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on July 15, 2004
Having followed the intelligent design movement since its inception, most of the material in this video was not new to me. However, the depictions are apt and really awe-inspiring--especially those in the last one third of the video. When you see a computer simulation of specified complexity at the molecular level, it sticks in your consciousness. Sheer dumb luck could not have done this.
I have seen this presentation three times. Each time I am impressed with the comments of the experts and the care in which the challenging material is presented. The subject is approached in a calm and scientific manner. The audio clips are long enough to explain tough concepts. Especially telling is the interview with Dr. Dean Kenyon, a pretigious scientist and author who eventually gave up on chance and necessity as the parents of human life--and this after defending it in a well-received volume called "Biochemical Predestination." He marvels at the nature of life and argues that a mindless universe could not have generated it.
In an age awash with stupid, pointless, and sensational vidiocy, this video presentation stands out as a unique and important achievement for the young intelligent design movement. One can learn much from it about some things that truly matter.
When I showed "Unlocking the Mystery of Life" to my class at Denver Seminary, the students spontaneously applauded at the end. Just to add an emotive comment, it gives me goosebumps.
But please don't just view this, read about the intelligent design movement: Phillip Johnson, "Darwin on Trial," William Dembski, "Intelligent Design," Thomas Woodward, "Doubts About Darwin," and many others.
Douglas Groothuis
1515 comments327 of 389 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 6, 2006
This DVD is great in every way:

1. It makes a compelling case for intelligent design. The "outboard motor" design in the bacterial cell itself makes the point; the DNA replication is absolutely awe-inspiring. The argument of recognizable patterns (with low probability of such patterns occurring by chance) is simple but forceful and consistent with human logic.

2. The production and computer animation are top-notch.

3. It is understandable to the average person, yet challenging to the intellectual.

This DVD has many potential uses:

-provoking the natural evolutionist to consider other options

-opening minds that are stuck in 1970's thinking

-as an apologetic to friends considering the existence of an Intelligent Designer

-as an educational tool to discover the wonders of DNA and even simple life

The DVD lasts about 65 minutes and can easily be divided into shorter segments to view it as a serial. Some extra features at the end highlight the wonder of some creatures found on the Galapagos and interviews with several "intelligent design" scientists.

Of course nothing will move someone who is entrenched and determined not to budge; but to the open minded, this DVD is thought provoking.
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on September 27, 2003
Although more people would by the VHS Video version, click on the Amazon DVD version for additional reviews.
Unlocking The Mystery Of Life refers back to Darwin's writings of one hundred fifty years ago and leads us through recent discoveries of the complexity of cell functions and components. Along the way we have Dr. Dean Kenyon who in the 1960's had written the definitive work on the chemical version of evolution, that has been widely used in colleges and graduate schools. Kenyon's textbook was "Biochemical Predestination". Given the scientific discoveries in molecular biology and genetics of the last twenty years, Dr. Dean Kenyon and other scientists in this video (Stephen Meyer, Michael Behe, Jonathan Wells, Scott Minnich, Paul Nelson, and William Dembski) have completely discarded Darwin's Theory of Evolution.
Two examples of Darwin Theory's failure given in the video are the thousands of different complex molecular machines that interrelate in the cell's manufacturing processes as well as the detailed programming instructions for those machines.
The video uses computer-generated animation showing the building of these machines from amino acids into proteins, and finally the particular machine structure and function itself. The machine example in the video is a relatively simple one: the bacteria flagellum - specifically, the "outboard motor" assembly that runs the 100 thousand RPM tail of the bacteria.
The "modern" Darwin scientist counter argument of "co-option" is also addressed. These different machines could not have been built slowly over time as Darwin's Theory of "functional advantage" requires a complete and immediate working component. Plus the fact that most of the parts within these machines are unique only to those machines, and could not have been borrowed from another machine within the same cell. This has been termed "irreducible complexity"
... Where did this complete motor assembly come from? From the detailed blueprints of the nucleus' DNA for the proteins (machines) to build these other machines that are needed by the cell.
The next logical and scientific question, of course, is "Where did these final, complete and complex programming instructions come from?"
It's this last question that Darwin Evolutionists refuse to answer, because they have no answer for it. There is no "natural cause" that produces information. A detailed and error-free computer program of billions of instructions doesn't just "show up" on the beach one day. It had to be left there by someone, some mind who had designed it in the first place and remember, that here it's also a part of a complete and independent system (the cell).
Darwin Evolutionists dare not go to the next logical question "So, then WHO IS THE DESIGNER in this "Intelligent Design"? ... and what does that mean to me personally



BIOLOGY - Dr Lisanne DAndrea (cellular biology), Dr Georgia Purdom (molecular genetics), Dr Richard Sternberg (molecular biology), Dr Jerry Bergman (biology, chemistry, genetics), Dr Gary Parker (biology, geology), Dr W. R. Thompson, Dr Kevin Anderson (microbiology), Dr Raymond Jones, Dr Walter Lammerts (genetics), Dr Richard Lumsden (cell biology), Dr Scott Minnich (microbiology), Dr Frank Marsh, Dr J.J. Duyvene De Wit (zoology), Dr James Allan (genetics), Dr David Menton (cell biology), Dr Jed Macosko (molecular and cell biology), Dr Glen Wolfrom, Dr Ann Gauger (developmental biology, molecular genetics)

