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Cambrian Explosion Caught on Film

An explosion is coming: a devastating blast against Darwinism in the form of a dynamite new film from Illustra Media: Darwin’s Dilemma: The Mystery of the Cambrian Fossil Record. The Cambrian explosion, which Darwin admitted was the greatest challenge to his theory, has not been solved in the 150 years since The Origin.  In fact, it has gotten much worse.  This film does more than demolish a defunct idea.  It offers the only alternative that does explain the sudden appearance of all the animal phyla: intelligent design.

The content and delivery are both outstanding–the interviews with Paul Nelson, Jonathan Wells, Steve Meyer, Doug Axe, Paul Chien and Richard Sternberg all deliver an irrefutable case for ID.  Cambrian experts Simon Conway Morris and James Valentine are treated respectfully.  The case builds and accelerates toward the end with so many independent arguments, poor Darwin is just left mumbling at the end, “I can give no satisfactory answer.”   (This is not exactly the party he wanted on his 200th birthday, but history and the facts of science have more important work to do. )

The film is also visually beautiful (watch the trailer).  Majestic scenes of the Canadian Rockies alternate with vivid new animations of Cambrian animals.  This film has more original animations than any previous Illustra project, all detailed and credible.  The entire production is edited with Illustra’s trademark finesse, and powerfully enhanced by another original score by Mark Lewis, one of the most creative musicians in film.  It’s a work of art as much as a documentary.

The film is due for release on Sept. 15 (see order page).  Once in distribution, it completes a very powerful trilogy by Illustra on the case for intelligent design and the demise of Darwinism, coming from three independent directions.  Unlocking the Mystery of Life delivered the left hook from biology.  The Privileged Planet delivered the right punch from astronomy.  And now, Darwin’s Dilemma is the pile driver from paleontology, leaving Darwin’s legacy buried in the rocks, where it will fossilize for the museums of a more enlightened age.

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47 Responses to Cambrian Explosion Caught on Film

  1. Awsome! Can’t wait for this!

    “This documentary will examine what many consider to be the most powerful refutation of Darwinian evolution—the Cambrian fossil record.”

    Note: This will NOT be a “problem” for true believers of evolution. lol.

    Because, nothing ever is. Or will be for that matter.

  2. Oops, I guess I should have said ‘nothing’ is a problem for evolution.

  3. It offers the only alternative that does explain the sudden appearance of all the animal phyla: intelligent design.

    Does that mean that it documents original research, or new discoveries by IDists? Or is this just another salvo in the culture wars?

  4. Learned Hand,

    Does your question mean that you’re just trying to stir up trouble on this forum or that you simply fail to see the pathetic state in which Darwin’s theory finds itself, independent of ID or the culture wars?

  5. David, how long did the explosion last?

  6. Wow! I just watched the trailer. It’s so beautiful, it’s scary. It’s great to see that science is not the exclusive domain of Darwinists, atheists and materialists as some have been desperately trying to promote.

    I sense a coming explosion of a different kind, a paradigm shifting explosion a la Thomas Kuhn. I sense excitement in the air for some and gloom for some others.

    PS. to moderators: Por favor, release me from my shackles.

  7. Billb,

    David, how long did the explosion last?

    No doubt at least 3 orders of magnitude greater than the age of the earth according to Paul Nelson, who is featured in the film.

  8. Wasn’t there another film about Darwin that was being produced in Australia? Or is this the same thing? This looks different from the other one discussed here a couple months ago.

  9. Whether it be the fine-tuning of the laws of the universe for life, the complex, error-detecting-and-repairing, information-processing machinery of the cell, or the overwhelming, persistent, and undeniable testimony of the fossil record that new life forms appear suddenly, persist for a while, and then disappear only to be replaced by another discontinuous biological saltation (except for sharks and some other creatures, which mysteriously never evolved), the battle cry of the materialist and Darwinist is always the same:

    “Our hypotheses are correct. The evidence is wrong. Just give us more time and we’ll prove it to you.”

    I’m sorry folks, but the hypotheses are wrong and the evidence is right.

  10. Jerry, That was called “the voyage which shook the World” It is a documentary about Darwin’s voyage to South America. I saw the film and can recommend it. Apparently he was a geologist at first and was heavily influenced by Lyell’s uniformitarian geology which coloured his thinking about biology.

  11. Sure, Gildodgen.

    I’m sorry folks, but the hypotheses are wrong and the evidence is right.”

