The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.
Do you want to get the word out about your product or service to the homeschool community? Email Jenny Higgins and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!

Living Waters: Intelligent Design in the Oceans of the Earth DVD Review by Karen Waide

Illustra Media
(877) 436-0955
P.O. Box 636
La Mirada, CA 90637-0636

We had the wonderful opportunity of reviewing Living Waters: Intelligent Design in the Oceans of the Earth by Illustra Media. This DVD is one in a series called “The Design of Life.” We recently had the privilege of reviewing this DVD plus their very first DVD in this series titled Flight: The Genius of Birds.

It is very important to my husband and I that we teach the children the truth about how the world came into existence. And though this series doesn't specify that the God of the Bible created everything, it does show that the intricate details of this universe require an intelligent designer. In this documentary, we are delving into the depths of the waters of the earth to study four specific creatures and how they defy natural selection and Darwinian evolution.

Living Waters: Intelligent Design in the Oceans of the Earth is a documentary that is 1 hour and 9 minutes in length. There are 6 “chapters” on this DVD, plus the credits:

  • Titles
  • Great Debate
  • Dolphins
  • Sea Turtles
  • Pacific Salmon
  • Humpback Whales

Each of these sections flows seamlessly from one to the other. The first three minutes show breathtaking video of water, from a drop of water, to water drops then to a rushing river, a waterfall, and powerful, crashing waves. While these scenes play out, soothing instrumental music is playing. We then segue into seeing the different creatures of the waters while the narrator introduces the fact that the earth is more than 70% covered by water and is filled with these marvelous creatures. It is described as an “elegant dance” with precise movements. When we study the creatures of the water, we will see purpose and design.

Then, a question is posed, “How do we account for the origin, diversity, and complexity of life on earth?.” We have to look at the competing views of natural selection and intelligent design. A documentary of the ocean creatures is a wonderful way to look at this debate, seeing as evolutionary scientists tend to hold to the belief that all life started in the ocean. The majority of the DVD is devoted to looking at four spectacular animals.


We learn about dolphins from Dave Anderson of Capt. Dave's Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari, who has spent thousands of hours studying dolphins off the coast of southern California. The documentary discusses the features of the dolphins that allow them to be such amazingly, effective swimmers. Their powerful tail, streamlined body, and glassy smooth skin are all necessary. We then learn a bit about their social network before getting a detailed lesson in their ways of communication.

It amazes me how much scientists have discovered about dolphin communication and their anatomy. We learn that dolphins actually communicate with each other through their whistles. The clicking sounds we hear are actually the way they find their prey. The DVD goes into some spectacular detail, using images and animation that shows exactly how their echolocation works, and how it is so intricately designed.  It is stated that, “Every component needs to work perfectly within a fraction of a second.”

Sea Turtles:

We first see these tiny, little creatures emerging from the sand and heading out to sea, as the narrator explains the lengthy migration they are about to embark upon. This is a journey that could be over a thousand miles away, and the sea turtles make the journey many times during their lives. As we watch footage of the sea turtles, the narrator explains the importance of the earth's magnetic field and how it is connected to the design of the sea turtles, when it comes to the sea turtle's migratory life. A life that leads them back and forth from the nesting grounds to the feeding grounds.

Pacific Salmon:

The story of the salmon is again one of an amazing journey, a journey that lasts for 3 years. We learn how the 5 different species of salmon lay their eggs, as we watch the footage to see the young fish hatch and eventually head out to the ocean so they can find the nutrients needed for survival. Again we learn of the importance of the navigational system, and the different senses that are used to navigate. Thanks to this system, after the fish have grown to maturity out in the ocean, they are able to make their way home, to the exact same spot of their birth. The biological engineering of these animals is so detailed, which we find out as we watch the information about the salmon's olfactory system (learning about their sense of smell and how their bodies are wired to be able to detect the exact spot they need to return to.

Humpback Whale:

The last animal segment begins with footage of a rocket lifting off. At first I wasn't sure what this had to do with the humpback whale, but it seems that its whale song has been quite popular for quite a while, and was included in information about earth that was sent aboard the spacecraft Voyager in the 1970's. We then learn more about the whale song, what is known and what is not yet clear. Then it is time to learn more about these humungous creatures, such as the height and weight they can achieve in their century here in the earth's oceans. The documentary then shares further details about the humpback whale's anatomy, such as its respiratory system, how it feeds, and how it maneuvers in the water.

The humpback whale is used to show the challenges that Darwinian evolution faces. The documentary explains the evolutionary model of whale evolution, and then shows how impossible it would be for all the adaptations to occur that would need to occur for a land mammal to eventually, over millions of years, turn into a whale. It is admitted that these designs could not have just happened with haphazard, gradual changes, but would have required planning and foresight to know how all these systems would have had to work together to allow the whale (or any other creature) to survive. 

I did watch this with my nine year old daughter, though the younger children sort of came and went. They were definitely fascinated by the dolphins and the cute baby sea turtles (esp because they saw sea turtles in a favorite animated movie). The salmon didn't catch their attention as much, though I was very fascinated by watching the story of their fight for survival. And the humpback whale portion did a wonderful job explaining away the theory of whale evolution. I admit, I was fascinated by the whale song portion as well, because it made me wonder if the interest in their song in the 70's had anything to do with their inclusion in one of my favorite films in the 80's.

Though most of the documentary wouldn't make me hesitate in letting my children, who are 9, 8, 6 and 4 years old, watch it, there was a lot that was over their heads. There was a section that went into reproduction organs of the whales, mentioning testes and sperm and such. My husband and I were wondering if questions would be brought up regarding this, but none were. So, I would say that this DVD could be watched by young children, but it appears to be better suited for middle school ages and up. You may have to explain some things, or perhaps prefer to just let certain things go over their heads for now.

Throughout the documentary, there are fascinating images playing across the screen. Occasionally we will see the scientists who are speaking during the program, but most of the time, while they or the narrator speak, we are seeing breathtaking views of the creatures being talked about or animated images detailing the information. At times when there is no commentary, instrumental music is playing. This documentary is very well done, and professionally put together. They do a wonderful job showing that natural selection just doesn't make sense, and there has to be an intelligent designer involved. This is a DVD I highly recommend.

Living Waters: Intelligent Design in the Oceans of the Earth can be purchased for $17.95.

- Product review by Karen Waide, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January, 2017