CHEMISTRY - Dr Douglas Axe (biochemistry), Dr David Keller (biochemistry), Dr Michael Behe (biochemistry), Dr Edward Boudreaux (physical chemistry), Dr Duane Gish (biochemistry), Dr Melvin A. Cook, A.E. Wilder-Smith (physical organic chemistry), Dr Matti Leisola (chemistry, biotechnology)

MEDICINE - Dr Raymond Damadian, Dr Pamela Fahey (physiology and biophysics), Dr Tommy Mitchell (medicine), Dr David DeWitt (neuroscience), Dr Dmitri Kouznetsov, Dr David Kaufmann, Dr Jean Lightner

PHYSICS - Dr Lee Spetner (MIT), Dr Eugene Chaffin, Dr Donald DeYoung, Dr Ronald Samec, Dr Thomas Barnes, Dr Russell Humphreys (nuclear physics), Dr Charles Townes (also astronomy)

GEOLOGY - Dr Davis Young, Dr Ralph Stearley, Dr Terry Mortenson, Dr John Reed, Dr Andrew Snelling, Dr Theodore Aufdemberge (Earth Science), Dr John Baumgardner

ASTRONOMY - Dr Guillermo Gonzalez, Dr Jason Lisle (astrophysics), Dr Hugh Ross, Dr Danny Faulkner

ENGINEERING/MATHEMATICS - Dr Joseph Mastropaolo (biomechanics, physiology), Dr Brian Stone, Dr Henry Morris, Dr Gary Locklair (computer science), Dr David Rodabaugh
1212 comments38 of 46 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 25, 2006
* Presentation:

The video looks very much like most other PBS-type programs. It is more informative than entertaining (in contrast to some of the work found on Discovery or the History Channel.)

* Content:

Unless you've been hiding in the wilderness for the last decade, you will have heard of "Intelligent Design" theory. ID, summed up very simply, is a science-based explanation for the origins of life which stands somewhere between Darwinian Evolution and Biblical Creationism. ID recognizes that natural selection is a valid process that plays an important role in the development and/or continued existence of living organisms, but that it cannot explain the origins of life on Earth. ID further argues that life could only have originated by purposeful design or intention of some "intelligent" being, thing or process. It does not, as some of its critics say, suggest that anything like the Christian God must have been the creator of life on Earth (though, admittedly, some ID scientists believe in God.) God is never once mentioned in this video.

This production is short so you only see the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. But the general principles behind ID are explained in a way in which most people could understand them. In that way, it is a brilliant introduction to the theory.

* Bias or agenda:

Critics of this video -- and critics generally of the ID school of thought -- will say this video is biased. You know that when critics cry about something being biased or having an agenda, that those same critics are promoting (or at least concerned about the well-being of) their own agenda. What becomes painfully obvious in this video is the dogmatic approach taken by Darwinian scientists who absolutely refuse to consider that SCIENCE, not religion, can find evidence that something other than random occurrences brought about the varieties of life which inhabit the planet today. Beware of anyone who tells you not to look at all the evidence.

Physicists, long ago, abandoned Newtonian physics as the sole explanation for how matter and energy operate in our universe. Yet, as this video suggests, Darwinian biologists, chemists and philosophers often refuse to even consider that anything other than random processes could account for life on earth in its present form. Such a position would not be troubling if not for the fact that Darwin's theories were premised on what are now outmoded understandings of cellular and molecular biology. Darwin could not have anticipated the complexity of DNA. Today's (Darwinian) scientist has no such excuse. His refusal to consider (empirically, of course) even the possibility of a design explanation for life is proof that he is little more than a practicer of a religion, his god Darwin, his worldview, random chance.

See this video and ask yourself whether ID makes sense. Set aside your belief in God (or lack thereof.)
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on January 15, 2003
This is outstanding production that allows people who are not biological specialists to understand the technical arguments of intelligent design that are usually beyond the grasp of the laity.
It features beautiful computer animations of cellular mechanics, outstanding discussions by leading scientists of the complexity of life and the problems with Darwin's theory.
It does an admirable job of keeping the dialogue scientific, there is nothing religious in nature in the presentation and it is equally suitable for showing in both the Church and the public school system.
The DVD offers some good bonus footage of scientists answering various questions about evolution and I.D., footage of the galapogas wildlife that Darwin encountered and list of web and book references to go to for deeper study.
All in all a great video to use to make people think a second time about evolutionary theory and the argument for God by design.
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on October 2, 2011
Not only is this DVD educational, it comes with an (optional) examination and a reference library as bonus features.

Where "Darwin's Dilemma" explored the Cambrian Explosion and the problems it poses for Darwinian Evolution, this DVD focuses on the idea of irreducible complexity, as illustrated by the bacterial flagellum (a truly remarkable item) as well as the inner workings of the cell producing proteins from DNA instructions. The underlying question is "Where did life come from?" As Dobzhansky memorably pointed out, life did not "evolve" from non-living matter: "Prebiotic evolution is a contradiction in terms."

