No Dinosaurs in Heaven is a film essay that examines the hijacking of science education by religious fundamentalists, threatening the separation of church and state and dangerously undermining scientific literacy.
"No Dinosaurs in Heaven chronicles the many significant issues and arguments necessary to understand and, in essence, to support the scientific basis for evolution. The film propels the viewer to the heart of the problem... with surprising results. With the awesome scenery of the Grand Canyon as a classroom, the viewer will be impressed with the conflict between creationism and the endeavor to prevent the religious attacks on the scientific basis for evolution. The subject of some films is meant to be tasted, while with other films such as No Dinosaurs in Heaven the subject matter should be chewed and digested."
The documentary weaves together two strands: an examination of the problem posed by creationists who earn science education degrees only to advocate anti-scientific beliefs in the classroom; and a visually stunning raft trip down the Grand Canyon, led by Dr. Eugenie Scott, that debunks creationist explanations for its formation. These two strands expose the fallacies in the "debate," manufactured by anti-science forces, that creationism is a valid scientific alternative to evolution.
Emmy Award-winning director (Before Stonewall, Paris Was a Woman) and science educator Greta Schiller uses her own experience -- with a graduate school biology professor who refused to teach evolution -- to expose the insidious effect that so-called “creationist science” has had on science education. Featuring NYC science teachers, No Dinosaurs in Heaven intelligently argues that public education must steadfastly resist the encroachment of religion in the form of anti-evolution creationism, and that science literacy is crucial to a healthy democracy.
“When science permeates everything from stem cell research to use of water, science education is crucial to a healthy democracy.” – The New York Times
Suitable for grades 6-college. Helpful to teach: philosophy/science education/education policy/ethics/religion and society/science and society/evolution/social studies/biology/women's studies/teacher quality/sociology/public understanding of science.
"Evolution vs. creationism, that is the question... The crux of the matter presented here is what is currently being taught to college students who intend to become science teachers. Issues of academic freedom and freedom of speech emerge as the participants share the filmmaker's concern while speaking to their own experiences. Schiller skillfully resists padding the work with gorgeous scenery, which keeps the film under an hour. She focuses instead on the message that there is a problem in science education. Openly biased on the evolution side, this film is a must-purchase for academic libraries."
"The film moves from the Colorado [River] to the American Museum of Natural History to Intelligent Design lectures, to actual middle school science classes in New York City... This DVD is recommended for college science teacher certification classes and science education programs."
"No Dinosaurs in Heaven'touches on a host of important issues, from academic freedom to the nature of science. It provides a stimulus for wide-ranging discussion."
"No Dinosaurs in Heaven leaves no stone unturned in exposing the utterly false notion that there are scientifically valid interpretations casting doubt on the very idea of organic evolution. The Grand Canyon is a splendid backdrop—and a perfect laboratory inviting direct comparison of scientific vs. creationist interpretations. It is marvelous to see geology serving as the bedrock foundation of the scientific study of evolution."
"Independent filmmaker Greta Schiller is wading into the debate between creationists and scientists on Evolution. Schiller, who has won awards for her previous films, followed Dr. Eugenie Scott, Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education, through the Grand Canyon, one of the great natural wonders of the world. Creationists claim it was caused by the flood described in the Book of Genesis. For Schiller, it presented a stunning backdrop against which real science–and folk science–could be compared and contrasted."
"This thought-provoking documentary... sees evolution as scientific fact (not opinion), arguing that 'science literacy is crucial to a healthy democracy' and creationist misinformation has no place in schools."
"No Dinosaurs in Heaven is a documentary that tells a shocking story."
"Veteran filmmaker and science buff Greta Schiller goes back to school late in life only to discover that the Gospel-based 'creation science' of religious fundamentalists has infiltrated secular American education, even up to the college level in cosmopolitan New York City. Schiller joins a raft expedition in the Grand Canyon—led by Dr. Eugenie Scott, Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education—that points out the absurdity of creationism’s view. Schiller returns to New York, visiting the American Museum of Natural History, as well as actual classrooms, where public school teachers must address the controversy head-on. Recommended (three stars)."
With teachers and future teachers as the prime audience, this film is sure to spark discussion. The overriding concern that people need to be more knowledgeable in science, and that science teachers are on the front lines to save the next generation from science illiteracy, is stressed. Teachers and future teachers may take this as a call to arms, an inspiration, and a pat on the back that what they are doing is important.
Beautiful shots of the Grand Canyon, especially the rocks, rock layers, and water, combine with the music which meshes beautifully with the natural setting to make this film a pleasure to watch. The interviews with teachers and scientists bring the discussion into real life and what is happening today. This would be especially valuable for college students in Education programs, especially those students who hope to teach science, and for teachers who are already in the schools teaching science. Academic and public libraries may want to consider purchase of this film because of its timely importance and controversy.
"Takes the viewer on a philosophical and geological journey...The video would be most useful in a Sociology of Science or a
Sociology of Religion class or in an Introduction to Sociology class
in a unit on the culture wars....this film might make for a welcome
break from discussions of methods and methodology that often occur
early in the Intro to Sociology class and for which there are few
engaging videos." --August 2015 ASA Film Review.