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on 27 February 2009
A superb DVD! Two discs. Disc 1 is a copy of the series that went out on Channel 4. It explains or rather Richard Dawkins explains Darwins theory of Natural Selection and does it in a way that all can relate to and understand. There is a wonderful interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury, in an effort to even the playing field.
Disc 2 then takes on the tricky problem that is established Religion. Professor Dawkins interviews the leaders from various faiths and asks simple but telling questions. No dinner party will ever be the same! You can discuss religion without blows!
Regardless of your perceived views on Darwin, this is a documentary you should treasure. It is both eloquent and factual and most importantly, gets your mind buzzing!
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on 3 October 2013
Excellent content, which clarifies Darwin's great work,and the TV series, which illuminates the contradictions, illogicalities and dangers of Religions, which modern informed individuals should have long ago abandoned.
There are interviews with unbelievable Fundamentalist bigots, who illustrate the danger of giving power to such closed minds.
Dawkins cool headed civilised logical approach meets blind shouting bigotry in one of the attempted interviews, and shows what the reasoning mind is up against with these "brain washed"individuals.
Unfortunately the Religious element have power,and undue influence particularly in America, where they operate to retain power ,and retard scientific and social progress, as they have done throughout our history.
Dawkins skillfully illuminates these elements in this excellent series.
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on 25 August 2008
Often reviled by religionists foaming at the mouth by his calmly reasoned heresy, Dawkins gamely tries to promote science - which provides irrefutable evidence for evolution despite the oft repeated strawman arguments of the creationists who'd sooner we revert to idiocy than acknowledge reality - over the irrational and often offensive beliefs of those indoctrinated into bronze age thinking, where all the wonders and marvels of the universe, instead of being explored and understood, are blindly attributed to a magic sky-fairy, who is probably the most unpleasant character in popular fiction.

These programs are fascinating, thought provoking, and long overdue.

The inexplicable rise of christian neo-fascism in america, with threats of ID being taught in schools, and creationist museums springing up depicting some kind of lunatic live-action flintsones with cavemen and dinosaurs living together as a factual rendition of the past (despite the 65 million year gap in time)- its time to address these delusional belief systems, which far from being just a useful tool for social control and personal comfort, seems increasingly intent on bringing violence, terrorism, racism, homophobia and mysogonism to us all.

While science doesn't yet provide the answers to *all* the big questions - it has emphatically answered how mankind came into existence, where the planet earth came from and approximately how old it is.

Also - unlike the best selling religious texts - scientific work is updated and revised to stay at the forefront of human knowledge, rather than being rooted thousands of years in the past.

Dawkins beliefs aren't "beliefs" - they require no "faith" - its not a system - its not a form of "religion"; its simply how things are in reality. A lot of people would sooner bury their heads in the sand rather than go to a museum or read a science book.

Dawkins may not be the most diplomatic or unbiased of commentators (!) but established religion has only relatively recently stopped murdering non-believers. Thankfully - its about time we heard an educated perspective, rather then mumbo jumbo.
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on 5 September 2009
What is there to say? Dawkins is an intensely shining light of reason in a world torn apart by religion. I love all of his work and these 3 films are a perfect introduction for anyone who is interested in what he has to say and why.

In "The Root of All Evil?" he examines religion and interviews all manner of deluded individuals; some harmless and some not so. The ex-Jew who converted to Islam is particularly unsettling to watch, especially when he rants about the way that western women dress. The interview with the uneducated US preacher who was soon exposed as a massive hypocrite is another stunning moment. I'd feel more sorry for these people if they weren't trying to tell people what to do.

In "Enemies of Reason" Richard casts his net wider to cover homeopathy, crystal healing, cold reading, horoscopes and all manner of other forms of hocus-pocus. If, like me, you've ever wondered why people get taken in by that kind of drivel you'll be thrilled.

And finally in "The Genius of Charles Darwin" he talks about the most beautiful and simple idea of recent times: evolution. Just as Copernicus showed us that the Earth is not the centre of the unverse, so Darwin showed us that we are not the centre of the animal kingdom either. The fact is that we are just another product of nature; flawed, yes, but also fantastically complex and in a unique position in the history of our fragile little planet.

Religious people like to say that not believing removes the mystery from the world, removes the whole "point" of existence, even removes the reason to be moral and good. Well, for me, people like Dawkins give me hope for the future. While religion teaches us that we are masters of the Earth - made in god's image with a free reign to do as we like - evolution demonstrates to us, in no uncertain terms, that we are an animal that must learn to live in harmony with our environment or suffer the consequences.

For anyone new to Richard Dawkins I'd certainly recommend this DVD set first, then read "The God Delusion" then if you want to see how deep the rabbit hole really goes I'd recommend reading "The Selfish Gene" followed by possibly his best work; "The Extended Phenotype". I am currently reading "The Ancestor's Tale" and am stunned with each fresh turn of the page.
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on 3 October 2008
How anyone can watch these DVDs and call Professor Dawkins arrogant is beyond me. The religious fanatics he interviews ... now there's arrogance for you, not to mention a kind of wilful ignorance which is terrifying to any rational human being.

The tireless work of Richard Dawkins to underline the value of evidence-based reality over groundless fantasy is of course sorely needed in times like these when gullibility and absence of reason are being increasingly held up as virtues. In these programs, the beauty of the natural world and, as a consequence, science, is inspirational, and the courage and determination on display here are a tribute to the human spirit.