    The problem is that our society is sunk too deep in materialism and freedom to accept design and, consequently, to consider again the dread possibility of being watched from outside.

    It seems like many people feel protected by assertions like “Keep on, folks. Spirituality is just illusion, tradition, anything but reality, hence, it’s nothing which may change your liberty to draw your own principles”. By the way, why do the “quantum inner god” ideas apparently acquire better acceptance?

    Finally, aren’t we reaching times when dramatic changes can be seen in the horizon? I mean, if existence of life has a purpose, and if consciousness has a purpose, than human society has a purpose… If the designer of these things have proven so intelligent in his previous projects, would he let humanity to be a failure? Or should he make known (or have made known) his directives for a peaceful world? As more people recognize ID as reality, spirituality will not stand as mere tradition forever. People will be seeking spirituality as they seek knowledge. And well, we know multiple *realities* don’t co-exist. So, times may be coming when we will converge to a final and unique understanding of the way of living which was intended to the designed humanity, and, in an ideal scenario, divisions between people will have no place anymore. Well, I think this would be an even greater demonstration of intelligence of the designer than the making of life and universe, and everybody would inevitably bow down in awe before him.

    Sorry for my bad English and for getting off the topic. :0)

    Regards.

  12. Q: Why did so much diverse life appear on Earth within such a relatively short amount of time?

    A: Someone wanted it to.

  13. Precisely.

  14. Lenoxus,

    Changing oxygen levels might have had something to do with it. Oxygen is very good for energetic reactions and having plenty of it helps if you want to build complex energy consuming bodies.

    Q: Someone wanted diverse life to appear on Earth within a relatively short amount of time.

    B: Why?

  15. BillB:

    Changing oxygen levels might have had something to do with it.

    What are you talking about? No matter what material explanation you pursue, it will come to nothing. See how much time I saved you? And they call ID a science stopper! ;)

    In seriousness, it’s a good question why the explosion, so far as we can tell, took any time at all. The fact that it occurred over millions of years suggests that the designer used material means anyway (like adding oxygen to the atmosphere) or at least means that can be described logically.

    Edson:

    if existence of life has a purpose, and if consciousness has a purpose, than human society has a purpose… If the designer of these things have proven so intelligent in his previous projects, would he let humanity to be a failure?

    That’s a very interesting question if taken non-rhetorically. How do we know, one way or the other? If one believes in the Fall as a cause of evil on Earth, then in a sense, the creator already let humankind “be a failure”.

    In any case, what does the “purpose”/”meaning” of something have to do with whether it was created by a being? Wouldn’t anything with complex emotions and thoughts have purpose in any given universe?

    Conversely, if I created a universe from scratch, would I get to make up its “purpose”? Ignore for this question that I can’t create a universe from scratch, and that I myself was created (in the telic view of things).

  16. Excellent work guys. Congrats to everyone involved at Illustra Media and all associated with this important endeavor to fight back in the media with truth.

    And thanks to David Coppedge for all you do.

    You do a fantastic job at Creation Safaris. I recommend everyone curious about the truth of current science and published papers check his site. He rolls out information almost daily now for how long?

    He points out the hypocrisy, the inconsistency, the unscientific story-telling and the outright lunacy at times by materialist and atheist who struggle to hold onto their Darwinian religion.

    Creation Safaris

    The millions of dollars in grant money David gets from the government sure gives him to much power. Its just not fair to the Darwinist that one man have so much power.

    You should be censored like Dr. Sternberg. Where are the Orwellian Thought minders and fascist when we need them?

    Hello, NCSE?

  17. 16

    DATCG

    I would say DITTOS to that!

  18. It is not just that the tremendous variety of body plans appeared but also that there was little diversity within each body plan. The diversity took place much later, millions of years later. It was like there was some computer program figuring out what could possible work and then spitting out a prototype of each. The phyla were like trial balloons sent out to see what would work.

    The Darwin killer is not just the different body plans but the lack of variety within each phyla. Something no gradual process would produce. You would expect to see the body plans emerging over time if Darwin’s ideas had any merit. But what you have is a “poof.”

  19. “Lenoxus” (#15) wrote: “The fact that it (the Cambrian “Explosion”) occurred over millions of years suggests that the designer used material means anyway (like adding oxygen to the atmosphere)…

    So where did all the oxygen come from? Was it from the Vapor Canopy? Or did it come from the Fountains of the Deep?

