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← On TV: The Genius of Charles Darwin: Presented by Richard Dawkins

On TV: The Genius of Charles Darwin: Presented by Richard Dawkins - Comments

MBC Morgan's Avatar Comment 1 by MBC Morgan

Why is it that we never get programming like this in Canada? If we ever received anything of the sort, I might even consider getting cable again.

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 10:33:00 UTC | #211471

J Mac's Avatar Comment 2 by J Mac

I feel the same way. But give it a week, it'll be on youtube.

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 10:35:00 UTC | #211474

Elles's Avatar Comment 3 by Elles

Damn it!

Ok, I want to believe I have UK TV... I want to believe I have UK TV... I want to believe I have UK TV...

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 10:43:00 UTC | #211478

Friend Giskard's Avatar Comment 4 by Friend Giskard

It'll be on Youtube the next day, or even the same day.

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 11:07:00 UTC | #211490

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 5 by mordacious1

I wish PBS in the states would pick programming like this up. They've really gone downhill since the republicans took over and appointed their own religious people in top positions. Also, I'm sick of watching how Exxon/Mobile or Texaco is doing such wonderful things for the environment.

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 11:17:00 UTC | #211491

D'Arcy's Avatar Comment 6 by D'Arcy

How depressing when someone of Darwin's stature is still regarded by reactionary religios, as some sort of Satan. The man was the most modest and apologetic of revolutionaries. It took Wallace's influence to prod him into publication. Darwin understood the effect his book would have, because the central idea cut right through the religious orthodoxy of his time. However the ground had been prepared for Darwin's ideas by the geologists and others who actually investigated nature, and didn't just pontificate about it.

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 11:45:00 UTC | #211506

bujin's Avatar Comment 7 by bujin

Looking forward to this. I bookmarked it on my Sky planner earlier this evening after seeing it mentioned in this month's BBC Focus magazine.

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 12:04:00 UTC | #211512

Jeff (HandyGeek) Handy's Avatar Comment 8 by Jeff (HandyGeek) Handy

I'd pay money to see that here in the states. Looks like Elles is practicing a method akin to "the secret". :D

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 12:16:00 UTC | #211516

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 9 by InYourFaceNewYorker

I hope somebody will capture this and put it on YouTube. Any volunteers? :)

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 13:51:00 UTC | #211553

qomak's Avatar Comment 10 by qomak

Why is it that we never get programming like this in Canada?

Canada's discovery channel is a major embarrassment. Its prime time shows include a bunch of reality TV shows, "real" "documentaries" on haunted houses and ghosts and the related non-sense, UFO "documentaries" and once in a while an interesting documentary on something worth-while. Although, given their reputation on the first series of subjects, I tend to not trust their good documentaries either.

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 14:36:00 UTC | #211568

Mr_W's Avatar Comment 11 by Mr_W

Ah yes the Joys of Channel 4 HD :)
It's been added to my SKY planner.

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 15:14:00 UTC | #211577

Happy Hominid's Avatar Comment 12 by Happy Hominid

One of the topics on this weeks' Another Goddamned Podcast is the greatness of Darwin; but that it not so great being referred to by religionists as "Darwinists".

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 15:21:00 UTC | #211578

Sarmatae1's Avatar Comment 13 by Sarmatae1

TV in the U.S. isnt any better. I saw a listing for a scientific investigation of "The legendary bigfoot" on The Discovery channel. They called it a documentary. So I thought well lets see what science found out. There was nothing scientific about it. It was a complete farce. It was nothing but a bunch of tour guides using pseudo-scientific jargon that would have been at home on star trek.

The history channel aired A scientific investigation of noahs ark. Well, I thought lets see what science has to say about that. Turns out scientist think the U.S. government is withholding pictures of noahs ark. A whole lot of "scientific" ways to measure the ark. And a buch of crap like that. Nothing scientific about it. It was actually just a dressing up of the old myth with some pseudo-scientific ranting.

