Discoveroids — Disney, Darwin, & Indiana Jones

We are so desperate for material today that we’re revisiting stuff we looked at and rejected yesterday. That’s why we’re looking again at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog, where they wrote: A Disney Darwin Is Coming.

To know that they’re talking about, let’s start with this article from a few days ago in Variety, a leading news source for the entertainment industry: Charles Darwin Movie in the Works at Disney, which informs us:

Disney has launched development on a Charles Darwin movie with Stephen Gaghan on board to direct from his own screenplay. The studio acquired an untitled pitch from Gaghan, whose credits include [we don’t care].


Jeremy Thomas produced a Darwin movie, 2009’s “Creation,” starring real-life spouses Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany. That film, directed by Jon Amiel, focused on Darwin and his family as he struggled to finish “On the Origin of Species.” … [It] grossed less than $1 million worldwide.

We wrote about that one a few times. At first it had problems finding a distributor in the US — see Creation, the Movie: Expelled from the USA. Our final post was Creation: 3rd Weekend Box Office Results.

Okay, here’s what the Discoveroids say about the new film — or possibility of a film — with bold font added by us:

There’s already an element of the fairy tale in the beguiling Darwinian story of evolution, so perhaps a Disney Darwin isn’t all that shocking an idea. It’s evidently on the way, according to the Independent, “Charles Darwin Disney film: Adventure movie will give naturalist the Indiana Jones treatment.”

The article to which the Discoveroids refer doesn’t give any sources describing the contents of the proposed film. All they do is mention Darwin’s well-known voyage aboard the Beagle when he was a young man. The Indiana Jones talk seems to be pure speculation. Nevertheless, the Discoveroids accept it as an accurate description of the film. Then they say:

Wait a minute. Disney perhaps. But Indiana Jones? That is absolutely ridiculous. They seem to have the wrong one of the two co-discoverers of the theory of evolution. For a character worthy of Harrison Ford, surely it’s Alfred Russel Wallace that you want, not Darwin.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Wallace is the Discoveroids’ favorite “evolutionist,” because late in life he lost his mind and descended into mysticism — see Discoveroids Adopt Alfred Wallace as Godfather. Let’s read on:

Of course Disney has always excelled at fantasy and comedy, and this is surely both. Here we have a man who skirted the coast of various continents for a few years with Captain Fitzroy versus a man who lived literally by his wits with native peoples in South America and throughout the Malay Archipelago. The juxtaposition is a simple one, and readily quantifiable.

[*Groan*] Darwin’s five-year ’round the world voyage on the HMS Beagle — a wooden sailing ship — was a considerable adventure, during which he did extensive exploration at various exotic stops along the way. He also did field work both before and after that voyage. Although Wallace may have spent even more time in field gathering specimens, suggesting that Darwin was nothing more than an effete intellectual is utterly inaccurate.

Then, although the Discoveroids always cast themselves as opponents of the political left, they attack Darwin because of his family’s prosperity:

Darwin’s voyage on The Beagle was paid for by his father (around 600 pounds worth).


Does this sound anything like an Indiana Jones?

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Indiana Jones didn’t pay for any of his fictional adventures. They were all subsidized — either by his university or other benefactors. And all of the artifacts he pursued seemed to have mystical implications. We continue:

In contrast, Wallace, by and large, paid his own way with the specimens he collected and sent off to his agent Samuel Stevens back in England. For Darwin, collecting was a fascination underwritten by his father, Dr. Robert Darwin. For Wallace collecting was a passion and a livelihood fueled by his own hard work.

That’s true, but irrelevant. By the way, do the Discoveroids pay for their own creationist activities? Hint — no, they don’t. Here’s more:

Darwin amassed nothing approaching [the number of specimens collected by Wallace]. Wallace’s massive collecting reflects a man in need of an income — no specimens meant no sales. Darwin’s comparatively smaller scale collecting reflect the interests of hobbyist with the leisure of an independent income. Which do you think represents the more independent adventurous spirit?

That’s a brilliant method for evaluating the merits of Darwin’s work. Anyway, that’s how the Discoveroids are thinking about the movie project being considered by Disney. Impressive, isn’t it?