  20. 20

    BillB: The length of the explosion is discussed in the film. I don’t want to reveal the plot. The question is a red herring, anyway. How many show-stoppers does it take to stop a show? Just one. Illustra provided three. There’s nothing left at Down House Theater but a smoking crater, with a few groupies inhaling the smoke and hallucinating about visions of Popeye (trilobite eyes popping out of nowhere). Go across town where the ID theater is bringing Down the House.

  21. This is very exciting. Thanks for the detailed description. I am REALLY jazzed to go see this movie now! I’m going to try to go see it on opening weekend, since a good box office encourages theater owners to keep the movie longer. Let’s all do that, and maybe take some friends as well.

  22. 22

    Sorry, feebish, I was speaking figuratively about theaters. This is not a theatrical release. It’s the kind of DVD you buy and watch at home, though some TV stations may air it like PBS did with other Illustra documentaries, and some independent theaters might pick it up. Eventually it may show up on Illustra’s YouTube site. For best picture and sound, though, you’ll want to buy the DVD and watch it on a high-def set with surround sound.

    I expect Illustra will eventually package quicksleeve sets of the film that can be purchased in quantity at reduced price for ministries and organizations to distribute, not for resale, but to get the message out. Sets of the trilogy would be great handouts to college students!

    BTW, I’ve seen the main film, but the final DVD will contain additional bonus features that are sure to be icing on the cake.

  23. jerry:

    You would expect to see the body plans emerging over time if Darwin’s ideas had any merit.

    What would a partially-formed body plan look like, I wonder? I contend that it would look like a whole body plan.

    PaulBurnett:

    So where did all the oxygen come from?

    My understanding is that it would have come from plants extracting it from the atmosphere, just as they do today. So where did the plants come from? Excellent question, to which I believe the scientific answer is that a being of some sort wanted them to exist, and subsequently caused them to.

    David Coppedge:

    How many show-stoppers does it take to stop a show? Just one. Illustra provided three.

    But you guys don’t just want to stop a show — you want to start one! That’s why the question is important. Given that the explosion occurred over millions of years, what does this tell us about the designer(s), their motives, or their means?

    By the way, that is a very nice-looking preview. I would totally see the movie if just for the animation.

  24. Hi Jerry,

    It is not just that the tremendous variety of body plans appeared but also that there was little diversity within each body plan. The diversity took place much later, millions of years later.

    Could you elaborate on this a little bit, perhaps provide a reference?

  25. “What would a partially-formed body plan look like, I wonder? I contend that it would look like a whole body plan.”

    I have no idea what a partially formed body plan would look like.

    “Could you elaborate on this a little bit, perhaps provide a reference?”

    James Valentine. The Origin of Phyla.

  26. David Coppedge @ 20

    BillB: The length of the explosion is discussed in the film.

    I hope the film is quicker than the event because 80 million years is a REALLY SLOW explosion.

    How many show-stoppers does it take to stop a show?

    For a show lasting 80 million years, any audience would probably be begging for it to stop. Although, at that length, any audience would have been dead in their seats from old age before the curtain went up.

    Go across town where the ID theater is bringing Down the House.

    Spoken like a true Barnumian.

  27. jerry:

    I have no idea what a partially formed body plan would look like.

    I had used that phrase based on my interpretation of your words “You would expect to see the body plans emerging over time”. I think that’s usually what is meant by that particular criticism of Darwinism — that all the organisms in the fossil record are “fully formed” when they should be “half-formed”.

    The linked Illustra page more or less makes this claim with the statement (emphasis added by me):

    Instead, we find a picture of the rapid appearance of fully developed, complex organisms during the outset of the Cambrian geological era.”

    Most biologists, I think, would contend that all organisms past and present are fully developed, no matter what, and there’s no clear reason to expect otherwise.

    Regarding the “slow explosion” claim I and others here have been making. I’m suddenly feeling like a devil’s advocate and wondering something: How do we know the process of life-forming didn’t take, say, a single year, and that the later remnants just happened not to fossilize until later?

    I guess, come to think of it, that’s a stupid question, but I’m hitting “submit” anyway.

  28. Lenoxus,

    I suggest you read some popular accounts of the Cambrian Explosion. Your interpretation of my comments indicates a lack of understanding. No one is hypothesizing half formed body plans, certainly not me.

    I do not know if you are familiar with Flash animation but there is a procedure where you can take two shapes that are quite different and you can have the program morph one into the other and you can witness each intermediary state. If body plan A somehow becomes body plan B over time, then like the tweening procedure in Flash you should be able to witness the intermediates. None exist. There is just A and B.