Complaints? Well, some of the interviews feel a bit truncated (some of them are being made available in uncut form on various sites), and The Genius of Charles Darwin could have benefited from one more episode to round out the information on the theory of evolution, but these are minor quibbles. These shows raise awareness and curiosity in the rational viewer, and whet the appetite for learning more about natural science, and so I believe they fulfil their purpose admirably.
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on 25 August 2008
Cuddly he aint! Richard Dawkins reminds me of a former work colleague (a palaeontologist as it happens) who never let sensitivities get in the way of winning an argument. But, uncomfortable though his words may be for many devout people, Richard exposes the difference between ideas based on blind trust (faith), self-delusion (alternative medicine) and those based on mountains of peer-reviewed researched evidence(such as evolution).

This DVD set is bound to have religious fundamentalists and mystics foaming at the mouth so watch out for their reviews trying to bring it down. Richard takes on his opponents with unnerving calm and some get quite upset. Prepare to be enlightened by a surgically precise dismantling of religious dogma and pseudo-scientific 'alternative' nonsense, followed by the presentation of reasoned fact in its place.

As Dawkins has said, the reality is wonderful enough without having to invent any more of it.
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on 11 September 2008
Dawkins has often been accused of being arrogant. In these DVDs he shows that he's just the opposite. He is calm and courteous when confronting people who are promoters of unproven claims yet he is firm and unflinching in the face of nonsense. His commentary is not only rational but also poetic. More of these programmes instead of the commercial rubbish being dished out would make the world a better place. Highly recommended.
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on 1 November 2015
I watched these the first time round and they are still interesting documentaries. I find "Root of All Evil?" (2006) to be the worst as it is designed to be polemical and Dawkins himself comes across just as irascible as most of his chosen interviewees. However some of the attitudes he elicits are scarily eye-opening and the interviews act as salutary to people of all persuasions.

"The Enemies of Reason" (2007) is first-class documentary-making. Although, as with the previous documentary, political references show its age; it is still just as relevant. After-all, there are still NHS homeopathic hospitals and some GP practices still offer homeopathic treatment. In fact, I have never seen a better documentary about conventional v alternative medicine and Science v superstition. Richard Dawkins adopts a far more friendly and polite manner, whilst still being just as "no-nonsense"; and it does him credit. Everybody should watch this, and then watch it again some years later!

"The Genius of Charles Darwin" (2008) sees Richard Dawkins returning to his own specialism and it shows. He is never better than when talking about Evolution as his books also demonstrate.

I recommend this set to everyone. There may be good reasons not to agree with all the sentiments expressed in "Root of All Evil?", but it is harder to argue with the other two documentaries.
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on 29 June 2013
Dawkins has kind of mechanistic-chemical world view.
For him molecules in their various combinations are
the only things that matter, and they determine our
world's history from the very beginning to the end of time.
He sees Darwinism as the key to understand who we
are, and why we are. He shows us some of the evidence
for this, and sure enough, one can only agree that
genes and their evolution play a decisive role for life
on Earth.
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VINE VOICEon 28 August 2008
When it comes to God, Richard Dawkins is very clear that we can't disprove a God, but neither can we disprove an orbiting tea-pot around Mars (See what he did there? Although apparently it's fine and rational to muse upon an unprovable and convenient possibility like a 'multiverse', but that's because a 'multiverse' is sensible where as the tea pot analogy is purposefully stupid. See again what he did there? He does that a lot, especially in 'The God Delusion') nor can we sit back and allow religious loons to kill us because we don't believe what they do and vice versa. The fact that Richard Dawkins isn't telling us anything new is testament to the power of these 3 documentaries provided in this boxed set. And even though I don't agree with everything he says, or where his arguements sometimes lead, I feel that Prof. Dawkins is the nearest thing we godless heathens have to a national treasure.

In this set you get the excellent 'Root of all Evil?', the so-so 'Enemies of Reason' and the dividing 'Genius of Charles Darwin'. Personally I really liked 'Genius' where as others thought it less about Darwin and more about Richard Dawkins attacking religion again. Well, judging by some of the idiots in this documentary - and the alarming interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury who blatantly doesn't take anything he teaches literally but is on too much money to say otherwise - frankly they deserve it. In fact, it is painful to watch some of the interviews because many seem to be brainwashed and lacking any genuine passion (or evidence), just as Dawkins springs to life about evolution and backs it all up with more evidence than you can shake a fossil at.

Of course he injects Darwinian evolution with his own 'selfish gene' reading of the process, no other view is covered, although a critic of this view engages in a chat with dawkins over a gorilla or two.

On the downside, some of the camerawork on 'Genius' is appalling. It's as if nobody could be bothered to think ahead and plan out shots, or even edit around gaffes in post. Dawkins at the piano and the interview with Daniel Dennett (especially where the cameraman - seemingly drunk - staggers in between the 'over the shoulder' shots) is pretty shoddy.

'Enemies of Reason' is perhaps an easier shot at irrational thought than religion or a belief in God. It's pretty unremarkable to be honest. The only noteworthy aspect of the programme is the disclosure of just how much taxpayers money goes into loony practices on the NHS and how a 'guru' like Deepak Chopra makes gazillions on the back of the seemingly endless gumph he writes and lectures about.

Okay, so it's a mixed bag. Hardened fans of Dawkins (usually people that go around quoting dawkins and saying how silly tea pots are, along with faeries and unicornzzz-z-z-z) will lap it up. Most other reasonable free thinking humanists will see it all for its strengths and flaws.
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