Friday, March 06, 2009

BBC: Darwin's Dangerous Idea (Andrew Marr)

BBC iPlayer has Andrew Marr's Darwin's Dangerous Idea:
(available for UK til March 26th)

Summary: "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."

Andrew Marr's offers a sympathetic history of the effects of Darwin's ideas in this first of three programmes.

Darwin's logic shows he had understood Christianity as a human system of thought devised for human advantage, rather than sourced from divine origin and humbling us, and thus argued his science.

Darwin's observations made about the brutality of the world are worth comparing with CS Lewis' answers in De Futilitate which would suggest missteps in Darwin's argument.

Marr concludes:
"Man is the great truth-seeking primate, Darwin has given us a great truth.  And there is no going back"


  1. Hmm I was wondering who would be the first to mention this. Some of it was fair but there were some random side topics that seemed just there to make christians look stupid or crazy. Andrew Marr did write and intersting article published yesterday on bbc news at

  2. Yeh, the bit on the guy who went wierd after becoming a Christian at All Souls wasn't great - but then evolution got some bad press too...

  3. Yeah thats true Dave, I thought it was quite honest about the logical consequences of social-darwinism and the example of the german intellectuals behind the first world war was very revealing. I had an atheist trying to persuade me once that they were all bible-believing christians.

  4. Dawkins does the Nazi's were Christians thing... I thought it was then a refreshing perspective on why (historically at least) americans hadn't wanted evolution taught in schools... fear of the consequences of that kind of education rather than just defending creationism.

  5. Their fear almost seems understandable. We shouldn't really be surprised when todays generation follows darwinism alone to its natural conclusions into society. I know Dawkins isn't an advocate of social-darwinism but sadly not everyone lives in the middle class bubble he's in and from.

  6. ...yeh not every Darwinian is as "Church of England" as Dawkins, deep-rootedly moral whilst insisting that the basis of that morality doesn't really exist... marked with an almost commendable determination to figure out the world and make sense of the 'futility' of things.

  7. "...not every Darwinian is as "Church of England" as Dawkins."

    That's fantastic line. What a great way of putting it - I nearly laughed out loud.

  8. we saw andrew marr recording some bits to camera which i assume were from this program back in september: