Collapsing Creation

November 9th, 2009 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

In a fit of good timing, the review night for Collapsing Creation at was the night before I flew out, so went along at 6.30 pm. They started early so people could make the fireworks afterwards at 9 pm.

Collapsing Creation is about Charles Darwin, and has a cast of five. Darwin himself, his wife (who incidentally was also his cousin) Emma, Alfred Thomas (an all too zealous supporter based on Alfred Wallace), John Roberts (his former agent who turns on Darwin as the consequences of his theories become clear) and the comic servant, Joseph Gardiner who brings much light relief.

The Roberts character is based primarily on Robert FitzRoy who served as the second Governor of New Zealand, after Hobson. FitzRoy captained the HMS Beagle, which with Darwin on board, visited New Zealand in December 1835.

The play is more a drama, than a comedy (but there are many light moments). The star for me Catherine Downes as Emma Darwin. She played so well this devout religious wife, whom nevertheless supported the work of her husband despite the revelations of his theories of evolution, and his eventual agnosticism.

It is hard to imagine today, when not even the Pope literally preaches creationism, what it was like in 1859 when Darwin’s publication of On the Origin of Species was published. He was a latter day Galileo in some regards.

Darwin_ape

This cartoon (credit Wikipedia) from 1871 is typical of much of the reaction to Darwin.

But the play is not so much about the larger battle over the book and is theories, but more about the relationships between the five cast members. Not just Charles and Emma, but his friend turned opponent, and his supporter turned outcast.

The play last two hours, and could be a bit shorter. The first half hour was relatively slow moving, but overall it was a very enjoyable play.

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21 Responses to “Collapsing Creation”

  1. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Sounds somewhat similar to how the movie is done:

    Darwin is torn between his love for his deeply religious wife and his own growing belief in a world where God has no place. He finds himself caught in a battle between faith and reason, love and truth. This is the extraordinary story of Charles Darwin and how his master-work “The Origin of Species” came to light. It tells of a global revolution played out in the confines of a small English village; a passionate marriage torn apart by the most provocative idea in history – evolution; and a theory saved from extinction by the logic of a child.
    http://creationthemovie.com/flash/#/synopsis/

    Great angle.

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  2. XavierG (76 comments) says:

    Actually it is quite easy to imagine today…given that recent polls have indicated 40% of Americans (and increasingly also in Britain and Australia) reject any notion of evolutionary biology outright – even evolution guided by God. Willful ignorance is on the rise again…

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  3. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    Darwin really played into the hands of his critics with that silly beard. The monkey cartoons were inevitable.

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  4. PaulL (5,873 comments) says:

    Boy, cartoons were better in the good old days, weren’t they. That is really well drawn.

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  5. Pete George (22,839 comments) says:

    Beards were a lot more common then. Perhaps not coincidentally, 5 blade super turbo charged XL double overhead lube strip prickle pluckers were not as prevalent then.

    Maybe Darwin was wary of going to a Christian barber with a gleaming cut throat.

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  6. RRM (9,453 comments) says:

    Have a Kiwiblog poll!

    (A) Creation
    (B) Evolution
    (C) God-supervised evolution

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  7. JC (909 comments) says:

    “Willful ignorance is on the rise again…”

    Not really. Pollsters agree its a touchy subject when you ask “Do you believe in evolution”.. because over the years this question has been conflated to mean “Do you believe in evolution or God”. Most people with religion do believe in God and do believe in evolution, but when the question has become an implied either/or they get defensive and stick up for God.

    There’s the same conflation with Global Warming.. if you asked “Do you believe in man made Global Warming or its just God fucking about”.. you’d get lots saying God rather than AGW :)

    JC

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  8. XavierG (76 comments) says:

    @JC – These polls include theistic evolution, which allows for an evolutionary process supervised by sky fairies – even then they don’t want a bar of it.

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  9. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    ..because over the years this question has been conflated to mean “Do you believe in evolution or God”. Most people with religion do believe in God and do believe in evolution, but when the question has become an implied either/or they get defensive and stick up for God.

    Not sure about that. When you ask people “do you believe in evolution” many say no because they believe the Bible is the literal word of God and that it dates the world at about 6000 years and says it was all created by God in 7 days. Which is completely incompatible with evolution which is why they honestly answer “No”.

