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More reviews of 'The Genius of Charles Darwin' - Comments

Jay Cee's Avatar Comment 1 by Jay Cee

I totally agree with the paragraph about Dawkins' house. What a wonderful library and a first edition Origin too!

Sun, 10 Aug 2008 10:07:00 UTC | #215522

Lisa Bauer's Avatar Comment 2 by Lisa Bauer

That AA Gill piece in the Sunday Times was rather pathetic:

It also revealed a sorry truth. He is much happier, and much more accomplished at, knocking things down than building them. He'd rather be against something than for it. Confronting a class of quiet, respectful, eager and religious schoolchildren, he became tongue-tied and muddled about selling evolution. He was much happier attacking religion. His anger and bombast stand in stark contrast to Darwin's quiet, inquisitive humility. Darwin was a gentle man who thought deeply and went out of his way to avoid confrontation or to incommode others. Tellingly, he managed to live his entire life with a devout Christian. This was a great opportunity for a lush, life-affirming, invigorating series, but what we got was a confused liturgical spat.


What can you say to something like that?!?

Sun, 10 Aug 2008 10:17:00 UTC | #215528

faouloki's Avatar Comment 3 by faouloki

Good old AA Gill, such a well respected critic... oh no, wait.

Sun, 10 Aug 2008 10:27:00 UTC | #215533

Sargeist's Avatar Comment 4 by Sargeist

There is definitely something very odd about the missing comments' plague.

Sun, 10 Aug 2008 10:34:00 UTC | #215539

Sargeist's Avatar Comment 5 by Sargeist

8. Comment #227626 by Border Collie on August 10, 2008 at 11:46 am
.commentText -->
It's happening again!!!

Sun, 10 Aug 2008 10:51:00 UTC | #215554

Apathy personified's Avatar Comment 6 by Apathy personified

Is it me, or are all these tv reviews very weak when it comes to explaining what the show was about or what it was like to watch?

The AA Gill guy in the times is just a dickpole -

he became tongue-tied and muddled about selling evolution.

That certainly wasn't the impression i got, or for that matter, any of the other critics - who mostly complemented RD on his explanation of the science.

Sun, 10 Aug 2008 11:25:00 UTC | #215569

8teist's Avatar Comment 7 by 8teist

Apathy,"Is it me, or are all these tv reviews very weak when it comes to explaining what the show was about or what it was like to watch?"




Yes you are right,but then how bright do you have to be to write reviews of programs that are on the telly?
I thought that Hermione Eyre`s review ,at least,got the point of the documentary.
I would be surprised if aa gill had watched the show,more than likely he just wrote what his pasta told him to write.

Sun, 10 Aug 2008 11:49:00 UTC | #215580

Apathy personified's Avatar Comment 8 by Apathy personified

8teist,

but then how bright do you have to be to write reviews of programs that are on the telly?
Ha - good point.

Kathryn Flett was more interested in the decor, you are right about Hermione Eyre and AA Gill was probably looking at a video of himself doing the washing up in nothing but an apron.

I'm very wary of pasta, what with it's celestial connection, it can convince people to do anything.......

Sun, 10 Aug 2008 11:59:00 UTC | #215592

Matt H.'s Avatar Comment 9 by Matt H.

"He who fights with TV critics should look to it that he himself does not become a TV critic. And when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."

Sun, 10 Aug 2008 12:11:00 UTC | #215601

Apathy personified's Avatar Comment 10 by Apathy personified

Matt7895,
Ohhhh, nice modern interpretation of Neitzsche - though it paints a really pathetic picture of the world when the monsters we fight are, in fact, tv critics

Sun, 10 Aug 2008 12:18:00 UTC | #215607

SilentMike's Avatar Comment 11 by SilentMike

5. Comment #227601 by Layla Nasreddin

What can you say to something like that?!?


You mean about "Tellingly, he (Darwin) managed to live his entire life with a devout Christian"?

Uhmmmm... that it's factually incorrect because Darwin was a self-proclaimed agnostic?

People that know nothing about nothing. Can't leave with them, and forensic evidence is very difficult to conceal.

