Sunday, March 8, 2015

#1310: Lad Allen

Lad Allen is a “documentary” film maker and founder of Illustra Media,  who started his career by shooting films about the Campus Crusade for Christ but is most famous for his pseudo-science documentaries promoting Intelligent Design creationism, especially in the trilogy consisting of Unlocking the Mystery of Life, The Privileged Planet (based on the book by Jay Richards and Guillermo Gonzalez and written by W. Peter Allen and Jonathan Witt – I have no idea if there is any closer relationship between the former and Lad Allen) and Darwin’s Dilemma (produced in close association with the Discovery Institute). A fourth creationist documentary, Metamorphosis: The Beauty and Design of Butterflies, was added to his portfolio in 2011.

Darwin’s Dilemma, which tries to push the Cambrian Explosion into service as evidence for creationism, even features some prominent real scientists in addition to a long row of Discovery Institute-affiliated creationists such as Stephen Meyer, David Berlinski and Paul Chien. Guess whether Simon Conway Morris knew that the interview he gave was going to be used in an anti-science creationist movie. Seen that tactic before?

After completing the films, Allen and his friends also tried – with some luck – to lure them into being showed by scientific organizations under the pretext that the contents were scientific – subsequently ending up in lawsuits against said science institutions after the institutions cancelled the showings upon being made aware of its contents, which are definitely not scientific.

Allen’s efforts really fit nicely in with the general work of the Discovery Institute: While steadfastly asserting that Intelligent Design is “science”, all their efforts are devoted to outreach and promotion to win souls for creationism. There is pitifully little research going on.

Diagnosis: Religious fanatic who has devoted his life to fighting the threats of science – and, of course, in an Orwellian fashion by trying to pretend that he is, in fact, campaigning for science himself. Not a vocal member of the denialist movement, but his documentaries have been pushed pretty hard, so his influence must be counted as significant. 

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