There are a huge number of questions which evolutionary theory cannot answer, and the biggest one is exactly this: the origin of life. Darwin didn't have a clue, and said so, although he made some silly speculations about a primordial soup. I use the word "silly" because, in Darwin's day, nobody had any idea what the cell was like inside, so they labelled the putative contents "protoplasm" and imagined it as some sort of organic goo. Nothing could have been more mistaken, and you'll see exactly how wrong this idea was in this DVD, which may well contain amazing and beautiful things that you have never seen before. As far as I can tell, the presentation is 100% factual, and the opinions of the various scientists are simply their opinions. But: which came first, proteins or the cell? The man who wrote "Biological Predestination" reports his own perplexity, when he realized that he had to (a) explain how DNA came into existence or (b) explain how proteins came into existence without DNA. He could do neither. In behaving this way, he acted scientifically: if the data conflict with your theory, then you need to get yourself a new theory. It is of no use to quote some courtroom judge on these issues: judges can be as biased as anyone. The best way is to look at the evidence for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

For myself, I find it impossible to view the wonderful, extraordinarily complex nanotechnology at work inside the cell and believe that it's all chance. The origin of DNA can hardly be the result of natural selection, because you need DNA in order to HAVE natural selection.

A beautifully done piece of work, fascinating to watch, which should have a very wide audience.

(Note: I am not a follower of any religion.)
44 comments6 of 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
This is worth watching and pondering. From outset shows how those who were at headwaters of the Intelligent Design movement met to talk about the concerns they were having with Darwinism. Many of them had no religious motives, but rather real scientific issues with the current in-vogue theory. Again, not micro-evolution, but more problematic macro-evolution.

From Kenyon to Behe to others, the massive problems encountered as the technology allowed more probe into cellular and chemical workings at the most minute levels, caused more and more challenge in these scientists minds to how the Darwinian answers did not stand up.

As other reviewers have stated, the animation of proteins and amino acids and DNA/RNA workings at cellular level is truly impressive and allows for these scientists no natural cause answers. Enlightening to hear the honesty of Kenyon, who wrote then monumental evolutionary work on such, but then forced to consider changing when it couldn't meet scientific challenge.

As one states on the video, if the scientific evidence leads down path to metaphysical, then one has to go down that trail, rather than stay on path which doesn't concur with observable, testable evidence. Science is about doing such. This is admirable part of this effort, and concern we should have for those who stick to their position no matter what is shown to refute it scientifically.

Helps all who view to receive another vectored perspective on this hotly debated origins of life topic.
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on January 10, 2010
Fantastic Video:
As a Physicist, I appreciate the well done science. Other intelligent design explanations can have a simplistic perspective and careless science that betray the bias of the author(s). While the purpose of the video is clearly to portray intelligent design positively, it does not cause the producer to use sloppy science. It shows how leading figures in the scientific community are begining to doubt the Darwinian Theory of evolution (evolution of all life from a common ancestor). This explanation is careful and precise. It interviews and quotes some impressive scientific persons. Great animations are used that summarize and explain complex processes. A definate must see.
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on August 18, 2004
I found this video to be well presented and interesting. I knew everything in the video already and more, and it is this that which brings the 4 star review. By this I mean...

The section on the replication of DNA is woefully lacking in details. There are more molecular machines involved in the translational process and including these would have made the view more awe inspiring.

Also, the video gives the impression that protein sequences are absolutely incapable of any change without being destroyed. This is both inaccurate and dangerous in reality. If proteins were all truely this sensitive, than any change in a codon has a good chance of messing up a potentially important function.

The reality is that proteins are beautiful machines which it seems can withstand minor variation in some of their amino acids (some more than others), but beautiful machines designed to function in the real world, a world where DNA is exposed to environments that can cause variations in it code. For this task, proteins and the entire DNA to RNA to protein system is perfectly designed.

I certainly recommend this video as it will inspire you with what it shows, and what it shows is just the tip of the iceberg...

I also suggest looking at the Icons of evolution documentary.
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on January 18, 2006
This video is a good introduction for those unfamilar with the ID/Evolution debate. Certainly the information contained here is not enough to have a deep understanding of the issue, but it does take the time to make some points quite well. I recommend Darwin's Black Box by Behe for those further interested in the microbiological problems with evolution.

I find it interesting how many evolutionary scientists fail to address substance of the miriad of problems posed here and elsewhere. Instead, they respond my denegrating any who would question evolution as "unscientific" or worse. Frankly, healthy scientific theories and healthy scientists thrive on intellectual debate. If the arguments posed by those who question evolution are so amateur, why not just refute them? And if you can't, maybe you should question your own intellectual honesty. Science is not about a popular vote, or political correctness; it is about reason and evidence. There are so many fatal flaws with the theory of evolution, it is time that honest athiests consider the possibility that there just isn't a good answer to the question of origin at this time. It is not necessary to believe in creation, but please stop grasping on to this outdated theory like your life depended on it, or produce some substantial responses.
22 comments21 of 29 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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