    According to Darwin’s ideas, all species are fully formed at every moment of their existence (not counting ill formed members of a species. ) The concept of half formed does not exist so I do not know where you came up with it. When someone uses the term “fully formed” they just mean that the final form exists only and no predecessors or intermediaries..

    All the phyla of the Cambrian appeared out of no where as opposed to being the end point of some sequence of population changes over time with many small changes leading to the final form (no tweening.) They poofed. They appeared in their final form with no predecessors as predicted by Darwin. No other naturalistic theory explains it either.

    “Most biologists, I think, would contend that all organisms past and present are fully developed, no matter what, and there’s no clear reason to expect otherwise.”

    And I agree as I just said. But these biologists also expect predecessors or intermeidates. There were none.

    As to your final question. There is no reason that all the Cambrian Explosion could not have been a really short time. Just our records and our ability to date the rocks is not that precise. Could it have happened in a thousand years, a year, a week, an instant. Possibly but it also could have happened over 4-5 million years. The data is not that precise. It all depends on when something gets fossilized and the errors in the estimating the exact age of the strata.

    I suggest you read more about the Cambrian. There are articles of different levels and ARN has some videos.

  29. Jerry,

    Could you elaborate on this a little bit, perhaps provide a reference?”

    James Valentine. The Origin of Phyla.

    Are you talking about the decline of genera and family diversity in the Lower Cambrian?

  30. jerry writes:

    All the phyla of the Cambrian appeared out of no where as opposed to being the end point of some sequence of population changes over time with many small changes leading to the final form (no tweening.) They poofed. They appeared in their final form with no predecessors as predicted by Darwin. No other naturalistic theory explains it either.

    This not universally accepted. For example, Graham Budd notes:

    The pattern demonstrated by the Cambrian fauna (early taxa being problematic at high levels in a taxonomic hierarchy) therefore seems to be explicable by recourse to the stem-/crown-group division, rather than to any particular evolutionary mechanism. It is unfortunate, however, that this conceptual framework has been very slow in gaining acceptance, perhaps because of the vigorous espousal of what might be called the “classical view” by Gould (1989) . This work did more than any others, perhaps, in promulgating the view that the patterns demonstrated by Cambrian fossils implied rapid appearance of many high-level taxa without precedents; perhaps implying unusual evolutionary mechanisms as a result.

    And this:

    The combination of important refinements in the treatment of the systematics of Cambrian fossils, and in our understanding of Cambrian stratigraphy is leading to a more precise view of the Cambrian explosion. Phyla do not appear in a sudden jumble, implying an appearance in the fossil record induced by some external influence (e.g., a rise in atmospheric oxygen levels) that allowed a standing diversity already present to be manifested in the record. Rather, the impression rather is of a rapid, but nevertheless resolvable and orderly appearance, starting with the earliest skeletal forms such as Cloudina that are reasonably assignable to a diploblast grade (i.e., stem- or crown-group cnidarians or basal stem-group bilaterians). These are followed by taxa that lie in basal positions within bilaterian clades, and (in general) considerably later by representatives of the crown-groups of phyla. Revisions to the Cambrian time-scale allow a moderately long period of time, some tens of millions of years, between the first likely bilaterian trace fossils, and the general appearance of crown-group members of the phyla

    Budd GE (2003). The Cambrian Fossil record and the origin of the phyla. Integrative and Comparative Biology 43(1):157-165

    Free full text is here:

    http://icb.oxfordjournals.org/.....l/43/1/157

  31. Does anybody remember Illustra Media’s previous video, “Unlocking the Mystery of Life” and how it was received?

  32. Many creationist/ID videos on the Cambrian explosions mention how many forms of animals were first seen in the Cambrian, yet fail to define what a ‘form’ is.

    Since this video is marketed to non-scientists, does it actually mention that
    tunicates (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi.....obgood.jpg),jpg
    lancelets (http://content5.eol.org/conten....._large.jpg),
    hagfish(http://www.itsnature.org/wp-co.....agfish.jpg ),
    lampreys, fish, amphibians, reptile, birds and humans all have the same ‘form’ by this definition.

    Also, does the video mention that there are no “grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth”, even though there are plenty of creatures,such as jawless fish, in the sea.

  33. Messed up the urls, oh well here is the tunicate, which is of the same ‘form’ as humans.

    Tunicates

    .

