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Darwin's Dilemma Review by Kym Thorpe

DVD with Discussion and Study Guide
Idea Center
Illustra Media
PO Box 636
La Mirada, CA, 90637-0636

Darwin’s Dilemma is an educational DVD with about 72 minutes’ worth of stunning visual imagery and interviews with leading scientists that explores the fossil record and whether it supplies evidence for the Darwinian view of evolution. Those who question evolution are sometimes regarded as ignorant or opposed to science, but the fossil record poses a significant problem for evolutionary theory. The focus of the DVD is on the Cambrian explosion, or the relatively short period in the geological record when an abundance of new animals and body designs appeared, and without any evidence of gradual development as would be expected if these life forms had evolved. Charles Darwin himself wrote that if his theory was correct, the fossil record should show these patterns of gradual change and transitional forms.

The documentary looks at some of the most important fossil discoveries, and tackles the question of whether a theory of Intelligent Design could better explain the evidence. The film footage comes from four different continents and also makes use of extensive interviews with scientists of various backgrounds. There are many computer-generated animations to clearly illustrate details of cellular functions. The amazing complexity of assembly instructions contained in the biological information in DNA points unmistakably to intention, purpose, and intelligent design.

Included on the DVD are some bonus features, notably a set of further interviews with scientists in which they answer questions about the Cambrian explosion and intelligent design; and a virtual museum of Cambrian fossils.

Accompanying the DVD is a Discussion and Study Guide produced by The IDEA Center, which provides resources and support for Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness Clubs in colleges, high schools, and communities. The Discussion Guide has a variety of questions to clarify the information presented in the DVD. There are short answer questions, fill-in-the-blank, and multiple choice in this comprehension guide. For each chapter of the DVD there are a number of these comprehension questions, as well as several Discussion questions that are more open-ended and encourage further exploration of the topic.

For homeschool students, this Discussion and Study Guide could provide a comprehension test on the subject matter, and ideas for further research, so that the DVD could be used as a supplement in a high school course of study. It could also be used in a small group setting to open up discussion about the problems with evolutionary theory and the fossil evidence that supports Intelligent Design theory.

This professionally produced, and visually engaging DVD would be an excellent starting point for anyone who has been brought up to believe that evolution has been proven by the fossil record or that those who reject evolution must be anti-science. However, it is important to note that this documentary, while it features some Christians among the contributing scientists, is not presented from a Biblical Creationist standpoint, but from the standpoint of Intelligent Design theory. There is no speculation or discussion about the identity or nature of the Designer, only the presentation of the evidence that Intelligent Design theory makes sense of the fossil record in a way that evolution really cannot.

-Product review by Kym Thorpe, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December, 2016