It goes on and on. Instead of just putting out hundreds of other shows about the myth of bigfoot and the myth of noahs ark and UFO's and any other ideea you can think of. They submit these "Documentaries" to the viewing layperson as if they are scientifically investigated. There are scientific ways to prove these things and there is no reason to think these things are not real.

Its absolutely incredible. On many of these shows they will have a "scientist" that is investigating. In the bigfoot show.(I refuse to call it a documentary) I actually saw them interview a guy that looks like the proverbial scientist with a lab coat, tape on his glasses and pocket protector. The works. He was stating in the documentary how "The cumulative evidence is conclusive. It would indicate that a large ape like man does in fact live here in these mountains." This same "scientist" can be seen as one of the joking actors on the TV show Scare tactics.

Not only are TV networks putting out the believe it or not shows here in the U.S. They are putting out shows that are deliberately misleading. Its disgraceful.

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 16:00:00 UTC | #211585

Sifl's Avatar Comment 14 by Sifl

You know, they (the BBC) really do produce a fair amount of high-quality programming. E.g. I really enjoy QI (presented by Stephen Fry) and Top Gear (which, as a resident of the U.S., I've been able to see bits of only because of YouTube). I expect this new series presented by Richard will be at least as engaging.

I just wish I could get the BBC programming here. I mean, it's 2008 already! Shouldn't every country be able to directly access every other country's television programming by now? It's not as if we don't have the bandwidth; there are nearly a thousand channel spaces offered by Comcast on the east coast, and the vast majority of it isn't worth a moment's notice. Why can't we have a little bit of *good* programming for a change?

Update: Oops; I referred to the BBC, but this series from Richard is being offered by Channel 4. (I was under the mistaken impression that "Channel Four" was a synonym for BBC Four.)

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 16:44:00 UTC | #211595

bluebird's Avatar Comment 15 by bluebird

Looks great--will keep an eye out for non-BBC broadcasts. If it's made into a DVD, we'll buy it--for sure,for sure!

In the meantime, Sir D.A.'s "Life in Cold Blood" is slated for DVD release 8/5 :)

Last night our local PBS aired the "Kansas vs Darwin" one hour documentary. If it becomes available for online viewing, I'll post it for anyone interested. A preview:

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 17:22:00 UTC | #211600

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 16 by Border Collie

The History Channel in the US is showing Evolve. I missed the first episode but it's repeated I think on 8/5/08. They and National Geo do have some other good stuff like Raw Science, Universe, etc. However, most of the programming on Discovery, NG, History & A&E consists of: Bigfoot, Sharks, Snakes, Crocodiles, Bible 'History', UFO's, Animal Attacks, Ghosts, Alien Abduction, Loch Ness Monster, other monsters, giant squids ... what did I miss? Seems as if they 'balance' an hour or two of good science programming with twelve hours of tripe.

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 18:27:00 UTC | #211619

foxfire's Avatar Comment 17 by foxfire

As usual - Channel 4 UK TV.

Sure. Fine. Whatever.

So when will the DVD be available for those of us in the United Theocracy of Bush?

(P.S. - saw Evolve on the History channel - good stuff! - pre-ordered the DVD)

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 18:52:00 UTC | #211623

Scandinavian07's Avatar Comment 18 by Scandinavian07

Wow, something good on a monday! .. That's unusual.

The editing on the previous documentaries by the team was really good. This looks very promising indeed.

Will there be any Darwin T-shirt with a catchy phrase to remind people of the anniversary?

P.S. Richard should do a interview on Top Gear with Jeremy Clarksson(reasonably priced car). Maybe he's the quickest scientist aswell as one of the smartest.


Fri, 01 Aug 2008 20:53:00 UTC | #211644

j s bach's Avatar Comment 19 by j s bach

I've taught biology for some years in British secondary schools. Evolution and natural selection are firmly in the curriculum for 15 - 18 year olds. Dawkins is right however - just a few hours will be devoted to the subject. This can't be helped. Were it not so - other scientific topics would have to be omitted to avoid over-loading the syllabus.
I recall spending a considerable time (more than I should have) teaching genetics and evolution to a class of 15 year olds a couple of years ago. At the end of the module and during a general discussion, a Muslim boy casually declared that Allah gave him his physical characteristics. I was momentarily stunned. I thought what the hell had I been teaching and what on earth had this boy learned. Dawkins is right - a few science lessons is not going to shift this religious influence.

