Darwin's Dangerous Idea

Darwin's Dangerous Idea

2010, Science  -  Playlist 42 Comments
Ratings: 7.30/10 from 27 users.

Darwin's Dangerous IdeaAndrew 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.

More great documentaries

Notify of

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

The video isn't of Andrew Marr's BBC documentary, but rather the first part of a US seven parter (PBS I think?). Not to say the video isn't good, just not as described

6 years ago

I see a lot of people saying Darwin's survival of the fittest. It was not Darwin that used that quote it was Herbert Spencer.

6 years ago

I always thought that divine, was where the grapes grew.

9 years ago

Very good doc that takes an illuminating and honest look at the reach, implications, effects and misrepresentations of Darwin's theory of evolution across the last 150 odd years. It also shows how dangerous a badly interpreted idea in the wrong hands can be. I wonder what the great man would think if he were alive today.

over the edge
10 years ago

Al Klymko
i am not a fan of trolls but in this case i hope you are one. if you are not your post is a frightening indictment of the education system (no matter where you are from). can you take a break from displaying your ignorance and list your issues with his theory? or is this the best you have?

10 years ago

Was Darwin a scientist? Why do people believe the ideas of a guy that had no clue about science? How is he different from the Turkish guy mentioned in the beginning of the documentary? Why is it that people don't challenge Darwin's unscientific ideas for not having some sort of science degree? Would you allow a mechanic perform heart surgery on you only because he says he knows a lot about the heart? Would you allow a hairdresser do brain surgery on you just because he did well in his science class? Some of you would since you don't even care to search more about Darwin's life. Darwin's ideas are based on physical observations. That is why the world has tried to dig up some "proof" that his ideas are true. But so far, they have come short of that.

11 years ago

Recommmended to everyone who wants to know about the fact that Evolution is a Scientific theory , and Social Darwinism is NOT, don't mix facts with beliefs!

11 years ago

The Fight is over which came first 'chicken or the egg'

Darwin says that from matter, intelligence is born and religion says that it is other way around.

11 years ago

wow - i thought Islam was the root of all evil!

Waite Fox
12 years ago

Breaks my heart that a boy like that goin' bad.

Colene Ramoutar
12 years ago


12 years ago

Good pace, nothing too hokey, just enough stock footage. I dug it.

12 years ago

good series, goes thru all the ignorant misinterpretations of darwin's theory and the damage they have caused. and finishes with some explanations of beneficial scientific interpretations and applications.

12 years ago

heavy-handed. intelligence is certainly a heritable quality. he did his best to deride that notion.

now, implementing a social policy based upon such a natural fact would most likely prove to be monstrous, but his presentation was to ridicule the very idea itself - which struck me, at least, as just the soft of sloppy thinking he was apparently engaged in debunking.

nice mention about rachel carson , though. what a hero she was for the planet. its odd that what seems to us, in retrospect, as simple common-sense was attacked at the time as extreme.

12 years ago

herbert spencer's social darwinism has nothing to do with darwin and is a misunderstanding of evolution. humans interbreed too much, so we essentially all have the same gene pool. we're not going to, nor have we evolved apart from each other.

12 years ago

Just finished the first part. Wow very enjoyable and thought provoking.
On to the next.

12 years ago

9/10 But only because I`m not a fan of the presenter

12 years ago

The most dangerous practical adaption of Darwins "survival of the fittest" theory in human culture and society is socialdarwinism aka rawcapitalism or corporatism, without any single shadow of a welfarestate nearby. What it means is that those who are naturally, socially or environmetally "left behind" the human masses of "progressness" are according to the universal law of darwanism; doomed to death rightfully! That is exactly how the ultimate rich justify the evergrowing inequality and injustices in a society. They simply blame the weak, the abused, the looser, the natural outcast, instead of taking part in rebuilding the weaks of a society in to a better integrating society, where rights for the weak are respected as much for those who are naturally strong.

12 years ago

Well, if individuals like Ray Kurzweil and his friends at Carnegie Mellon have their way Darwin's theory will be used to turn us into robots and lead to the extinction of humanity as we know it. Some view that as a sign of progress. I see it as a grand form of manipulation to turn human beings against their true nature as the divine beings that we truly are. p.s. I am also not a Creationist and do not wish to be painted or dismissed with that brush.

12 years ago

lol just a riddle : evelution theory or not the theory is about "creation"
ummzzz by what or who or why ,some call it god others call it mother earht some say the universe !
Fact : we are created tattaaaa
so were back to zero lol

hugs Dotty (the Netherlands)

Gary V
12 years ago

Another superb series of docs from the BBC. Very interesting & informative. Thanks Vlatko, it is great to be able to watch theses again.

12 years ago

the creator and the creation are one and the same.

12 years ago

Brilliant choice Vlatko. One of my favorites. All hail evolutionary biology. Time to watch it again

12 years ago

Pssst? Mister Vlatko? you repeated yourself a bit in the beginning of the description. Thank you for the documentaries - BBC's are my favorite.