This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Censoring Sir David

Reposted from:

An evangelical christian broadcaster has been editing BBC natural history documentaries to remove any reference to evolution.

An evangelical christian TV station in the Netherlands has been censoring Sir David Attenborough. When the Evangelische Omroep (Evangelical Broadcasting) network showed his flagship natural history series The Life of Mammals, it made several alterations to the script to take out references to evolution, the age of the Earth and the evolutionary relationships between humans and apes. It even left out a whole episode on human evolution.

Dutch biologists are livid. Dr Gerdien de Jong at the University of Utrecht has put together a petition asking the BBC - which made the series - to either prevent such tampering or force foreign broadcasters to make clear what changes have been made. So far, 300 Dutch scientists have signed.

The petition reads:

Dutch biologists hold in high regard the many BBC produced nature documentaries, an excellent example being Sir David Attenborough's 'The Life of Mammals'. However, we feel obliged to inform the BBC that the Dutch 'Evangelische Omroep', a religious broadcasting company, manipulates series broadcast under BBC flag. Recently, the 'Evangelische Omroep' broadcasted the 'The Life of Mammals' series in a mutilated form, cutting or rephrasing all passages relevant to evolution, since these contradict their fundamentalist religious creationist views. The Dutch community of biologists urgently requests the BBC either to insist in future contracts on the complete broadcasting of their programmes by Dutch broadcasting companies, or obliging such companies to warn their audience by explicitly announcing manipulations at the beginning of the programmes

There are lists of the changes here and here.

Sir David seems pretty relaxed about it all. He is reported as saying he thought the changes were "fairly innocuous".

And a spokesperson for the BBC told me that foreign broadcasters often make changes and are allowed to do so, "BBC Worldwide does allow up to five minutes per hour to be edited for local scheduling requirements - these edits are made by the local broadcaster."

But snipping bits out on taste and decency grounds or to fit a scheduling slot is somewhat different from changing a programme's scientific context.

What do you think?

...and if you've not heard it before, catch my interview with Sir David on the eve of his lecture at this year's Hay Festival.



No fence to sit on

David Catchpoole - Creation... Comments

Neutrality is impossible in the creation/evolution debate

Stop Governor Jindal’s Creationist...

Zack Kopplin - Repealing the... Comments

Stop Governor Jindal’s Creationist Voucher Program Before Governor Romney Takes it Nationwide

Ending the Wedge

Adam Rutherford - New Humanist Comments

A recognised creationist tactic involves scoring minor victories against the teaching of evolution, and recent controversies over free schools and the Giant’s Causeway suggest it is succeeding in the UK. It’s time the strategy was exposed

Free School due to open in September...

- - British Humanist Association Comments

Free School due to open in September 2012 will ‘teach creation as a scientific theory’

Richard Dawkins on Radio Ulster -...

- - UTV Comments

An exhibit in the new Giants' Causeway Visitors' Centre acknowledges the creationist view of how the world-famous stones were formed.

What's the Matter With Creationism?

Katha Pollitt - The Nation Comments

The worst thing about the recent Gallup poll on evolution is that the proportion of college graduates who are creationists is exactly the same as for the general public.



Give us back our bones, pagans tell...

James Randerson 25 Comments



Comment RSS Feed

Please sign in or register to comment