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At Southern Methodist University, Metamorphosis Gets a Respectful Reception

Metamorphosis had a very successful Dallas premiere last night at Southern Methodist University. It was a good deal friendlier than the tense, loaded atmosphere of the reception the night before at the University of Oklahoma. The SMU audience was mixed, several hundred people in all, mostly students along with other young people and older adults.
In the Q&A after the film, Paul Nelson and Ann Gauger got some great questions. But the first was from a student who had written a somewhat overwrought op-ed in the SMU Daily Campus, warning fellow students of a dread invasion scheduled for that evening: “a group of religious fundamentalists will be attempting to disprove a foundational scientific fact that happens to clash with a core belief of their religion.”
We loved this passage from his article:

The fundamentalist group is, of course, the Discovery Institute. The scientific fact is that of evolutionary biology. Their efforts are not merely an absurd waste of time and resources, but a malignant attack on rationality and intellectualism.
The event is a monumental embarrassment to the academic rigor of Southern Methodist University if not humanity as a whole.

In person the author turned out to be a much more mild-mannered and congenial type than you might expect, notwithstanding the insult being heaped on all humanity.
The questioners included one young gentleman, maybe 10 or 12 years old, who asked how butterflies kept breathing in the chrysalis stage. Paul explained by telling him that MRI studies have just revealed that the tracheal system by which insects, including caterpillars and butterflies, breathe remains intact in the chrysalis, precisely so they can continue to breathe.
One grad student who asked hard questions stayed after the Q&A and had a good conversation with Ann. He was challenging, but you got the sense he wasn’t totally closed minded. In fact, he had some interesting insights into a couple of things relating to atheists, the mind, and why some people can’t seem to recognize intelligent agency when they see it.
All was respectful, which we think reflects well both on Metamorphosis and on Southern Methodist University.

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Evolution News & Science Today (EN) provides original reporting and analysis about evolution, neuroscience, bioethics, intelligent design and other science-related issues, including breaking news about scientific research. It also covers the impact of science on culture and conflicts over free speech and academic freedom in science. Finally, it fact-checks and critiques media coverage of scientific issues.



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