DOCUMENTARY: The Voyage That Shook the World

Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin

In March I posted a trailer for the forthcoming Darwin film – The Voyage That Shook the World – from Creation Ministries International (based in Australia). Here it is again:

The first website for the film is here, and it was described thus:

In response [to the Darwin celebrations], Creation Ministries International, through our subsidiary Fathom Media and using a team of world-class professionals, has produced a major international documentary film costing over $1m. Structured around Darwin’s famous HMS Beagle voyage, it features stunning wildlife photography, period re-enactments and interviews with leading authorities from around the world. We made this 52min. documentary to the highest production standards utilizing media professionals so that it could be broadcast on general TV.

It is intended to be a thoughtful exploration, a crossover product to seek to influence the “mainstream” to ”think again” about Darwin. It is also a powerful tool that can “break down the barriers” of evolutionary prejudice, overcoming preconceived ideas about biblical creationists by its approach of being gentle and fair without compromising truth.

Now they have a new trailer and website, because the film is ready to be seen by the shaken world. Here are a few quotes from an article (“In Charles Darwin’s Footsteps”) on the main CMI website:

Produced by our subsidiary, Fathom Media, using both inhouse and consultant professionals of a high level of experience and expertise, the film is framed around a retracing of Darwin’s voyage on HMS Beagle. [a footnote to Fathom Media: “This allowed us more freedom to approach the places and people we wanted to film and be judged on the merits and the aims of the project, without being discriminated against on the basis of our name.”]


The primary purpose of this 52-min high-definition ‘docu-movie’ is to move the creation/evolution debate into the secular mainstream and to break down some of the seemingly impenetrable barriers of evolutionary prejudice.


…the film does not engage in gratuitous ‘Darwin-bashing’. This complex individual is treated with dignity. He was in fact right about a number of things.


The list of interviewees from differing points of view was impressive, and tastefully highlighted the controversy. [what follows is a list of scientists and historians of science “sympathetic to evolution,” including Janet Browne, Peter Bowler, and Sandra Herbert]


The fact that the project would be dealing with the controversy was disclosed to each interviewee in advance. We believe their views have been fairly and respectfully represented, and we are grateful to all interviewees for their important contributions. [with or without telling them Fathom Media is connected with Creation Ministries International?]


One of the key themes of the documentary is whether Darwin would have reached his conclusions if he had known what we do today. As we revisit the sites Darwin saw, we find repeatedly that his conviction about Lyell’s ‘deep time’ (so crucial to Darwin’s theory) is not scientifically sustainable.

I wonder how objective this film, “[d]esigned for modern secular audiences,” will truly be…

20 thoughts on “DOCUMENTARY: The Voyage That Shook the World

  1. Should be interesting to follow. The clip almost reminds me of the Discovery Institute approach to anti-evolution movements currently; “evidence for evolution is weak; we need to critically review the theory.” I’d love to see a truly objective approach to Darwin by CMI (or the Discovery Institute, for that matter, after their truly non-objective film Expelled was released), but it’s likely a longshot

  2. “Creation Ministries International…has produced a major international documentary film costing over $1m.”

    And now you’ll have to excuse me as I go tear out my hair and rend my garments.

  3. Deliberately not disclosing the organization behind the film should be all you really need to know about the ‘objectivity’ of this film.

    If the film were to be an unbiased documentary, then why the shell game? Could it be that the scientific community is already familiar with CMI’s idea of ‘objective’?

    Liars for Jesus strike again.

  4. Karen – it surprises me sometimes to think of how much money is being spent on things that don’t matter, while things that matter can’t or struggle to happen b/c of money. I wish I was a millionaire…

    Lou – It all seems rather fishy, to not tell an interviewee the real organization behind the production. TRUTH and HONESTY!

  5. Hi. Just happened upon your blog today through @Laelaps Twitter page. I’ve enjoyed reading your recent posts. I’d like to make a comment about this one, and I hope it isn’t too long.

