Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life

Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life

2009, Science  -   43 Comments
Ratings: 8.17/10 from 205 users.

Charles Darwin and the Tree of LifeCharles Darwin and the Tree of Life is a documentary about Charles Darwin and his revolutionary theory of evolution through natural selection, produced by the BBC to mark the bicentenary of Darwin's birth. David Attenborough asks three key questions: how and why did Darwin come up with his theory of evolution? Why do we think he was right? And why is it more important now than ever before?

David starts his journey in Darwin's home at Down House in Kent, where Darwin worried and puzzled over the origins of life. David goes back to his roots in Leicestershire, where he hunted for fossils as a child, and where another schoolboy unearthed a significant find in the 1950s. And he revisits Cambridge University, where both he and Darwin studied, and where many years later the DNA double helix was discovered, providing the foundations for genetics.

At the end of his journey in the Natural History Museum in London, David concludes that Darwin's great insight revolutionized the way in which we see the world. We now understand why there are so many different species, and why they are distributed in the way they are. But above all, Darwin has shown us that we are not set apart from the natural world, and do not have dominion over it. We are subject to its laws and processes, as are all other animals on earth to which, indeed, we are related.

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43 Comments / User Reviews

  1. kevin

    its teaching the differences of life from big too small.

  2. Wendy

    What are the relevants of this video to oir understanding on the biology of life? Please answer. Thank you.

  3. Howard Minnick

    What a complete waste of time and redundant misinformation. The theory of Evolution and the Natural Process of Selection with it's analogous comparisons of Natural verses Artificial selection can all be found in Patrick Matthew's 1831 book "On Naval Timber and Arboriculture." There is no evidence that Charles Darwin knew a damn thing about the propagation and development of apples by artificial selection yet that is what he opens Origins of the Species with 29 years later . Earlier papers written by Darwin about Pippen apples in the 1840's is proof positive that Darwin's claim to not know of Patrick Matthew or of "On Naval Timber and Arboriculture" till 1860 is a complete utter fabrication. Patrick Matthew had over 20 years experience in the raising and propagation of apples by means of artificial selection by the time he wrote ONT&A in the late 1820's. In fact it was about Pippen apples that Patrick Matthew is now known to have been the first ever to do analogies of artificial verses natural selection on... and ONT'& A's publication in early January of 1831...was the first ever publication of those analogies. May I also remind those reading this that the 1831 publication of Patrick Matthew's work took place almost an entire year before the Cherokee Class Brig HMS Beagle set sail from Portsmouth on it's Military Mission of topographically mapping both the Atlantic and Pacific coastlines of South America as well as the Falklands and the Galapagos Islands. What is still today and was in 1860 a purposefully and intentionally obvious misdirection by Charles Darwin himself can no longer hold water with the newly uncovered evidence of

    apparent about Darwin's rather dubious claim of not knowing about ONT&A is the fact that ONT&A was anything but an "obscure book" Darwin so pitifully portrayed and got away with for over 155 yearsit to be. ONT&A is in fact a very remarkable and highly professional Book

    is a highly professional work on the selection as well as the management and propagation of

  4. Dale Howey

    This is not an anti-religious video, even the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury agree with evolution and agree the bible is yet a guideline to life, so take your preaching to someone who cares....

    1. daniel Crist

      The Papacy is hardly the best source of bible truth. Most of their doctrines can't even be found in the bible . Denying that the world was created in 7 literal, contiguous days when that's exactly what the bible states, is nothing more than contradicting the Word of God, which the Papacy does all the time. If the Pope believes in Macro evolution, it's a sure bet he's on the wrong side of the issue.

    2. daniel Crist

      There is no empirical evidence that mutations can produce new and genetically different body parts and organs over time. That's what you need to evolve a reptile into a bird or a fish into an amphibian. No one has been able to even begin the process of mutating one kind of animal into another kind of animal. We know of no experiment that even comes close to doing that. What we know is that a species will only produce variations of it's own type. Dogs produce variations of dogs, cats produce variations of cats, etc. Nothing more, nothing less.


