Darwin's Dangerous Idea~ Body and Soul (1/3) 2009 03 05 BBC2
In the first episode of the three-part series, Andrew Marr explores how Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection has taken on a life of its own far beyond the world of science.
He argues that Darwin's theory has transformed our understanding of what it means to be human. Over the last 150 years, Darwin's ideas have challenged the need for a creator, undermined religious authority, and provided new ways of looking at the origins of human morality.
Marr's journey begins following Darwin's footsteps in Tierra del Fuego at the southernmost tip of South America where Darwin first encountered an 'uncivilized' native tribe. This began to raise questions in his mind about the origins of the human race. The answers to these questions would emerge over the next 30 years, culminating in the publication of On The Origin of Species in 1859.
Marr then traces the development of Darwin's idea in the years since then and finds a range of influences that Darwin could never have imagined: from the existential philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche to the battlefields of the First World War; from the Freudian psycho-analyst's couch to the Vatican; and from the genetic logic of kindness to an Islamic creationist's claim that Darwin is to blame for modern terrorism. Darwin's dangerous idea is as influential and challenging today as it was 150 years ago.
Darwin's Dangerous Idea~ Born Equal (2/3)
Andrew Marr explores Darwin's impact on politics and society. The theory of natural selection has been used to justify imperial expansion and oppression, but Darwin's ideas were also crucial to the democratic, anti-racist values of the United Nations, and have been used to help eliminate a fatal genetic disease from the Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn. Darwin's theory of evolution has also led to the difficult social and political choices presented by predictive DNA testing.
Darwin's Dangerous Idea -Life and Death 3/3
In the final episode of the series, Andrew Marr discovers how Darwin's ideas are helping mankind to save life on earth from extinction - the environmental movement was built upon his insight that all life on earth is connected. Exploring the impact of industrialisation, intensive farming and our growing hunger for meat, Marr tells the story of our slow awakening to the full implications of Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection and our own destructive powers as a species.