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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21 responses to “Discoveroids — Disney, Darwin, & Indiana Jones

  1. Ha. If Disney made a movie about Wallace, which might be an interesting adventure film, if would be about Wallace discovering evidence supporting evolution and his correspondence and work with Darwin. If any scenes included his musing on the implications of the abundant observations he made, and his determination that life evolved – audiences that might have been on the fence about evolution could be persuaded to accept it. Is that really what the Discoveroids want? Certainly no film about Wallaces adventures in the prime of his life and intellectual ability would even mention ID, much less give it any support.

  2. docbill1351

    Pure Klinkleberry. Short man disease coupled with a massive inferiority complex and a lifetime of self-loathing. “I was a pariah…” Klinkles once wrote. Most people aspire to be more than that but at least Klopperflopper achieved his life’s ambition.

  3. Oh please! NOT BLOODY DISNEY!!!

  4. Derek Freyberg

    There isn’t a Disney movie about Wallace, at least not that I know of, but the New York Times posted a short animated movie about him in November 2013 (the centenary of his death):
    Note that the NYT points out what the Discoveroids would rather not have you know, that Wallace actually wrote a book entitled “Darwinism”, in support of evolution, in 1899 – but then again the Discoveroids are not renowned for their intellectual honesty.

  5. Of course the Institutionalized are kinder to Wallace than to Darwin, because the former, unlike the latter, hedged his bets by saying that whatever might be true of the human body, the human mind had to be of supernatural origin.

    I wonder whether they’d be quite so generous to Wallace if they knew he also advocated spiritualism. After all, the Bible is not kind to those who communicate with spirits.

  6. @Eric Lipps
    But then the Bible is not kind to people who add to what is said in the Bible (the last verse in the New Testament). That does not stop anyone from making stuff up.

  7. Due to the pure stupidity and sneering nature (and no byline) I was going to guess that this article was written by Denyse O’Sneery, but then it used somebig words so I’m at a loss.

  8. I wonder whether they’d be quite so generous to Wallace if they knew he also advocated spiritualism.

    I’m regularly amazed by the inconsistencies of YECs and IDers when labelling allies and foes. For example, fundamentalist and evangelical Christians usually adamantly condemn “Moonies” (followers of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon) as a cult guilty of the worst blasphemy and hell-bound false teachings. Yet, they gladly embrace, quote, and praise The Discovery Institute’s Dr. Jonathan Wells, even though fully aware that Rev. Moon personally chose, ordained, and subsidized Dr. Jonathan Wells’ doctoral education so that he could combat The Theory of Evolution–all for the purpose of paving the way for greater acceptance of Moon-ism in the USA and throughout the world. Similarly, fundamentalist Christians condemn Seventh Day Adventism as a dangerous, works-based cult which promotes the visions and prophecies of Ellen White as a false gospel. Yet, the book which launched the “creation science” movement, The Genesis Flood carefully laundered and mainstreamed SDA views on origins for acceptance in the evangelical world. YECs continue to quote SDA professors and even SDA “celebrities” like Dr. Ben Carson. (Many YECs laud Carson as their favorite candidate for President of the United States, despite having refused to vote for Mitt Romney “because Mormons are a dangerous cult.”) Michael Behe remains a hero of IDers and many YECs despite affirming Common Descent through evolutionary processes.

    Therefore, I doubt that awareness of Wallace’s spiritualism would make all that much difference when it comes to generating and copy-and-pasting useful propaganda. After all, the alchemist and occultism-driven Isaac Newton was about as heretical in terms of Fundamentalist theology as one can get, yet he remains a great “hero of the faith” as a favorite example of a Bible-affirming Christian “creationist” who pioneered modern science. I guess purity of Christian credentials takes a backseat when the pragmatics of propaganda and quote-mining are at stake.

    Likewise, when the same people want to discredit some historical figure, only the tiniest infraction of minor doctrinal or perceived ethical shortfall is sufficient for writing them off entirely, no matter what their discoveries or virtuous accomplishments. In Charles Darwin’s case, many YECs have told me that the phrase “the Preservation of Favoured Races” in the title of his most famous tome disqualifies his science as hopelessly “racist”. (Of course, explaining to them that English-speakers in Darwin’s day used “race” as a synonym of “variety”, as in “the preservation of more successful animal varieties” gets blank stares. Sadly, it has become yet another example of pathological lying in their propaganda.)