    This video just goes to show how deceived the eyes of men are, rather, how hard the hearts of men are to not want to believe in their Creator God, as the bible states, " The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately corrupt"...Jeremiah 17:9; Psalm 14:1" The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God"...

    1. Samuel Morrissey

      Stop preaching, your god isn't real (or at least you have absolutely no way of knowing if he is),thus you are both the deceiver and the deceived. Your 'heart' may well be corrupt but you speak for yourself only.

    2. sethyboi

      true man

    3. Sean

      lear some science.
      to all the ignorant religious people in the comments here. Learn what the scientific method is and get over your delusions

      Can't belive even in the start of the twenty first century there are "evolution deniers"

  6. Damien Whelan

    i am believer in the written word of the bible, and not what it means as told, i have read for myself and have come to know the some of the Love of God thanks to it,
    However, i believe that the same god, created everything we see, not in an instant of creation, but by allowing a reality to come about that life could live in eventually,
    of course god and science should be seen as the same, we are trying to understand using science, God created all that we see and governed it not by might and fear mongering but by the laws he created.

    if God did not wish us to know, why can we imagine

    if God did not want us to test, why can we recall

    if God wanted blind Faith, Eve couldnt have possibly eaten the apple in the first place

    1. Kapila Perera

      Which God are you talking about ?
      Christian God, Muslim God, Hindu God, Greek Gods....

    2. pixiebarrett1

      eve is a parable...... the whole bible is.

    3. Samuel Morrissey

      Spot on! some parts are quite thoughtful, other parts are simply disgusting. The problem is, most christians believe it is the word of god! can you believe it?

      And on a documentary about a scientist and his work...

      If this was my house folks you would be required to leave your gods by the door. Have a little respect.

      Regards, Sam.

    4. shash

      yeah, nice info on this page

  7. jonathan jackward

    it is not a requirement to be a materialist, if you are a scientist or base your beliefs off of science.

  8. Luker

    Genesis 2:21-22, “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. “

  9. Lary Nine

    As are you, sir.
    Teach the controversy elsewhere.

  10. over the edge

    i will try to approach all of your comments. first the fossil record has some holes agreed but very few. fossils are vary rare the right conditions have to occur right after death or fossilization wont occur. most estimates are that much less than 1% ever become fossils and out of that very small number we have to find them. next we never evolved from apes evolution doesn't claim that. we share a common ancestor much different. i went to the Smithsonian web site and on their site alone i found seven pages of pics at sixteen per page. not only is that much more than the 14 total you claim but i would guess that the whole collection isn't on the web (only a guess on my part).then you bring up the hoaxes .yes there have been some but science discovered them and dismissed them. that shows the rigor of scientific testing more then pokes a hole in the theory. yes Darwin's theory is a theory (look up scientific definition of a theory) so is the theory of gravity only a theory are you also saying gravity isn't real. as for evolution itself that is a FACT . then you bring up DNA and RNA and you are right that Darwin had no tools available to see such things but isn't it amazing that the recent discoveries only add to the evidence for evolution. lastly Darwin's theory has nothing to do with a series of accidents it is random mutations through natural selection please don't misrepresent what he stated. now if you could please explain your ideas on origins of man and provide evidence

    1. h20Enthusiast h20Enthusiast

      fossils need extreme pressure in order to form... can we say "flood?"

      also dead plants and animals would decay before they could "fossilize" without such pressure....

      also aquatic organism fossils are found at very very high altitudes and intact fossilized trees are found standing upright in "million year old" geo layers

      can we say fllooooood?

