Home » HBO Documentary Film: QUESTIONING DARWIN


by Jef Dinsmore
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Doc-logoOverview: Modern-day Creationists reject the idea that the Earth is billions of years old and that humans are descended from primates, believing instead in the literal interpretation of the Bible. Directed by Antony Thomas (HBO’s Peabody-winning FOR NEDA), this documentary takes an in-depth look at the views of those wDocs_QDarwin_posterho reject Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution while chronicling Darwin’s own journey as a young man whose beliefs were changed when he experienced the world first-hand.  

Narrated by Brian Protheroe, QUESTIONING DARWIN draws on Darwin’s own words, performed by Sam West, and includes comments from a variety of sources from the sciences and our churches stating their opinions on both sides of the debate.

 Expectations: A little bit of a revelation as we go into this review. My appreciation for HBO is obvious but the other passion I have is for natural history. If I had the academic acumen I would have been doing something in the field besides just being an avid enthusiast. But, I know all about the Evolutionary Theory, the trips of the HMS Beagle and The Origin of Species. Trust me, I am all over it. I am also a born and raised Christian, so I am versed in the Creation Story of Genesis. So, QUESTIONING DARWIN is most intriguing to me. I realize it might not be to others.

 I have seen documentaries about the fundamental Christians and their adamant beliefs before. This film, however, offers a different angle as it talks about the creator of the contested theory himself, Charles Darwin. I expect it to be a fresh angle to the debate. I am looking forward to the hour.


Gut Reaction: I have rewritten this paragraph a couple of times. It is not because I don’t know what I want to say it is because I keep editing out many opinions and trimming it down. I’m not here to denounce the beliefs of the Christians presented here, though I can shoot holes through their arguments, and I am not here to tout my belief of evolution. I’m here to tell you whether or not this documentary is worth your time. It is hard to do so, however, without talking a bit about the subject matter.

This film fairly allows the creationists to state their opinions regarding their literal beliefs in the Holy Bible. They hold the deDocs_Qdarwin_gardenscription of Adam & Eve as fact which means they believe that God created all that we know in six days, that it is our fault that there is evil in the world because of Original Sin and that the dinosaurs were in the Garden of Eden. The documentary occasionally diverts off the main topic a few times as interviews dwell to long on the Original Sin issue. It quickly heads back to the creation/evolution debate though. How Charles Darwin fits into the debate and how he struggled with the debate himself adds an interesting angle to the piece. It prevents this documentary from becoming a back and forth yelling match or without getting too absurd.   

In Conclusion: Regardless of your views on the issue QUESTIONING DARWIN does not and cannot settle the debate. It still baffles me how we can’t just accept that God created evolution. It still baffles me that there are people so adamant in their beliefs that no one else is allowed to think otherwise and schools shouldn’t teach alternative possibilities. It is a fascinating debate to wrap your head around and this documentary certainly can give you food for thought on the matter. I hope some of you do take it in and visit the comment section below afterwards.

Other HBO airdates are 02.13 at 5:30pm; 02.16 at 11:00am; 02.19 at 9:30am and 02.22 at 3:00pm. HBO2 still airs it on 02.21 at 10:15am and 02.25 at 12:30pm, plus it runs on HBOGO.

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Byroner March 6, 2015 - 7:26 pm

Genisis is not an alternative scientific theory ffs. It’s one on many ridiculous, completely debunked creation myths and has NO PLACE in a science class. Sit down

ViddyYo March 9, 2014 - 6:32 am

There is no debate. The science is done for a century and a half now. We have the fossils. We have the DNA.

Creationist have nothing. Please stop encouraging them, HBO.

Randy March 9, 2014 - 10:30 am

Yes, because Viddy Yo is a scientist everyone. We all bow to your superior knowledge of how the world came into existence. Since you were there and recall the events, please explain. What ever you choose to believe, creationism or evolution, one belief is not superior to the other. So please tell us how you are superior to everyone else.

