No scientist wants to be called a dodo.

But this week the director of a documentary that examines the debate surrounding biological evolution will be comparing scientists to the extinct bird in a presentation at West Virginia University.

In his documentary “A Flock of Dodos,” Randy Olson compares his fellow biologists to dodos. For a group of people that should be well equipped to learn from the mistakes of extinct species, Olson believes that they have done a dismal job in adapting to the current-day media hype surrounding the debate over evolution and intelligent design/creationism.

The documentary will be screened at West Virginia University on Tuesday (Feb. 22) in the Mountainlair’s Gluck Theatre at 7 p.m.

Olson will discuss the film and give his take on the subject the following day on Wednesday, Feb. 23 in the Mountainlair’s Blue Ballroom at 6 p.m.

The documentary covers the need for scientists to be more concise, less arrogant and more humorous in dealing with the media and those who dispute the theory of evolution, lest they go the way of the dodo and wind up extinct.

Randy Olson is a scientist-turned-filmmaker. He is the writer-director of the feature films, “Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus,” and “Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy,” and the author of “Don’t Be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style.”

He earned his Ph.D. in biology from Harvard in 1984 and was a tenured professor of marine biology at the University of New Hampshire until 1994, when he jokingly says he lost his mind and moved to Hollywood where he obtained his Master’s of Fine Arts in cinema from the University of Southern California in 1997. In 2002, he founded the Shifting Baselines Ocean Media Project, which partners with celebrities to bring more attention to the problem of ocean decline and to foster support for conservation efforts.

For more information about the lecture, contact Hawley Montgomery-Downs, assistant professor of psychology and coordinator of the behavioral neuroscience program, at (304) 293-2001 or



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