belief (AR Issue #47), we mentioned that Dr. Bruce Lipton, Cellular Biologist, in his video made the point that “Genes cannot control biological expression for a very simple reason—genes can’t turn themselves on and they can’t turn themselves off, so the genes aren’t controlling themselves and they can’t control anything else either.” His experiments showed that our genes adapt to our beliefs. There is more than matter at work! Jay W. Richards, fellow with the pro-intelligent design think tank Discovery Institute, has observed, “After all, only collective amnesia prevents us from recalling that a program requires a programmer.”
Mathematician and philosopher, William Dembski (The Design Inference, Cambridge University) has formalized a reliable, scientific method for detecting designed objects and distinguishing them from the products of chance and impersonal laws.
Paul Nelson (philosopher of biology) believes that it’s just a matter of time until the scientific community begins to recognize Intelligent Design in not just the current circles where it’s taken seriously, but even more broadly. He says, “When it’s accepted as real, the debate will cease and there will be a new foundation. And from that new foundation, we’ll move off into new areas of discovery.”
These guys have it together! The material offered here should be welcomed by anyone seeking truth with an open mind. If you don’t have a vested political interest in Darwinism—Materialism—this is an exciting presentation. If you do, you may object.
Anyone, though, will have to agree that Unlocking the Mystery of Life is a beautiful production with an excellent music score—Sharp! Sharp! Sharp!
DVD – 65 min. plus over 45 min. of extras – $19.95
A.R.E. researchers Greg and Lora Little have been members of the Edgar Cayce Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.) for over twenty years. They began their recent Search-for-Atlantis project in early 2003. The following two DVD documentaries are their “amateur” productions of their fascinating findings. Though, avowedly,“amateur” productions, they still contain some of the most beautifully filmed underwater searches and in-depth information we have seen anywhere and they defy the skeptics. The viewer can enjoy the sights and sounds of the Littles’ trip to the Yucatan, and gain considerable personal insight and understanding into what they were experiencing and discovering during their ambitious, intricate and intriguing field work. One thing is very clear, powerful evidence is rapidly accumulating that, notwithstanding establishment denials, an ancient maritime culture, possibly Atlantis, was indeed in the Bahamas and Caribbean circa 11,000 B.C.
Gregory L. Little, Ed.D.
In 1968, a controversial discovery was made at the small Bahamas island of Bimini. About a mile offshore, a 1600foot-long formation of stone blocks was found on the bottom. Some researchers hailed the discovery as confirmation of a 1940 prophecy by Edgar Cayce, America’s famous “Sleeping Prophet.” In a psychic reading, Cayce stated that a portion of Atlantis would be found in that area in 1968 and 1969. However, three skeptical geologists published articles dismissing the formation as simply natural limestone that had formed on the beach. The original Bimini discovery was called a “hoax” and many people accepted the skeptics’ claims without further question.
In May 2005, as reported in the video, a team of researchers, including archaeologist, William Donato, closely examined the evidence at Bimini and compared the results to the skeptics’ claims. Contrary to claims of the so-called skeptics, an area near the Bimini formation yielded at least eight ancient stone anchors, cut stone blocks, and numerous stone circles. At the Bimini “J-Road” formation, several ancient stone anchors were discovered, along with multiple tiers of stone blocks and mortise cuts on stones. Rectangular slabs of cut stone, used as leveling stones, were found under the large blocks. Clearly these were not of purely natural origin.
After several “skeptics” were contacted, it became clear that a hoax had, indeed, been perpetrated at Bimini—by the debunkers. The video traces the crux of the hoax back to early articles by skeptics and outright false reporting of results!
The evidence convincingly indicates that the Bimini formation was, indeed, an ancient harborwork virtually identical to several that have been found in the Mediterranean. Another formation of stones, at Andros in the Bahamas, is also similar to these Mediterranean harbors.
If you care about the argument over whether Atlantis was real or imagined, you will want this DVD in your library.
DVD – 73 min. – $14.95
Gregory L. Little, Ed.D.
Edgar Cayce told of three identical Halls of Records, which were created to record the history of Atlantis and Mu. These record halls were placed in Egypt, the Bahamas, and the Yucatan. In the 1930s, A.R.E. researchers discovered evidence that the Yucatan Hall of Records was at Piedras Negras, Guatemala, but little other research was done. Now, the A.R.E. is focusing on the Yucatan Hall.
In this documentary, Greg and Lora Little take you to Piedras Negras and discover a probable tunnel system, which possibly leads to the Hall of Records. In addition, they take you to Andros Island where they have discovered a three-tiered underwater platform, as well as to Cerritos Island, a little-known Maya port with a breakwater constructed from beachrock. All of these discoveries are highly anomalous and present major challenges to the establishment, which may be one reason that, so far, they have been met with official silence.
Also featured are special appearances by John Van Auken (“The Lost Hall of Records”) and Andrew Collins (“Gateway to Atlantis”).
DVD – 73 min. – $14.95
FLIGHT FROM DEATH: The Quest for Immortality
Narrated by Gabriel Byrne
Following the work of the late cultural anthropologist, Ernest Becker, and his Pulitzer Prize winning book, Denial of Death, this documentary explores the ongoing research of a group of social psychologists, who over the past twenty-five years has conducted over 300 laboratory studies which substantiate Becker’s claim that death anxiety is a primary motivator of human behavior, specifically aggression and violence. It does not try to tackle the question of what happens after death. It puts forth for discussion normally avoided questions of how death affects the living and allows us to find our own answers.
Dr. Becker came to the realization that psychological inquiry inevitably comes to a dead end beyond which belief systems must be invoked to satisfy the human psyche. The reach of such a perspective consequently encompasses science and religion, even to what Sam Keen suggests is Becker’s greatest achievement, the creation of the Science of Evil. Because of his breadth of vision and avoidance of social science pigeonholes (given the independence of his thinking in the ’60s), Becker was an academic outcast in the last decade of his life. It was only with the award of the Pulitzer Prize in 1974 (two months after his own death from cancer at the age of 49) that his contributions began to be recognized. The second half of his magnum opus, “Escape from Evil,” (1975) developed the social and cultural implications of the concepts explored in the earlier book.
The primary point repeatedly made in this documentary is that death anxiety is a possible root cause of many of our behaviors on a psychological, spiritual, and cultural level. We physical beings, capable of pondering our own death, experience extreme anxiety about our inevitable demise and compensate for it with creativity or destruction.
The research team does offer some intriguing insight, but one is aware while viewing this film of the producer’s attempt to be artsy and create a profound piece of work. While it does succeed on a certain extent, it left this reviewer wanting more—maybe a wider variety of experts and more insightful, in-depth input.
This seven-time Best Documentary Award-winning project was filmed over three years in eight different countries. While some people may find certain parts a bit morbid, in general this information isn’t presented in a somber, sullen tone. Its overall production quality is excellent, though the interspersed, archived footage is, of course, of a lesser quality.
DVD – 86 min. – $19.95