ViddyYo March 11, 2014 - 5:07 am

You are so right about me, Randy. I am only a few decades old, not the billions I would need to be to have actually witnessed the origin of the world.

But since you expect me to have been there then YOU must have been there and a mere 10,000 years ago. So give us your personal, eye witness account of the biblical creation. With photos please.

Evolution is not a belief – it is as fact.

Randy March 11, 2014 - 1:13 pm

Fact, lol, OK

ViddyYo March 12, 2014 - 6:46 am

So how about those photos you took of the Biblical Creation and Noah’s flood?

Randy March 12, 2014 - 8:47 am

I would but I was still a chimp back then unable to work a camera

Apollos May 4, 2014 - 2:02 am

20 years old and knows EVERYTHING… LOL!!!

Apollos May 3, 2014 - 12:30 pm

Evolutionist scientists have zero transitional fossils… zero. There cannot be evolution without transitional fossils.

Jef Dinsmore May 3, 2014 - 1:06 pm

So that is like saying if you cannot see it then it doesn’t exist. If no one can put their hands on the exact fossils that would bridge all the gaps in the Family Tree than they don’t exist.

If we use that rationale we can say God doesn’t exist either because we cannot see him! Something being out out of sight does not mean they are out of existence.

Apollos May 3, 2014 - 2:10 pm

In 1859, in the book Origin of the Species, Charles Darwin said:
“Why, if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms.”

Now over 100 years later, author, Luther Sutherland wrote letters to the paleontologists of the world’s largest museums and asked each one what fossils of transitional forms they had in their collections. None of the paleontologists had a single fossil of a transitional form.

Thank you and come again.

ViddyYo May 3, 2014 - 7:28 pm

I can’t find any citation about this letter from Sutherland or any negative replies. Of course you can and will provide one.

Until then I call utter bullshit because there are hundreds of transitional fossils in all genera.

ViddyYo May 3, 2014 - 7:28 pm

I can’t find any citation about this letter from Sutherland or any negative replies. Of course you can and will provide one.

Until then I call utter bullshit because there are hundreds of transitional fossils in all genera.

Jeffrey Goodwin February 25, 2014 - 1:19 pm

The universe, from quark to galaxy, is as one would expect it to be if no deity existed at all.

REP24 February 17, 2014 - 12:46 pm

Jef, why would we accept that God created Evolution without any evidence of it? Why does God HAVE TO come into the equation? Why?

Jef Dinsmore February 17, 2014 - 3:19 pm

God doesn’t have to come into the equation, but he does for some. Plus, remember that no matter how much we believe in evolution there is no proof that it is the cause behind it all. The same way we don’t have real proof what dinosaurs exactly looked like or that our chronological dating practices are 100% infallible, even though you and I choose to believe they are.

They have the right to belive what they choose to believe and so do we. That will never change.

Bruce Carlson February 27, 2014 - 6:34 pm

What do you mean by “proof”? You DO believe in the basic tenants of evolution whether you admit it or not: as Darwin noted: 1. every species produces more offspring than will survive (that’s a fact); 2. no two offspring are exactly the same (with some exceptions) and the differences confer some advantages to some offspring (fact); 3. if the advantageous traits are heritable, they will be passed on to their offspring (fact). You have to accept that these are observable facts; if so you are 75% of the way towards full “belief” in the theory of evolution. Where you probably depart is that Darwin had a greater vision: given these processes working over a long enough period of time, new species will evolve. 6,000 – 9,000 years isn’t long enough, but 600,000,000+++ years of “natural selection” is enough time. God isn’t required for any of these “mechanical” processes to proceed. You can “insert” God if you so desire, but there is nothing in these processes that requires the intervention of a “God” to keep them rolling along. Or look at it another way, if God is “directing” evolution, why do we (and all other organisms) need to produce countless trillions of gametes? If God has a plan, he only needs for me to have one sperm and my wife to have one egg, and so on for every other animal/plant. Or does he just let everything produce every combination of genes and then he chooses the ONE that is best? Given the multitude of life on earth, he must spend a lot of time sorting through all the DNA on the planet. Might take more than 7 days. It’s a whole lot easier to accept the theory of evolution as the best and simplest explanation rather than a God who is going crazy finding just the right DNA for the next generation of everything.

