When the building security pushes you out, keys in hand, and there are still five people standing at the microphone waiting to ask their questions, you know it’s been a good evening.
Last night, a lively — to say the least — audience responded to the Oklahoma premiere of Metamorphosis, Illustra Media’s new film about the biology of butterflies, evolution, and intelligent design. The first questioner at the Q&A microphone was followed by a steady stream of other audience members, many of them University of Oklahoma science faculty, most hostile, or students. The questioners lined up around the block.
Paul Nelson and Ann Gauger were asked about the details of evolutionary hypotheses for the origin of holometabolous metamorphosis (the complete transformation we see in butterflies and many other insects), why Illustra Media hadn’t yet produced a movie about parasites or other yucky creatures, as they exist too, the God-of-the-Gaps, Ann’s research on enzymatic pathways in bacteria (and if she was concealing results unfavorable to design), whether butterfly mortality shows God is a sloppy designer…you name it, the audience asked it.
One of the attendees was from Ann’s own graduate department at the University of Washington, and a student of James Truman before Ann’s time. He was ready to take Dr. Gauger apart. But by the end, he acknowledged that the experts in the film had done their homework, while obviously disagreeing with them as to the interpretation of the evidence.
When the museum doors were locked behind them, Paul and Ann continued the discussion with several people (many from a local atheist/skeptic organization) in the museum courtyard. Balmy night in Oklahoma, intense fun.
Tonight: the Dallas screening at SMU.