The Voyage That Shook the World: An Interview with Carl Wieland
- Monday, November 16, 2009
Dr. Carl Wieland, managing director of Creation Ministries International, answers a few questions regarding Darwin and the release of The Voyage That Shook the World. The prospect of such a film airing on network television is incredibly significant. Especially in this "Year of Darwin," the underlying evolutionary beliefs of much of the populace will rise to the surface and perhaps be more vulnerable to scrutiny. The timing of the release of the movie is excellent in hopes of achieving that goal.
TOS: From what we gather, the approach of this movie is to use the voyage of the HMS Beagle itself as a backdrop for a critique of the theory of evolution. But what is unheard of in a film made for mainstream television is that Biblical history is offered as a real and better alternative for explaining the observational evidence Darwin encountered on his voyage. How do you intend to get this out to the worldwide audience? It seems like TV networks would want to stonewall such openly Christian material.
Dr. Wieland: That is really the point. We had to make it subtle yet powerful so that it would be seen as fair and not just a tub-thumping polemic. It is almost like a "neutral" narrator exploring the issue. Things like the Flood and our descent from Adam and Eve are mentioned because of the historical content (i.e. these were the sorts of things that were being opposed by Darwinism), but by showing the shortcomings of the evidence at crucial points, people are led to think about alternatives, like "Maybe the Bible was right all along?" It has to be a soft sell, yet without being "mealy-mouthed." It would be misleading to say that it is "openly Christian." If it were a pro-Christian plug, it would not get past first base. Simply by being open-minded, something is electrifying to a pro-Darwin-conditioned world. It's hard to explain—you really have to see how it does it.
We have it in the hands of several broadcast buyers. We hope they will understand that the touch of controversy it explores will be a "plus." There will be immense pressure on them not to screen it, of course, which is why we want them to at least make their commercial decisions about broadcast before the word gets out as to who is behind it.
TOS: In making a film such as The Voyage That Shook the World, a great deal of care must be taken to represent the historical character, in this case, Charles Darwin, as he actually was, and not a caricature. A running debate has been as to whether (1) Darwin was an honest scientist sincerely seeking to understand truth, or (2) that he was anti-religiously motivated, intentionally and consciously trying to undermine belief in God. First of all, how significant do you think the answer to that question should be for people considering the claims of evolution? In other words, if we discovered, as the film contends, that Darwin had antireligious sentiments, should that fact cause us even greater pause in our judgment of the theory itself? Second, I'm curious to know how you would respond to the oft-asked question, "If Darwin knew then what we know now (regarding, say, the paucity of transitional form candidates or the complexity of biochemical systems), would he have scrapped his theory?"
Dr. Wieland: Ultimately, truth claims should be evaluated independent of the motives or character of the person who puts them forward. Copernicus put forward the heliocentric model of the solar system, it now appears, because of the very much pagan mystical Hermetical writings, which gave the sun a godlike status. But that doesn't change the fact that Copernicus seems to have been right. The great chemist Kekulé dreamed of snakes to come up with his ideas of the structure of the benzene ring—but he turns out to be right. Darwin was right about natural selection, but he was wrong about common descent.
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