Eleonora Iafano February 15, 2014 - 12:56 pm

This is something that I would tentatively watch with my parents. My mom, being a very progressive Italian Canadian woman (and very ahead of her time) still believes in the Creation theory. My dad, who is several years older than her and very Italian as well, watches a lot of scientific television and documentaries and he believes in evolution but also likes to use the occasional quote from the Bible. Both my husband and I believe in the evolution theory but I am careful and respectful enough to be sensitive to people’s individual beliefs. Although, watching this with my parents…would be epic, to say the least!

Jef Dinsmore February 15, 2014 - 7:37 pm

Now you understand the dilemma I had in starting my “gut reaction” over a few times. I wanted to be respectful and not trash beliefs because I thought this is not the place to do so.

It was hard, but I think I finally worded it correctly. It still kind of boggles my mind and I am glad no Creationists worship around me.

REP24 February 17, 2014 - 12:47 pm

You are careful and respectful enough to allow people to be ignorant? I guess. The best weapon Religious people have is the “respect” word. Once they throw it up like a race card all discussion stops. Awesome!

Jef Dinsmore February 17, 2014 - 3:10 pm

Oh, so we are never to respect anyone who has a different mindset from our own? I just choose not to be that type of person. I can passionately believe in evolution and still respect others to believe what they want.
The problem is that those feelings are not reciprocated. . Creastionists cannot respect those like me and go against a tenet of their very religion by doing so. I find that odd.

Eleonora Iafano February 17, 2014 - 7:26 pm

I am not forcing people to believe what I believe. Everyone has the right to their opinion and I respect that. Nor I am being ignorant or feel that by ‘allowing’ people to be ignorant is something that I strive for. When you watch something that is scientific based and has religious undertones, it is a matter of listening to all the information presented to you and deciding for yourself to believe in one growth mindset or another. I do not consider myself to be a racist, ignorant or disrespectful person. I believe that everyone has the right to form their own personal opinions, whether it is based on their spiritual or religious beliefs or whether they believe in biology and science. I don’t think that anyone would be wrong in their beliefs. I think that showing respect to all points of view is healthy and proactive.

Robert Taylor February 25, 2014 - 3:13 pm

rep24 saying “You
are careful and respectful enough to allow people to be ignorant?”
ignorant people using insults to try to make people see their theory as
fact is the act of an imbecile. neither side is fact and to say either side is, is ignorant.All the name calling and anger just makes you look desperate. I understand your theory has no proof and that makes you mad but its not the creationists fault you have no proof. Go find this mythical proof that you’re ancesters are monkeys then you will have a leg to stand on when you call others ignorant. Till then have a bananna and calm down ya wannabe apeman

Randy March 9, 2014 - 10:31 am


Artimus Clyde April 19, 2014 - 6:18 pm

If evolution isn’t fact then neither is germ theory. If people would actually actively look at the evidence for evolution they would see this. I have given up on people denying evolution as it’s a waste of time trying to explain it to them. I have not given up on keeping them from sneaking into government and schools. Never.

Jacob Klein February 13, 2014 - 4:36 pm

Watched this the other day.
Some people are CRAAAZY. I feel bad for the kids.

Randy March 9, 2014 - 10:40 am

I know right, some people actually teach their kids that we came from apes.

Nahojism February 13, 2014 - 12:38 am

Why should we think that god created evolution when there are no evidence pointing that way? That’s just molding your own beliefs onto science.

I don’t know what this documentary teaches, but Darwin just sowed the seed to evolutionary theory as we know it today. He had no knowledge of genes for instance. There is a tonne of science and scientists contributing to the quite awesome Theory of Evolution.


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