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 00:34:00 UTC | #211710

V'Ger's Avatar Comment 20 by V'Ger

Can't wait.

Teachers should have to power to eject all the creationist children before begining science classes. After all - why waste my money, as a tax payer, on the pointless task of trying to teach dim-wits.

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 01:30:00 UTC | #211723

Dowirunem's Avatar Comment 21 by Dowirunem

"It'll be on Youtube the next day, or even the same day." Friend Giskard.

Within the hour if the demand is there.

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 02:05:00 UTC | #211726

Thomas Byrne's Avatar Comment 22 by Thomas Byrne

I'm usually in the pub for my monday cure but, I think I'll give it a miss this week unless I can get the lad behind the bar to put it on and maybe teach a few of the auld lads a thing or two.
Or I could just record it.

Didn't that religious student at the end sound really unsure of himself? There may be salvation for him yet.

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 03:06:00 UTC | #211741

RichardofYork's Avatar Comment 23 by RichardofYork

I dont pay my license fee for god damned foreigners to watch programmes ive paid for ;o)

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 04:10:00 UTC | #211768

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 24 by Border Collie

Richard of York ... What about the American colonies?

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 05:00:00 UTC | #211780

SOAS's Avatar Comment 25 by SOAS

I think we should maybe let the foreigners watch our license paid for TV.( All be it Channel4).

Has it not proved to be a fantastic model for paying for TV and radio for only £139.50 a year.!
Bargain.!! ( there is a comedy sketch there somewhere).

Maybe the foreighners will try and improve on this system? {:-)

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 05:48:00 UTC | #211792

Marku's Avatar Comment 26 by Marku

Looks very interesting.

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 06:41:00 UTC | #211800

doethcaru's Avatar Comment 27 by doethcaru

There is definitely insufficient emphasis placed on natural selection in the UK educational system. However, there are ways around this. The existing requirements can be taught, I believe, more efficiently and more coherently by placing certain key ideas at the core, and one of these is natural selection. I am presently in the process of developing a new curriculum in which evolution will be taught systematically to children from the age of 8 or 9. At present, I teach it to 10 and 11 year olds. The core ideas for science teaching include, I believe, (1) structure and function, (2) Life Cycles, (3) Adaptation, (4) Innate and Learned Behaviour, (5) Natural Selection (6) Mass (7)Force (8) Work (9) Energy (10) POwer (11) Atom (12) Molecule (13) electron

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 07:22:00 UTC | #211806

Chris Jackson's Avatar Comment 28 by Chris Jackson

Looks to be a decent, informative series. One concern, though: How sinister did RD look when he was looking through the door of the classroom?

I was half expecting him to start the lesson by hacking the door down with a fire axe and shouting "Heeere's Darwin!".

Seriously though, Looking forward to seeing this.

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 07:49:00 UTC | #211818

Rational_G's Avatar Comment 29 by Rational_G

Keep spreading the truth, RD. Great stuff.

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 07:54:00 UTC | #211820

Lemniscate's Avatar Comment 30 by Lemniscate

I can't believe I'm on holiday from the 11th to the 18th!

I'm glad to see Dawkins addressing the situation of evolutionary theory in the U.K. With faith schools, PFIs and funding from American creationists, this documentary and Dawkins' upcoming book on the evidence for evolution are exactly what we need.

I agree with others who have pointed out the insufficient emphasis on natural selection in Biology. I took Biology to AS, and the only memory I have of it is some vague, weak questions on changing colours of moths at GCSE. This appeared an implicit indication that natural selection was on shakier ground than other theories.

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 07:56:00 UTC | #211821