Darwin’s Dangerous Idea

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Andrew Marr explores how Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection has taken on a life beyond the world of science.

In the first episode of the three-part series, argues that Darwin’s theory has transformed our understanding of what it means to be human. Over the past 150 years, Darwin’s ideas have questioned the need for a creator, undermined religious authority, and ever new ways of looking at the origins of human morality.

Andrew Marr discovers something surprising about her own evolutionary history of this epic series continues with an exploration of Darwin’s impact on politics and society.

Under the banner of the survival of the fittest, Darwin’s theory of natural selection has been used to justify imperial expansion and oppression of indigenous peoples, to inform the science of eugenics – selective breeding of humans which took place in the United States in the early 20th century, and to provide a veneer of scientific respectability to Nazi plans to create an Aryan race. It was also used quite explicitly to explain the twisted logic of the final solution.

In the last episode of this pioneering series on the legacy of Charles Darwin, Andrew Marr discovers how Darwin’s ideas are helping us to save ourselves and all life on earth from extinction. Marr argues that Charles Darwin is the father of ecology. The modern environmental movement, built on the idea that all life on earth is bound by a delicate web of connections. He also discovers that Darwin’s dangerous idea is inspiring scientists to create a “flotilla of Noah’s Arks Darwinian ‘to help save life on earth from disaster.

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