MOVIES: 'The Principle' and the significance of life

by Phil Boatwright, posted Thursday, January 21, 2016 (2 years ago)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (BP) -- A documentary titled "The Principle" has inflamed the scientific community as it ultimately sides with the Christian worldview that in the beginning, God created all. Yay for us. But there could be a problem.

In the words of Rick Delano, the documentary's writer/producer: "The Principle brings to light astonishing new scientific observations challenging the Copernican principle, the foundational assumption underlying the modern scientific worldview. The idea that the Earth occupies no special or favored position in the cosmos has launched the last two scientific revolutions -- the Copernican Revolution and Relativity -- and, as Lawrence Krauss has said, we could be on the verge of a third, with 'Copernicus coming back to haunt us.' Interviews with leading cosmologists are interspersed with the views of dissidents and mavericks, bringing into sharp focus the challenges and implications not only for cosmology, but for our cultural and religious view of reality."

Those who had trouble passing eighth-grade science class may struggle with words such as Copernican, multiverses and metaphysics. But if you stick with the entire production of The Principle you'll likely get a glimmer of reasoning that shines through the theorem that we and our planet are accidental and without significance. The PG-rated, 90-minute documentary is available on DVD and Blu-ray from Stellar Productions.

As to the problem I mentioned earlier, the narrator Kate Mulgrew and several of the production's featured scientists have disassociated themselves from the documentary, claiming to have not been informed as to the filmmaker's true agenda. (The DVD includes a bonus featurette that defends the production's stand and addresses the conspiracy aimed at discrediting The Principle.) But if the producer has manipulated the facts or been deceitful, then where is the truth? Who's really right, the creationist or the Big Bang theorist?

Because I number myself among those eighth graders who had trouble with science, I don't feel qualified to pronounce the winner between religious filmmakers and the secular scientific worldview. I'm armed with faith, but not with the understanding of scientific methodology.

I can say this: whatever the film's agenda, The Principle is worthy of your attention, for it cannot be denied that those interviewed said what they said. Their pronouncements should cause those in the world of physics to reconsider the possibility of intelligent design. The film's ultimate revelation suggests that in all his knowledge, man may still not have all the facts. But because nonbelievers won't concede the possibility of a Creator and an eternal plan, one must assume it's because they don't want there to be one.

"Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" (from 2008 and rated PG) is an investigative documentary that probes the snubbing of scientists and teachers who teach the theory of intelligent design. With touches of cynical humor and moments of thoughtful reasoning, Expelled's filmmakers took on the halls of prejudicial academia, arguing against the theory that man came from fish in the sea or apes in the trees. Admittedly, that film also had an agenda. It mocked the narrowness of man's intellectual conceit, fighting back against those who attempted to debunk religious conviction. It is thought-provoking, amusing and scary because it points out that our nation's educational system, which once embraced a reverence for God and spiritual factors, is now headed by those who don't.

As with Expelled, The Principle spotlights man's partisan views when attempting to understand and explain the creation of the cosmos. I was reminded by The Principle that at one time the brightest among the scientific set professed the world to be flat, and that one could fall off if venturing too close to the edge. As then, there are now those who are assured of their findings, even though they admit there are still many unanswered (perhaps unanswerable) questions concerning how the solar system came to be.

Ultimately, the arguments of where we came from and the reason for Earth's formulation demand faith.

Those who have calculated that mountains, water, eyesight and the consciousness of man were determined by an accidental big bang 14 billion years ago weren't around to confirm it. Therefore, the word theory must be applied to their hypothesis. (They must hate that).

Shortly after the opening credits of The Principle, a statement is proclaimed by Big Bang theory-leaners that man is insignificant. That assessment brought to mind one word -- Mozart. By Mozart, I mean Shakespeare. Washington. Lincoln. Churchill. Salk. Curie. It also caused me to consider Billy Graham, and the man down the street who works three jobs in order to better his child's future. Are these knowns and unknowns not examples of significance?

The film also refutes the rather draconian proclamation that Earth itself is insignificant.

No matter where we look throughout the universe, Earth is the only space-cradled rock that doesn't look desolate. It beams with life, hope and reason. How can one then conclude that Earth is insignificant?

Be it by a cosmic clash of formless energy, or by an orderly Designer, Earth and man are miracles. So my takeaway from this production is that miracles don't happen without significance.

Phil Boatwright, in addition to writing for Baptist Press, reviews films at http://moviereporter.com/ and is a regular contributor to "The World and Everything In It," a weekly radio program from WORLD News Group.
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