Darwin’s Dangerous Idea
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.
In the first episode of the three-part series, 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.
Andrew Marr discovers something surprising about his own evolutionary history as this epic series continues with an exploration of Darwin’s impact on politics and society.
Under the banner of Survival of the Fittest, Darwin’s theory of natural selection has been used to justify imperial expansion and the oppression of indigenous peoples; to inform the science of eugenics – the selective breeding of humans which was implemented in the United States in the early 20th century; and to provide a veneer of scientific respectability to Nazi plans to create an Aryan master race. It was also used quite explicitly to explain the twisted logic of the final solution.
In the final episode of this ground-breaking series about Charles Darwin’s legacy, Andrew Marr discovers how Darwin’s ideas are helping us to save ourselves and all life on earth from extinction. Marr argues that Charles Darwin is the father of ecology. The modern environmental movement was built upon his insight that all life on earth is linked by a delicate web of connections. He also discovers that Darwin’s dangerous idea is inspiring scientists to create a ‘flotilla of Darwinian Noah’s Arks’ to help save life on earth from disaster.
Watch the full documentary now (playlist – 3 hours)