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Genius of Charles Darwin [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

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Region 1 encoding. (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 13 reviews
28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Dawkins Makes His Case 12 Nov 2009
By Zarathustra - Published on
Verified Purchase
This is an excellent BBC documentary by one of our best scholars on evolution. Richard Dawkins gives an excellent defense of Darwin and evolution. His interview with Wendy Wright shows the shallowness of the Intelligent Design proponents, who want to throw the best supported theory in science into the trash can because it conflicts with the views of ignorant prophets who wandered around in the desert thousands of years ago.
Dawkins is an atheist, which I believe is the correct position, but an atheist is in a difficult situation. It is often argued that atheists believe in nothing. I believe a good balance to this position is to argue with Joseph Campbell the value of religion as myth, not as revealed truth as the Intelligent Design people do. This is an improper use of religion. A study of comparative religions shows that they all have similar myths which give spiritual support to their believers. I don't feel this sense of awe in church, but I do feel it when I'm hiking in the mountains.
I'm sending a copy of Campbell's Mythos I DVD to my grandchildren along with this one. It shouldn't be Science Vs. Spirituality. We need both.
24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Don't know about Athena/Acorn's version...... 30 Oct 2009
By jrc - Published on
I purchased this title from Richard Dawkins' website some time ago and have enjoyed watching it many times. The Athena programs are great educational experiences, and some are dated. This particular series aired in 2008, and is an excellent addition to the Athena catalogue. The extensive supplements may not quite equal those seen on RDF's separately available unedited interviews 3-disc set, but I am sure will feature the best material.

Here's hoping that Athena will pick up other Dawkins series, such as "The Root Of All Evil," and "The Enemies Of Reason," although I suspect that they'd be considered too controversial. Still, they are widely available elsewhere.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
"The evidence confirming Natural Selection has continued to mount" 3 July 2010
By Stephen Pletko - Published on

"This series is about perhaps the most powerful idea ever to occur to the human mind. The idea is evolution by natural selection and the genius who thought of it was Charles Darwin [1809 to 1882]. I'm a biologist and Darwin has been an inspiration to me throughout my whole career.

His masterpiece, "On the Origin of Species" was published 150 years ago [in 1859] and it changed forever our view of the world and our place in it. What Darwin achieved was nothing less than a complete explanation of the complexity and diversity of all life. And yet it's one of the simplest ideas that anyone ever had.

In this series, I'm going to set out Darwin's big idea, I'll explain how the human species has struggled with the story of its own origins, and take you into the storm that is today's backlash against Darwin."

The above is what the narrator, Richard Dawkins, says in the introduction to this three-episode series. Dawkins is an ethologist, evolutionary biologist, popular science author, and formerly professor for Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University.

It is important to remember that this is a science presentation. It is NOT a documentary that presents the science VS religion debate.

This is a good primer on the man and the big idea that changed the way we think of the natural world and ourselves. The program goes further by looking at the implications of Darwin's work in the contemporary world.

It also addresses the continuing controversy surrounding Darwin's ideas and while it may seem to be a one-sided presentation, it's grounded in science rather than politics. (For me, after I saw this documentary, I wanted to read Darwin's 1859 masterpiece again!)

Three things stood out for me after I viewed this documentary:

(1) Darwin's ideas are explained quite well.

(2) Richard Dawkins' personal comments on Darwinian principles. For example (and I agree), he thinks "survival of the fittest" is an abhorrent way for human society to function.

(3) The e-mails Dawkins received after the publication of his bestselling book "The God Delusion" (2006). The comments (he reads some of them) he received were just horrible.

There is a second bonus disc included as well. It consists of six uncut interviews with a philosopher, a doctor/author, the head of the "Concerned Women for America" (CWA), the archbishop of Canterbury, a creationist, and science teachers. All interviews are informative, amusing, and can be exasperating. (I must confess that I almost pulled some of my hair out when listening to the interviews with the head of the CWA and the creationist.)

Finally, the DVD itself (the one released in 2009) is flawless in picture and audio quality. The main disc has 3 informative extras.

In conclusion, Richard Dawkins does a superb job in this presentation of Charles Darwin's ideas. See for yourself why this show won the BBC's "Best Documentary Series" award!!

(2008; 2 hr, 20 min; 3 episodes; each episode 46 min; each episode 6 chapters; bonus disc 4 hr; wide screen)

<<Stephen Pletko, London, Ontario, Canada>>

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Naturally selected 8 July 2010
By T. Kepler - Published on
It's quite unfortunate that RD gave little or no reference to two other greats in this arena: Alfred Russel Wallace and, no less than the father of genetics, Gregor Mendel. It could be because the former was a co-competitor to Darwin while the latter just happened to be an Augustinian monk. Not that this lends credence to a "divine" creation, a very murky concept. It's seems a wonder of sorts that this "grand view" of life sprouted from a mind nurtured in a Judeo-Christian culture; didn't happen in an Islam, atheist, Hindu, or any other social setting. Darwin, Wallace and Mendel are the progenitors of this young discipline of evolution and genetics. One only needs to walk inside some of the hallways of leading biotech companies, or maybe academia, to see that labs and conference rooms are named after these giants.
The interviews in Part II were exasperating: Prof. Dennett merely waxed poetic about Darwin with nary a doubt from RD; whereas the two doubters Wright and Mackay were from another time zone altogether; however, the interview with the physician, R. Neese, was enjoyable and informative.
15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
for thinking people only 16 Dec 2009
By chess nut - Published on
Verified Purchase
The best, gotta love R. Dawkins.If this makes you say " a-ha!" then check out The Greatest Show on Earth by R.D., a super read.
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