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  10. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    now if they need an actor to play that cartoon character part – there happens to be a certain unemployed blogger on this site who’d fit right in…
    ..eh?

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  11. labrator (1,750 comments) says:

    This thread could get interesting or old very quickly. Thank science for Darwin! Or something like that.

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  12. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    malcolm 2:02 pm,

    Not sure about that. When you ask people “do you believe in evolution” many say no because they believe the Bible is the literal word of God and that it dates the world at about 6000 years and says it was all created by God in 7 days. Which is completely incompatible with evolution which is why they honestly answer “No”.

    You exactly describe my position and belief, Malcolm.

    I really DO believe that evolution is completely incompatible with the Biblical account of Creation.
    Not only that, but evolution leads many directly to hell; one of Satan’s main tools in his toolbox.

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  13. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    “5 blade super turbo charged XL double overhead lube strip prickle pluckers were not as prevalent then.”

    :D

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  14. Pete George (22,839 comments) says:

    The Biblical accounts of many things are incompatible with reality. There are some useful parables, and some badly outdated stuff too.

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  15. joe90 (273 comments) says:

    Satan’s main tools in his toolbox

    Stahlwille or Snap-on?.

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  16. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    “When you ask people “do you believe in evolution” many say no because they believe the Bible is the literal word of God and that it dates the world at about 6000 years and says it was all created by God in 7 days.”

    The whole “young earth” creationism thing is actually declining and other interpretations are becoming more widespread. Like any activists the young earthers were a very noisy minority with an axe to grind.
    Modern science is actually a great deal more friendly to Christianity than even in Darwins day, and the theory of evolution is not without its problems.

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  17. ropata (117 comments) says:

    Kris K, I wouldn’t base my faith on a literalist interpretation of Genesis, which is a minority opinion amongst Bible scholars (except fringe Southern Baptist inerrantists).

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  18. Michael E (274 comments) says:

    According to the Bible, God made day and night on the first day, but then made the Sun on the fourth day. Which pretty much doesn’t fit with anything proven by science.

    The Nicean creed (which according to my RE Teacher at college said is what Christians believe) simply starts: “We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things seen and unseen.“. Doesn’t preclude anything discovered by scientists.

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  19. ropata (117 comments) says:

    According to the Bible, God made day and night on the first day, but then made the Sun on the fourth day. Which pretty much doesn’t fit with anything proven by science.

    Michael E, that’s exactly why we can’t read Genesis as a scientific textbook, when it’s obviously a creation myth. Genesis precedes science by ~5000 years so it’s kind of annoying when young-earther creationists try and impose their 21st century template on their reading of the scriptures. An exclusively literal interpretation leads to all kinds of silliness.

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  20. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    “According to the Bible, God made day and night on the first day, but then made the Sun on the fourth day. Which pretty much doesn’t fit with anything proven by science”

    It is understood that the early atmosphere was translucent not clear as it is now, if you read Genesis as though it was written by a theoretical observer on the ground the Sun Moon and stars would not have been visible until well after day and night existed, Genesis refers to these as “lights in the sky” after all, so an earth based view point is inferred. This is further confirmed in the book of Job where it refers to the earth being wrapped in darkness.

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  21. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Michael E [November 9th, 2009 at 8:50 pm],

    According to the Bible, God made day and night on the first day, but then made the Sun on the fourth day. Which pretty much doesn’t fit with anything proven by science.

    Now I don’t usually like to quote a whole lot of Bible verses to support my arguments; but in this case I feel I must to adequately support my assertions.

    How was there light prior to the creation of the sun on day four?

    Gen 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

    Yes, there was light before the sun was created on day four. (Bare with me)

    Isa 60:19 The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.

    There will come a time where the sun will no longer be the provider of light; God Himself shall be your (literal) light.

    2Co 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

    Just as God commanded the light to shine before the sun was created, He also shines His spiritual light into our hearts. There is a link between God’s supernatural light (prior to the sun) and His spiritual light.

    1Jo 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

    God Himself is light – both physically and spiritually.

    Rev 21:10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
    Rev 21:11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;

    Rev 21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

    Rev 22:5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

    After the new earth and the new heavens have been created, God Himself will be the provider of light – there will be no need for the sun/moon/stars. God’s light; His glory, shall illuminate the entire creation.

    Conclusion:
    This is how there could be light prior to the creation of the sun; God Himself was the light prior to day four when the sun came into being.

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