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Darwin's dangerous idea: a BBC documentary that traces the impact of Darwin's discovery and its influence on the politics and societies since 150 years.

 

Part I: Religion rejects the evolution
How could we Humans evolve from monkeys? Shocking!

In the first episode of the three-part series, Andrew Marr shows how the theory of evolution has transformed our understanding and our perception of humankind.

The idea at first was violently disputed because it ruined the credibility of the religious authorities but also, most of all because it disturbed people religious perception of the world such as their need for a creator. Darwin's idea also bothered because he provided a new way of thinking about the origins of human morality, a new way to look at the origin of the "good" and "bad" behaviors.

 

Part II: evolution in the hands of ideology 
Let's kill in the name of "the survival of the fittest" and civilization!

Just released from the religious censorship the theory of evolution will fall into the hands of popular ideologies of the XIXe; ideologies that reflect the level of maturity of that time. Seeking a way to justify social injustice, these ideologies managed to detach from the concept of "evolution", the concept of "survival of the fittest". This last concept was then used to provide a "scientific respectability" veneer on their mediocre actions. This erroneous interpretation of evolution was used to justify the exploitation of people by the ruling classes, the colonial expansion and eugenics, the selective breeding of humans (launched in the U.S. early twentieth century), and then the concept of "racial purity" of Nazism.

"Social Darwinism" was sadly one of the most notorious political evolutionist doctrines of this time. It assumes that "the struggle for life between people is the natural state of social relations, it thus legitimizes the elimination of the unfit for survival."

● The " it thus legitimizes” was the first mistake. It is not because a mechanism is "natural", that it is moral ... It's not because a state is "natural", that we should accept it. Darwin foresaw it and warned us...

● The second mistake was to believe that evolution necessarily leads to a struggle between individuals (or species). Cooperation is also a strategy "chosen" by evolution.

 

Part III: when the evolutionary perspective becomes a source of inspiration and harmony

The last episode of this series features the second release of Darwin's idea which, freed from ideology, joins the reason and enables us today to build more just, cooperative and harmonious societies. In this part, Andrew Marr introduces briefly some examples of untapped potential of Darwinism in terms of ecological, and social harmony. He explains how this idea once misunderstood, is today a source of inspiration.

Darwin, the father of ecology and reason.

 

This documentary is based on Daniel Dennett's book of the same title.

 

Watch the documentary: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 

 


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