by Peter Rasmussen

Flock of Dodos

Posted by Peter Rasmussen on March 6, 2007

Flock of Dodos is a new documentary directed by marine biologist/filmmaker Randy Olson.

It’s an even-handed look at the fight between proponents of intelligent design and scientists defending the theory of evolution.

Randy Olson is himself a scientist. He has a natural bias in favour of scientific reason. But in making the doco he realised how bad the public relations of the scientists is. When they are forced to explain what they do to lay people they can get very condescending.

As unbelievably irritating as I find the whole intelligent design argument, it may be quite a healthy thing for scientists to have to explain their work in ways other people can understand.

Personally I find that taking an elusive concept and framing it in a way that can be easily communicated often gives me a new perspective on things I thought I knew inside out.

I remember a friend talking about the frustration of teaching someone how to play a card game. He rattled off all this jargon specific to cards saying they didn’t know any of it. I had to confess I didn’t know the actual meaning of most of the terms he was using. I found myself saying, “You have to understand their ignorance.”


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