Sun, 10 Aug 2008 12:23:00 UTC | #215608

perkyjay's Avatar Comment 12 by perkyjay

The Guardian/Observer critiques were quite satisfactory, as was The Independent, but the Times was sucking snide. Nothing more can be expected from Gill. I am also intrigued by the missing posts - knowing who the writers were they were not offensive, surely !

Sun, 10 Aug 2008 12:30:00 UTC | #215610

beeline's Avatar Comment 13 by beeline

I think you missed the word with there, SilentMike. Darwin's wife was indeed very devout.

Kathy Flett wrote:

On the subject of which, I don't understand why subscribing to the theory of evolution rules out the existence of a god. Is that so very dim of me? What if the theory of evolution was part of some mischievous Deity's masterplan? Or am I somehow missing the point?

Yes and yes. Better luck next time.

Sun, 10 Aug 2008 12:34:00 UTC | #215612

Logicel's Avatar Comment 14 by Logicel

If I remember correctly, RD referred to AA Gill as a loose cannon in one of RDs books (can't remember which one). I thought that description at the time was an astute observation on the part of RD and made me chuckle; the only adjective that would do Gill even more justice would be the addition of miniature as in a miniature loose cannon.

Gill squirts his bombastic gurgles out with such boring regularity, one can depend on them to take the place of sedatives and risk falling into slumber in the middle of one of his journalistic pieces.

Sun, 10 Aug 2008 12:36:00 UTC | #215614

jaytee_555's Avatar Comment 15 by jaytee_555

I suppose there is so much tripe on the box that tv critics are suddenly out of their depth and at a complete loss when trying to review programs of the quality of 'The Genius of Charles Darwin'. To review TV without living permanently in a state of incipient suicide, one must be mainly interested in fluff...and doesn't it show!

Sun, 10 Aug 2008 12:41:00 UTC | #215617

John Locke's Avatar Comment 16 by John Locke

gill a loose cannon? hardly a revolutionay writer gushing out the same droll anti-dawkins hyperbole from his stupid slab of a face as every other monkey on a typewriter on fleet street that has a copy of the radio frickin' times and an agenda in alphabeticcal order so-as-not-to-confuse-the-simpleton-half-literate-fuckers from big brother editor to follow.

in short, shite reviews on the whole.

wouldnt mind if anyone had a go at countering dawkin's arguments or opinions in a constructive way (or even doing any research). in fact i would like that. i personally feel uneasy about rejecting all the reviews because it makes me feel biased, but then feel better when i re-read and see the standard of writing smacks of GCSE English Literature...

Sun, 10 Aug 2008 12:55:00 UTC | #215628

SilentMike's Avatar Comment 17 by SilentMike

17. Comment #227701 by beeline

Yeah. My mistake. Guess that makes me the idiot on this occasion. Oopsy

Sun, 10 Aug 2008 13:02:00 UTC | #215631

Thurston's Avatar Comment 18 by Thurston

If I recall, A.A. Gill's mother was in an episode of Fawlty Towers; she played the French woman who has a thing for Basil. Her son advised her not to take the role because he thought the script was terrible. Such is his ability to distinguish treasure from trash!

Sun, 10 Aug 2008 13:05:00 UTC | #215632

NJS's Avatar Comment 19 by NJS

I like the bit about "tongue-tied" - better if he'd lived up to the "shrill atheist" billing and said "Right, you thick bastards!"

Sun, 10 Aug 2008 13:29:00 UTC | #215645

Naranja Mecanica's Avatar Comment 20 by Naranja Mecanica

"If I recall, AA Gill's mother was in an episode of Fawlty Towers; she played the French woman who has a thing for Basil. Her son advised her not to take the role because he thought the script was terrible. Such is his ability to distinguish treasure from trash!"

If true Thurston, that is quite fantastic.

Sun, 10 Aug 2008 13:46:00 UTC | #215653

ukvillafan's Avatar Comment 21 by ukvillafan

Posted this comment - only now realising how useless these tv reviewers are.

"Evolution by natural selection is fact. God cannot survive the concept. Dawkins deals in reality not myth.

Gill clearly does not understand this and chooses personal attack to mask his ignorance. I suggest a course on science and critical thinking before he touches anything so complex again."

Sun, 10 Aug 2008 14:51:00 UTC | #215691

crusader234's Avatar Comment 22 by crusader234

i just found the first part on google, gonna watch it after to dinner cant wait!