  34. “hdx” (#32) commented: “Many creationist/ID videos on the Cambrian explosions mention how many forms of animals were first seen in the Cambrian, yet fail to define what a ‘form’ is.

    A “form” is like a “kind” – there’s one “kind” of bacteria, one “kind” of beetle, and so on. See http://creationwiki.org/Baraminology

  35. “This not universally accepted”

    Of course it cannot be accepted. Otherwise it would destroy their world view. So they have to speculate and try to order things as best the can.

    The question is do they have a progression in the fossil record leading up to the appearance of each phyla, And They don’t. If the process was Darwinian then there would be a wide variety of options leading up to the various body plans. But it is just the opposite.

    Quote as many as you want. But show the evidence of the progression or the predecessors of the Cambrian phyla. As far as I know, no one has done that. Why don’t you read the Meyers article in the Smithsonian journal that caused all the commotion in order to help you on this.

  36. @34 PaulBurnett

    A “form” is like a “kind” – there’s one “kind” of bacteria, one “kind” of beetle, and so on.

    This clearly contradicts what Jonathon Wells says- During the Cambrian explosion “most of the major forms of animals appear” (See Cambrian explosion vs evolution by HighFlyingDutchman on YouTube)

    By this definition it is not the same kind (since most current kinds were not around during the Cambrian).

  37. I’m pretty sure that YECs have, in principle, little use for the Cambrian explosion. In the YEC timeline, all forms appeared within a single week, shortly after which death entered the world. If the Cambrian explosion were valid evidence for YEC, it would include representatives from every known baramin. For a bunch of weird now-extinct sea-going creatures to appear, followed by further variety only much, much later (Saturday?) doesn’t fit very well with Genesis.

  38. Good shot Lenoxus. When all else fails enter the world of religion. Yes the Cambrian is a problem for YEC’s as it is a problem for Darwinists. But now that it is so obviously embarrassing for Darwinists, let’s divert the discussion to a religious one.

    SOP

  39. I’m pretty sure Wells equates ‘form’ with ‘phylum’.

  40. jerry: Yes, my bad. I didn’t think I was bringing up something new, because I was thrown off by the discussion of “kinds”. I now see that the person mentioning it is by no means a YEC. Whoops!

    Anyway, getting back to the Cambrian… hmm, so the problem is mainly the lack of intermediates? Or would the appearances of all those phyla still be a problem if enough intermediates were found?

  41. “Or would the appearances of all those phyla still be a problem if enough intermediates were found?”

    Of course not. Just one hint at a possible mechanism or a shadow of a possible intermediary would be enough to change all the textbooks and curriculum to say that the Cambrian is completely explained and for them to say “Next.” Amazing science, evolutionary biology.

    Of course you would have the occasional skeptic but they could be dealt with in the usual ways.

  42. OP,

    “Unlocking the Mystery of Life delivered the left hook from biology. The Privileged Planet delivered the right punch from astronomy. And now, Darwin’s Dilemma is the pile driver from paleontology…”

    Don’t we all love trilogies? I know I do! Especially comedies!

  43. MeaganC, watching Shrek too much has muddled your mind.

  44. Arn’t most species from the precambrian layers extinct?

    Just playing devils advocate here, but why make something “intelligently” that pretty much completly dies out a few years latter?

    Seems pretty random and fickle, not intelligent. Can we more on to more moving arguments?

  45. Qrewtix,

    This is just a version of “God wouldn’t of done it that way” type argument.

    It is an argument from fallacy.

    http://triablogue.blogspot.com.....llacy.html

    Also see Appeal to Consequences of a Belief

    http://www.nizkor.org/features.....ences.html

    But your right, your attempt at playing devils advocate was not exactly thinking clearly. So lets move on to more moving arguments.

  46. Qrewtix:

    Just playing devils advocate here, but why make something “intelligently” that pretty much completly dies out a few years latter?

    At this point, in the modern ID synthesis, I’m pretty sure the designer has been explicitly defined as incapable of foreseeing extinction-causing disasters. (That and its inability to foresee and prevent disease-causing mutations.)

  47. “At this point, in the modern ID synthesis, I’m pretty sure the designer has been explicitly defined as incapable of foreseeing extinction-causing disasters.”

    Interesting. Where has that been ‘explicitly defined’? I just assume the designer could do with the design as He/she/it desired. Maybe I’m wrong and ID has shown the designer incapable of dealing with what was designed. Show me teh money!

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