    If there is one thing I find patronizing about creationists trying to spin Darwin, it would have to be sentiments like the following: “One of the key themes of the documentary is whether Darwin would have reached his conclusions if he had known what we do today.”

    Logic says this: No, Darwin wouldn’t draw the same conclusions because if Darwin knew then what we know today, someone else would have drawn those conclusions already. And they weren’t really “conclusions.” They were observations and theories abut those observations. Science is a constant pursuit of knowledge, and nothing is set in stone. There are theories. Some are strong and hold for a long time. Others aren’t and then they aren’t theories anymore because they’ve been disproved. It’s a disingenuous and infuriating poser of a question.

  6. From the film’s blurb:

    As we revisit the sites Darwin saw, we find repeatedly that his conviction about Lyell’s ‘deep time’ (so crucial to Darwin’s theory) is not scientifically sustainable.

    They’re in trouble right there: It wasn’t deep time Lyell was on about. That’d been settled decades and decades earlier by others. It was Lyell’s uniformitarianism and conviction that slow incremental processes could produce large effects over long times that was the influence on Darwin. So they don’t know what they’re talking about right from the beginning.

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  8. I actually find the absolutely materialist understandings, currently being trumpeted by the likes of Richard Dawkins worrysome – but so called “Creation Science” bothers me even more. We are living in an era when, as Jung said “science has made matter mysterious” and mind and perhaps Mind, may be more important than any fundementalism, including scientific materialism, allows. I’m genuinely agnostic about this

  9. I have a question for all writers above concerned – namely this – has any one of you actually SEEN the film?
    I have – it’s now released at public cinemas.
    I found it to be an interesting documentary concerning someone I had always wanted to know more about, rather than just his theories, & found out how he came to his conclusions over a 5 year voyage around the world.
    He was influenced by other writers (Radical Free-Thinkers) who included his own family members, & so joined their arguments with his own ideas, which then took more years of thinking & writing before publishing The Origin Of the Species, even though his journal notes had been sent back to England & released to public acclaim during his absence during the voyage.
    His theories came from Philosophy, along the same lines of thinking as the others before him. There were varied view points expressed from scientists in the film, from strongly pro-evolutionary through to the other end of the scale/Creationist, which gave an all-round view of this subject, quite often not heard.
    Many areas of Science have long been based on theories, in which ALL points of view should be allowed to be discussed, not muzzled. If we agreed to silence anyone’s voice concerning their thought processes then Darwin’s Theories would have been banned from the beginning & never allowed to see light of day, so why the alternate view points now scaring some people?
    Go & see the film for yourselves – it’s not that scary. And yes – I have been brought up with an Evolutionary world-view like everybody else.

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  12. I have just come back from seeing the film. I had thought I was going to see an interesting film about Darwin – and by the end I was getting more and more horrified and immediately thought – Hang on – was that creationist propaganda ? It was very cleverly done – so that I was thinking ‘hang on – did he say what I thought he just said’, very vague comments by obscure philosophers. When one of them mentioned ‘simple stories to explain things to the people’ my immediate thought was ‘oh yes – he was talking about the bible !” But no – he was talking about the Origin of the species – simple !!!! I think not.
    I am so angry about this attempt to infiltrate creationist thinking on the wider community – and exploiting the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the release of the Origin – how dare they !

  13. This is to Marg, I don’t know if she will read it but I am appalled at her hypocrisy. She stated that she was angry at creationist trying to infiltrate their thinking on the public yet she ignores the fact that Darwinism, an unproven, controversial notion that has been disputed and refuted by millions has for over 50 years been taught as “fact” to our most vulnerable segment of society: our children in public, government run and paid for schools. Christian and Creationist tax dollars are used yearly for decades to spread a theory as truth and the only theory legally allowed in our schools. That makes me say dear Marg: How Dare They!!

  14. Millions of Christians, Muslims, Buddist, Hindus, Pagans of various. It is not just Christians who do not believe that it took billions of years for a single cell entity to “evolve” into the most complex creature in the Known Universe. The basis of most “religions” believe that a higer being or collective beings if you are a Polytheist, created man and all creation.

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