The Genius of Charles Darwin (2008– )

TV Series  -   -  Documentary
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2008  
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August 2008 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

Fruitful interviews with Darwinists and Creationists. Canterbury Archbishop scores wonderfully.
13 February 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Very interesting interviews of both Darwinists and Creationists. Poor cinematography though with only one cameraman making those dizzying shifts from one person to another. I have seen videos by ID proponents, some of them cinematically well done with time lapse sequences, artistic dissolves,frame inserts and obviously shot with multiple cameras at various angles. They have more money?

I liked the interviews with the physician and medical researcher, Dr. Pike, with the Archbishop of Canterbury, His Grace Rowan Williams and the philosopher of science, Daniel Dennet. I question though Dawkins' insistence on putting down belief in the supernatural instead of just focusing on the probability of natural selection versus the literal interpretation of Genesis which the Archbishop also refutes citing unnamed sources dating back to the second century. I wish His Grace had mentioned names since I thought that St. Augustine in the 5th century was the first to refute those who always interpreted bible literally.

Dawkins came very close to being boorish with Concerned Women of America leader, Wendy Wright, as he sought to demolish the idea of belief in a supernatural Creator. But he was very tame with that grizzly Australian preacher who came up with ridiculous arguments about the alleged absence of evidence for natural selection and even stooping to ad hominem arguments against Darwin implying that he became unbalanced with the death of his eldest daughter at a very young age. Can't fault Dawkins for blowing hot or cold depending on the interviewee. After all the preacher was surrounded by his supporters while Ms. Wright only had a female receptionist. Safety first. I wish we had a strapping, tobacco spitting, ham fisted Darwinist to interview feisty Creationists.

Dawkin's exegesis of the phenomenon of kindness and benevolence among humans as offshoots of gene selfishness as exhibited in some animals which care and protect their kind as a behavior inherited by humans is somewhat thin in logic and probability. The idea is obviously cadged from Desmond Morris who wrote The Naked Ape series who compared the socialization of apes, which must have also existed among early hominids, to that of humans and postulated that the former was transmitted and developed in higher forms among humans. Likewise, Dawkins' substitution of human yearnings for immortality and the numinous with satisfaction and wonder at the mere fact of existence is ultimately unsatisfying. Jung and his followers like Campbell would certainly disagree with him on these points. In any case, personally, I do not think that natural selection alone can account for the diversity and intricacy of life. I tend to lean towards symbiogenesis which, unlike natural selection, focuses on cooperation among organisms rather than on competition. One who is uncomfortable with the theory of evolution because of its premise that natural selection is random, and therefore, undirected would do well to consider orthogenesis as an alternative with its emphasis on linear (as opposed to random)development of species which leads to the conclusion that evolution proceeds on a teleological basis. That means that the development of life ultimately has a purpose. I apologize to my readers for using "telescoping words" that look like jargon. It was done to make this review brief and also to encourage them to look them up to deepen their understanding of the issues involved.

Several interviewees are left out in the list of the cast here like His Grace Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, philosopher of science Daniel Dennet, Concerned Women of America president, Wendy Williams, that Australian creationist preacher, the science teachers (in England?) particularly that young woman who was cute and quite incisive in her comments.

The automatic editing on this site is faulty as it insists that words like "literalist" and the "hominem" in "ad hominem" are mistakes. It needs updating as it does not recognize the term "symbiogenesis."


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