Prothero’s Surreal Journey Among the Creationists - The Making of BBC’s ‘Conspiracy Road Trip: Creationism’
One recent BBC documentary which I missed is “Conspiracy Road Trip: Creationism”, about which John Hawks blogged today, pointing to a Jerry Coyne piece, who in turned pointed to a Prothero piece in which the latter described his experience in making the show:
[…] None of them could give coherent answers to the scientific evidence, yet nonetheless were determined to stick with their beliefs. This was no surprise to any of us, since evidence doesn’t matter to creationists. They have an entire worldview which is wrapped about the salvation of their immortal soul and the fear of rejecting the literal interpretation of the Bible, so that comes first and everything else is unimportant. They reject evolution only because they’ve been told to do so by religious leaders, even though they have no clue what it’s about; what they think they know about it is wrong. Indeed, they showed the classic response of a true believer: when something threatens your worldview, you cling to it even more strongly and find any way you can to dismiss or ignore contrary evidence. That, apparently, is the point of the entire show, since the 9/11 truthers and the UFO nuts act the same way. But given the way the show was framed, it’s clear that the producers want to put these creationists on camera as object lessons on how irrational and dogmatic and impervious to evidence they really are, even while showing less dogmatic viewers that scientists can be friendly and reasonable and have all the evidence. Given the low level of creationist beliefs in the U.K., this is probably not a hard sell, but I’d be interested to see if it airs in the U.S. where creationism still claims about 40% of the U.S. population.
Prothero’s blog entry is long but I highly recommended reading it, especially as he describes the unwillingness of the young creationists to deal with the evidence the scientists present before their eyes.
You can view the the BBC show for yourself:
Comedian Andrew Maxwell takes five British creationists to the west coast of America to try to convince them that evolution rather than creationism explains how we all got here. Stuck on a bus across 2,000 miles of dustbowl roads with these passionate believers, Maxwell tackles some firmly held beliefs - could the Earth be only 6,000 years old, and did humans and T-Rex really live side by side? It’s a bumpy ride as he’s confronted with some lively debates along the way, but by the end could he possibly win over any of these believers with what he regards as hard scientific fact?