    2. Epicurus

      no you cant say flood. a global flood would have desalinated the earths oceans not allowing for the oceans we have today or the sea life we have.

      also if there was a single flood to cause all fossils that would mean that we would find all the fossils in the same level of strata. this is absolutely impossible.

      finally aquatic animals are found on the top of mountains because mountains are formed by tectonic plates pushing against one another or continents colliding like the Himalayas, so naturally the ground was at one point flat and under the ocean.

      maybe you should get some actually knowledge before making silly comments.....

      lets think about this. the flood in the bible is supposed to have happened roughly 4400 years ago yet you expect people to believe that we have ALL of this diversification of life and 7 billion people all different ethnicities all within 4400 years?

      COME ON!

    3. Top_Quark

      @h20, the biblical flood is actually well... just a story. How can you ignore solid and undisputed (at least scientifically) scientific data in favor of some story in the bible? Biblical myths and legends have borrowed a lot from ancient Mesopotamian mythology (in fact almost exactly) for e.g. the creation of the world in 6 days, garden of Eden and snake, creation of man from clay and so on.

      There is an interesting parallel of Noah’s flood story in the Epic of Gilgamesh (the Epic of Gilgamesh is one of the oldest works of literature ever written. It is mythical but Gilgamesh was probably a historical king of Sumer around 2,700BC). It goes like this; Gilgamesh, who is in search for eternal life after despairing for his friend’s death, reaches his ancestor Utnapishtim (Noah’s parallel?) to whom the gods have granted eternal life. Utnapishtim was rewarded for having saved human and animal life at the time of the great Flood. Utnapishtim tells Gilgamesh that mankind had sinned and was condemned to death by the gods who then sent a great flood. The gods forewarned Utnapishtim about the flood and gave him instructions on how to build an ark to save his family and animals. The rest you can read yourself.

      The bible was written in the 8th or 7th century B.C. while the Mesopotamian myths had been in writing for almost two thousand years before that. In the bible these same stories were told in such a way that the ancient people could relate to the stories that they already knew. However, they had a huge Monotheistic twist; instead of multiple gods & goddess it was now one God who created the world and is controlling it.

      So please don’t take the bible as literal truth when you should be guided by scientific knowledge.

  11. Whooboy

    Uh, where's the beef? Darwin stated that evolution of species proceeded in numerous, slight successive steps. Thus, we should be able to produce unnumerable transitional fossils for each species. Instead the Smithsonian has a display of 14 supposedly transitions from ape to man many of which are known to be from extinct Chimps. Supposedly, billions of years of evolution and the best they can cull together after over 150 years of assiduous digging is 14 transitions and many of those from extinct chips, all of them quite fragmentary however.

    Sounds like a fairy tale without proof to me.

    Perhaps we should have a sit down with our supposed ancestors and discuss the issue. Let's see human's can think, write, speak and contemplate. Uh, our assumed ancestors? Duh, none of the above.

    Gee, Darwin sure splained a whole lot didn't he? Too bad there ain't no proof ceptin the fairy tale.

    Where are the transitional fossils? Where oh where are the unumerable transitions to prove the theory? (operative word there- theory) So sorry, no fossils yet. Got some good hoaxes to share however like the Piltdown Man and and the Nebraska man and Haeckels fraudulant embryo's and Lucy the knuckle walker (like the rest of the apes).

    Well, I'm sure our sit down with the ancestors will clear it all right on up. Maybe David can conduct the interviews? Should prove as productive as the propoganda above which ignores the holes in this still unproven and rapidly fading fairy tale as science advances and Darwins theory stays stuck in the 19th century.

    Cambrian explosion anyone? People aren't complaining about science. They are complaining about the lack of proof and logic to a theory that was created when the cell was thought to be bits of protoplasm but is now known to be like a factory taking information from DNA through nanobots and transferring it to RNA then transporting it to the ribosomes to be translated by nanobots (molecular proteins) error checked into protein chains and specifically folded in the chaperonins, then transported to where it is needed by the cell. Question- Where did the information in the DNA come from? A series of accidents? Duh!

