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creationfilm211209It’s been one of those rollercoaster weeks for fans of intelligence in the U.S. On Wednesday, we watched a US President deploying bone-crushing intelligence and rhetorical gifts in pursuit of progress in health care policy, one of the most pressing moral issues of our time.

Now there’s this:

New Charles Darwin film is ‘too controversial’ for religious American audiences
Daily Mail Reporter (UK)
12th September 2009

A new British film about Charles Darwin has failed to land a distribution deal in the States because his theories on human evolution are too controversial for religious American audiences, according to the film’s producer.

Creation follows the British naturalist’s ‘struggle between faith and reason’ as he wrote his 1859 book, On The Origin Of The Species.

The film, directed by Jon Amielm, was chosen to open the Toronto Film Festival and has now been sold to almost every territory in the world.

But US distributors have turned down the film that could cause uproar in a country that, on the whole, dismisses scientific theories of the way we evolved.

Christian film review website Movieguide.org described Darwin as ‘a racist, a bigot and a 1800s naturalist whose legacy is mass murder.’

The site also stated that his ‘half-baked theory’ influenced Adolf Hitler and led to ‘atrocities, crimes against humanity, cloning and generic engineering.’

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.

‘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.’

I suppose it’s time to change the last few seconds of the trailer to “Not coming anytime soon.”

CONSOLATIONS
One of the most beautiful and creative websites I’ve ever seen
A marvelous review by the incomparable Eugenie Scott
Roger Ebert waxes rhapsodic about Darwin
Darwin in five minutes

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Dale McGowan is the author of Parenting Beyond Belief, Raising Freethinkers, and Atheism for Dummies. He holds a BA in evolutionary anthropology and a PhD in music.