MONTREAL – An international entertainment company is touring the world, performing a show that they describe as “a fascinating journey into the evolution of mankind.”
Cirque du Soleil (French for “Circus of the Sun”) is a popular Quebec-based entertainment group that generates a yearly revenue of approximately $1 billion, with 5,000 employees worldwide. Since 2010, the company has been regularly performing a show called “Totem,” which features a storyline based primarily on evolutionary “science,” but with a few references to various creation story “myths.”
“Totem traces the fascinating journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly,” Cirque’s website explains. “The characters evolve on a stage evoking a giant turtle, the symbol of origin for many ancient civilizations. Inspired by many founding myths, Totem illustrates, through a visual and acrobatic language, the evolutionary progress of species. Somewhere between science and legend Totem explores the ties that bind Man to other species, his dreams and his infinite potential.”
After showings in numerous Canadian, European, and U.S. cities, Totem will debut in Columbus, Ohio, this Thursday. So far, the evolution-flaunting show has been seen by 2.5 million people worldwide, and event organizers are expecting large crowds in Ohio—a Cirque publicist told The Columbus Dispatch they are forecasting 60,000 attendees for the upcoming Columbus shows.
Many attendees who have seen Totem say they were impressed by the performance. One person raved that the show “was simply amazing and outstanding” and “my dream come true.” Another described it as “absolutely breathtaking… Unforgettable experience, a must see!” However, others were unimpressed by the event’s plot.
“Massively disappointed that they’ve chosen a story line regarding evolution,” stated one reviewer online. “I was ready to spend hundreds on this show, but I cannot put a single penny towards this ‘theory’. Sure some are rolling their eyes, but I believe what I believe and I stand firm in my beliefs and carefully choose how to spend my money. Sorry.”
Brian Thomas, science writer for the Institute for Creation Research, told Christian News Network that artistic portrayals of human evolution like those in Totem are not new, but are evident in museums, movies, and various media outlets. However, Thomas says these evolutionary stories are unscientific, and “rest on pure imagination.”
“Most people in western cultures believe evolutionary origins stories wholeheartedly, including many Christians, who lamely mix God into those anti-God stories,” he stated. “Unfortunately, evolutionary stories merely masquerade as science. Experiments and observations not only fail to support them, but outright confront them.”
David DeWitt, director of the Center for Creation Studies at Liberty University, says religious influences were prevalent in the arts just a few centuries ago. Now, however, “as generations of students are taught to accept that humans are descended from amphibians, [evolutionary] thought will permeate through all areas of culture including the arts.”
“In fact,” DeWitt continued, “[Totem] is a story and ultimately that is what makes evolution seem compelling…the story. When you peel back the layers and ask the tough questions, that is when it falls apart. For example, where is the evidence that humans evolved from amphibians? Biochemical and morphological similarity can be the result of a common designer as well as a common ancestor. Variation within a kind doesn’t give evidence of one kind becoming another.”
Photo: Cirque du Soleil