Sun, 10 Aug 2008 15:14:00 UTC | #215699

NewEnglandBob's Avatar Comment 23 by NewEnglandBob

Did these three reporters watch the same show as I watched "Richard Dawkins' The Genius of Charles Darwin"?

I think not because they are either too ignorant to see the hundreds of facts presented or they are malevolent.

Part 1 is an excellent program and I await the next parts.

Sun, 10 Aug 2008 16:47:00 UTC | #215713

Lisa Bauer's Avatar Comment 24 by Lisa Bauer

Logicel wrote:

If I remember correctly, RD referred to AA Gill as a loose cannon in one of RDs books (can't remember which one). I thought that description at the time was an astute observation on the part of RD and made me chuckle; the only adjective that would do Gill even more justice would be the addition of miniature as in a miniature loose cannon.


You're right, in Unweaving the Rainbow. And the context was...yet another negative, totally-missing-the-point review by AA Gill of one of Dawkins's programmes, this time Breaking the Science Barrier:

Another example of anti-science, though in this case possibly intended to be funny, is a piece from A. A. Gill, a humorous loose cannon of a columnist in the Sunday Times of London (8 September 1996). He refers to science as constrained by experiment, and by the tedious, plodding stepping stones of empiricism. He contrasts it with art and with the theatre, with the magic of lights, fairy dust, music and applause.

There are stars and there are stars, darling. Some are dull, repetitive squiggles on paper, and some are fabulous, witty, thought-provoking, incredibly popular...


'Dull, repetitive squiggles' is a reference to the discovery of pulsars, by Bell and Hewish at Cambridge in 1967. Gill was reviewing a television programme in which the astronomer Jocelyn Bell Burnell recalled the spine-tingling moment when she first knew, looking at the print-out from Anthony Hewish's radio telescope, that she was seeing something hiterto unheard of in the universe. A young woman on the threshold of a career, the 'dull, repetitive squiggles' on her roll of paper spoke to her in tones of revolution. Not something new under the sun: a whole new kind of sun, a pulsar. Pulsars spin so fast that, where our planet takes 24 hours to rotate, a pulsar may take a fraction of a second. Yet the beam of energy that brings us the news, sweeping round like a lighthouse with such astonishing speed and clocking the seconds more accurately than a quartz crystal, may take millions of years to reach us. Darling, how too too tedious, how madly empirical, my dear! Give me fairy dust at the panto any day.


I thought that review sounded a bit familiar...

Sun, 10 Aug 2008 17:21:00 UTC | #215716

robotaholic's Avatar Comment 25 by robotaholic

Professor Dawkins, I am sorry if I seem a fanatic but you are such a superstar! You have such class and speak with such eloquence. You definitely can make a damn documentary.- Someday I will put my copy of The God Delusion on display because it will have your autograph-

-john

Sun, 10 Aug 2008 23:52:00 UTC | #215764

padster1976's Avatar Comment 26 by padster1976

AA Gill is an idiot.

Mon, 11 Aug 2008 00:51:00 UTC | #215777

Rasmus_Holm's Avatar Comment 27 by Rasmus_Holm

Was it not wonderful seeing RD with a first edition of 'Origin'? I have often wanted to know Richard's opinion on just where it ranks among the most important books ever written.

Mon, 11 Aug 2008 02:24:00 UTC | #215801

Cluebot's Avatar Comment 28 by Cluebot

This is somewhat off-topic, but my "security mindset" is asserting itself again:

When I watched that scene, the first thing I thought was that if I had something as valuable as a first edition Origin of Species in my home, I wouldn't want both its existence and exact location on my bookshelf broadcast on national TV.

Mon, 11 Aug 2008 02:38:00 UTC | #215807

MatthewL's Avatar Comment 29 by MatthewL

Okay, so we're all in relative agreement AA Gill's article was bull, but how about Hermione Eyre? That was a pretty positive one.

Mon, 11 Aug 2008 02:39:00 UTC | #215809

Edamus's Avatar Comment 30 by Edamus

I enjoyed Hermione Eyre's review, and AA Gill is obviously biased...

I can't wait till the DVD release!

Mon, 11 Aug 2008 08:03:00 UTC | #215901