  12. Michael Mayr

    Are you commenting on this video from prison Mr. Hovind?

  13. Joey Twotimes

    Why are religious people so upset about science and evolution? They don't complain about watching television, driving cars or flying in airpplanes - all created as a result of scientific evolution, as well as a bunch of other things. These arguments never seem to matter until you question someone's beliefs. They don't have to worry too much anyway because science still deals with the idea of the finger of god starting the whole process we call life. Look at the big bang theory, no one knows why it happened, it just did. Was it the finger of god - who knows. All I know is that if god is out there, he (or she or it) keeps their distance and never answers the phone. Then again, he (or she or it) wouldn't have much to talk to anyway.

    1. jonathan jackward

      so a television technician, automobile designer and airplane engineer all walk into a bar..........


      And who was it that started the practice of science? God-fearing men with their names behind some of the law's used by modern science, eg Boyle, Newton, name a few

  14. ron evo

    Mind you,
    Darwin himself concluded in Origin of species that evolution
    is real, but does not exclude a divine start as God might
    be a prime mover. This idea goes back to Aristolis.
    Wether you consider this true or not depends on your mindset.

  15. Waldo Skipsey

    So! Every living creature even Man starts life as a single cell. Yet there are 'adults' who cannot accept this. Why is it so? Are they afraid of something? Like losing their belief systems?

    1. daniel Crist

      No, maybe it's because it's completely ludicrous. Especially when there is no empirical evidence that mutations can actually produce new and genetically different body parts and organs in a species so that a reptile can eventually evolve into a bird. Macro evolution is not science. It can't be demonstrated, observed, measured or repeated in experiment.

  16. Fender Fan

    Sorry Kent but you can't argue with facts, science has evidence and religion has a man who lived 2000 years ago and a book written a couple of hundred years later

  17. Sick of Lies

    Evopoppycock. Kudos to Mr. Hovind

  18. Linda McGuigan

    Such a great privelige to have seen this documentary.
    Thank You,

    Love and Peace,
    Linda ;-*

  19. KUMAR

    Darvins theory was made more beautiful to watch by the great, greatest of man named Dr Sir David Attenborough. it would be my pleasure if i had a chance to see him and meet him personally.

  20. Chief

    In my view, Darwin, having been prepared to enter into the clergy, obeyed an admonition of the Scriptures; "Prove all things"...From the accounts of his life, as a naturalist, he was not narrow minded in his pursuit to prove the origin of species upon this planet. To disprove his work it would take an equal amount of focus and an exceptional mind to offer irrefutable evidence to the contrary. If evolution is wrong, prove it.

    1. daniel Crist

      Darwin was ignorant of the cell and it's complexities. He thought it was a globule of protoplasm. With that foundation for building his theory, he was highly ignorant of the genetics as well. If Darwin had met Mendel and if they'd talked for at least 4 hours, he would have never written his ridiculous Origins.

  21. Epicurus

    sorry Kent Hovind but evolution is absolutely correct. and just by having a name like Kent Hovind i can already preempt your arguments and already know the answers to all of them. so please dont even bother.

  22. Kent Hovind

    Always great to see David Attenborough presenting in his mesmerizing style ! Evolution is wrong by the way !

    1. gtirjohn

      are you out now or still serving time fraudster....


      hows life in the klink ya fraudster. typical religious fanatic preacher. nothing but a thief. but then again when the religion you have devoted your life to, is quite simply, THE BIGGEST FRAUD OF ALL TIME, maybe not surprising. follow the example you have been set. your just a sheep. creationism bull****. . . . .

    3. Henry

      How's life in the clink ya fraudster!

  23. Solomon S. Buyco

    Darwin - Accepting of what is as it is in their forms and sets forth from it.

    Einstein - Don't argue with results, accept them as facts as it is.

    Solomon - it is because it is. :o)

  24. Tom

    Thank you very much for this documentary!