In the first episode of the three-part series, Andrew 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.
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.
Marr’s journey begins following Darwin’s footsteps in Tierra del Fuego at the southernmost tip of South America where Darwin first encountered an ‘uncivilised’ native tribe. This began to raise questions in his mind about the origins of the human race. The answers to these questions would emerge over the next 30 years, culminating in the publication of On The Origin of Species in 1859.
Marr then traces the development of Darwin’s idea in the years since then and finds a range of influences that Darwin could never have imagined: from the existential philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche to the battlefields of the First World War; from the Freudian psychoanalyst’s couch to the Vatican; and from the genetic logic of kindness to an Islamic creationist’s claim that Darwin is to blame for modern terrorism. Darwin’s dangerous idea is as influential and challenging today as it was 150 years ago.
A word of warning – So where is the danger? I believe Darwin was right and that as science advances, he is proved more prescient, not less.
But religions are absolute. They bring their truth and then repel all boarders. They divide mankind into the saved and the ignorant damned.
In this story, there is no us and them. Darwinism, as I take it, is a creed of observation, fact, a deep modesty about conclusions and lifelong readiness to be proved wrong.
I don’t say it offers everything that religion can. But I do say that, in this respect, it is better.
However we celebrate the old man, we mustn’t let his work crust into creed or harden to dogma. Andrew Marr. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7924423.stm
Andrew Marr’s "Warning" and why it should not harden to dogma, as it may always be opposed.
1) The protracted helplessness of the new born and the consequent uncritical submissiveness to authority. Notes of Dad’s.
2) Becoming human (the personal realisation or revelation that Darwin was, very basically, correct) is a process and not some event. Notes of Dad’s.
The ‘playground for faith and belief’ UK. Medievalism in (British) childhood. Quangoes of Religiosity.
Margaret Singer Ph.D.
"Six Conditions for Thought Reform"
"Keep the person unaware of what is going on and how she or he is being changed a step at a time. Potential new members are led, step by step, through a behavioural-change program without being aware of the final agenda or full content of the group.
The goal may be to make them deployable agents for the leadership, to get them to buy more courses, or get them to make a deeper commitment, depending on the leader’s aim and desires.
Control the person’s social and/or physical environment; especially control the person’s time. Through various methods, newer members are kept busy and led to think about the group and its content during as much of their waking time as possible.
Systematically create a sense of powerlessness in the person. This is accomplished by getting members away from the normal social support group for a period of time and into an environment where the majority of people are already group members.
The members serve as models of the attitudes and behaviours of the group and speak an in-group language. Manipulate a system of rewards, punishments and experiences in such a way as to inhibit behaviour that reflects the person’s former social identity.
Manipulation of experiences can be accomplished through various methods of trance induction, including leaders using such techniques as paced speaking patterns, guided imagery, chanting, long prayer sessions or lectures, and lengthy meditation sessions.
Manipulate a system of rewards, punishments, and experiences in order to promote learning the group’s ideology or belief system and group-approved behaviours. Good behaviour, demonstrating an understanding and acceptance of the group’s beliefs, and compliance are rewarded while questioning, expressing doubts or criticizing are met with disapproval, redress and possible rejection. If one expresses a question, he or she is made to feel that there is something inherently wrong with them to be questioning.
Put forth a closed system of logic and an authoritarian structure that permits no feedback and refuses to be modified except by leadership approval or executive order. The group has a top-down, pyramid structure. The leaders must have verbal ways of never losing. "When God’s word… is neglected, and when God’s law is ridiculed, despised, laughed at, the result can only be destruction and injustice." Pope Benedict XV1.
Ref, Stanley Milgram http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment
In this three-part series, Andrew Marr explores the legacy and contemporary influence of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection.
In each film he combines incisive and witty story-telling with archive and stills to bring the unfolding of Darwin’s idea and its legacy to life.
He explores key moments in Darwin’s life-changing voyage on HMS Beagle in Argentina, Chile and Brazil, as well as visiting locations in the United States, Turkey, Belgium and Berlin that are central to the epic story of the development and impact of Darwin’s "dangerous idea".
Each programme explores the ways in which Darwin’s idea broke out from the world of science and took on a life of its own. The series shows that it still has the power to inspire, challenge and disturb us.
Flesh and faith
Andrew Marr explores how Darwin’s challenge to religion raised questions of body and soul1.
Every man is everyman
Despite being hijacked during some of the darkest years of the last century, Darwin’s work proved we’re all born equal2.
The whole thing
How do Darwin’s ideas help us understand extinction and the interconnectedness of life and death3?
Religious Illusion: "A system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating concepts of a general order of existence and clothing these concepts with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic" Clifford Geertz http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clifford_Geertz (‘suspends your disbelief in a religion-like way’)