    So I find it interesting how so many fundamentalist Christians put all other of their usual prohibitions and priorities aside when their view of Genesis and origins is at stake. In the 1960’s fundamentalists and evangelicals deplored what they described as the dangerous rise of “situation ethics” in American society. Yet, when I confronted YEC speakers/authors backstage about their dishonest quote-mines, misuse of scientific terms, misrepresentations of scientific laws and theories, or I reminded them that they had disingenuously promised the conference audience that specific erroneous footnotes in their books exposed in the Q&A session would be “corrected in the next edition”, they spun the kinds of excuses and bizarre justifications one would expect of pre-adolescents caught fibbing. “Atheist evolutionists lie all the time so why don’t you complain about them?” and “We are fighting a war with eternal stakes and you are obsessing on trivial details!” disregarded my pleas for the honesty Jesus expected of his truth-seeking followers. Today, the movement’s leaders would simply call me “a compromising Christian” at best or “an evil Satan-led atheist masquerading as a Christian to deceive the genuine Christians” at worst. )

    It was the blatant dishonesty of the early “creation science” movement that frustrated me most. Yet, today’s full-time professional YECists and IDists lie so pathologically that what I observed in the 1960’s and 1970’s seems quite modest in comparison. That’s not to say that the average, overly trusting, rank-and-file follower of origins industry celebrities understands the dishonesty of their favorite copy-and-pastes. On the other hand, countless Matthew 18:15 confrontations of YEC and ID leaders make them fully culpable for their disregard of the evidence and deliberately deceptive quote-mines. And the “materialist atheist scientists” don’t pose a threat to science education and sound public policy based on a science-literate electorate.

  9. Imagine good old Charlie D. getting the full Pocahontas treatment in an ANIMATED Disney movie. I see him surrounded by a swarm of talking, singing Galapagos finches as he bursts into a ballad about the wonders of Natural Selection.

  10. michaelfugate


  11. “There’s already an element of the fairy tale in the beguiling Darwinian story of evolution, so perhaps a Disney Darwin isn’t all that shocking an idea.”
    Well then, one notices even Disney hasn’t had the cojones to take on the
    Discoveroids leading mystic, Behe. Waaay too far out there.
    And quote mining Wallace only works with droolers. His observation that primates never made it across the oceanic trenches from SE Asia to Australia was amazing.

  12. Megalonyx:
    “Oh please! NOT BLOODY DISNEY!!!”

    If the movie’s any good, you may want to change your avatar.
    Curmie — First paragraph:
    “That’s why we’ve [we’re] looking again at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog…”

    (I’ve moonlighted as a proofreader. I. Can’t. Help. It.)

  13. retiredsciguy, thanks. Typo’s been fixed.

  14. Pope Retiredsciguy challenges me:

    If the movie’s any good, you may want to change your avatar.

    Yes–and if the Discoveroids ever produced solid empirical evidence for Intelligent Design, I would also change my opinion accordingly.

    These are big if’s.

    At the moment, I have a horrible vision of a new ‘attraction’ at the Disney theme parks: Darwin’s Grotto, where some gormless fool is dressed as Charles Darwin with a pair of Mickey Mouse ears to conduct ‘meet and greets’ while singing (in execrable Dick van Dyke ‘cockney’)

    Just a handful of mutants
    Helps the biosphere evolve
    In a most stochastic way!

  15. @Megalonyx
    They gladly point to evidence. “We have the same evidence that you do.”
    “ID is consistent with all of the evidence.” And it is just as consistent with all the other possibilities.
    “There is a better explanation than the scientific one.” Just don’t expect them to say what that explanation is.

  16. Dave Luckett

    When you wish upon a star
    That it wasn’t quite so far,
    Or that C was greater in the days of yore,
    Fiddle with the speed of light
    Fourteen billion years ain’t right:
    Just six thousand’s all and not a moment more.

    Nature’s kind, not red in tooth and claw,
    Those teeth are only for
    Reducing veggies!

    Claw and horn and fang and spine
    That’s intelligent design!
    When you wish upon a star, your schemes come… true

  17. @ Dave Luckett 🙂 rapturous applause!

  18. I would third it, but I should leave that to Prof. Tertius.

  19. I’m working on that, michaelfugate.