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Darwin's Dilemma Review by Stacy Kalisz

Randolf Productions Inc.
18005 Sky Park Circle, Suite #K
Irvine, CA 92614

This is the third DVD in the Illustra Media Intelligent Design trilogy: Unlocking the Mystery of Life, The Privileged Planet, and Darwin's Dilemma. The DVD is 1 hour and 12 minutes long, but it also has over 60 minutes of extra features (including a helpful question and answer section). Since it is region 0, this DVD is playable everywhere. 

As in the other two productions, the narrator has an excellent voice, the computer animation is quite good, and the music is exciting. Overall, it is very smooth and professionally done. Besides the arguments and conclusions of the documentary, it gives a lot of good information and history on the exploration of the Cambrian Explosion. It is obvious that a lot of work went into this production, especially with the computer animation and the fact that it was filmed on four continents. 

One thing to keep in mind is that this documentary was done by the Intelligent Design movement, not by Biblical Creationists. Unlike Biblical Creationism, the theory of Intelligent Design is agnostic regarding the source of design and has no commitment to defending the Bible or any other religious text. As the definition on states: "The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process." That's it; it says nothing of who the Creator is and how creation occurred. Intelligent Design encompasses every "creation story," even aliens seeding life on this planet (directed panspermia). The God of the Bible is just one possible candidate. 

In the DVD, they are assuming the commonly accepted long ages for the earth and do not take into account Noah's Flood or other factors a Creationist might. A Biblical Creationist should think of it as using the Darwinists' own beliefs and thinking against them. 

The documentary will probably be too technical at times for the average audience, and some people may need to watch it twice before they can grasp everything that is being said. I would say this DVD is for those of high school age and older who are somewhat informed on the Intelligent Design/Darwinian Evolution debate. 

The point of this documentary is to explore the Cambrian Explosion and the scientific controversy that surrounds it. The back of the DVD sums it up by saying, "The Cambrian explosion was one of the most spectacular events in the history of life. In a short window of geological time an abundance of new animals--and new animal body designs--arose fully formed without evidence of any evolutionary ancestors." The Cambrian Explosion challenges the traditional idea of the gradual evolution of animals. And as it says in the documentary: "No aspect of the natural world troubled Charles Darwin more than the Cambrian fossil record." The DVD goes on to show that Charles Darwin's concerns about the Cambrian Explosion are as relevant as ever. In fact, many more major groups of animals have been discovered in the Cambrian than were known in Darwin's time. Many of the different ways that evolutionists try to salvage Darwin's theory in the face of the Cambrian Explosion are debunked quite well in the documentary. 

The documentary finishes strong by discussing the fact that the development of these new animal types required a massive increase in genetic information (in their DNA). As Dr. Stephen Meyer said, "The big question that the Cambrian Explosion poses is where does all that new information come from?" The Darwinian mechanism cannot explain the origin of the information necessary to produce the Cambrian animals--random mutations and natural selection in the time allowed doesn't even come close. 

After looking at the evidence from the Intelligent Design perspective, the DVD comes to the conclusion that "life was designed, that life was planned, that it was intended." My husband thoroughly enjoys apologetics and was very pleased with this DVD. My young children didn't really understand it, but they loved watching the computer-animated creatures. Those who want to dig deeper into the Intelligent Design debate will not want to miss out on Darwin's Dilemma

Product review by Stacy Kalisz, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March 2010