EVOLUTION (2001) PBS NOVA

Evolution, Show 1: Darwin's Dangerous Idea (1/2)

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Video Description


Show 1: Darwin's Dangerous Idea



Why does Charles Darwin's ''dangerous idea'' matter more today than ever, and how does it explain the past and predict the future of life on Earth? The first show interweaves the drama of Darwin's life with current documentary sequences, introducing key concepts of evolution.



Chapter 1. Prologue (5:11)

Introduction to the show and to Darwin

* Darwin's voyage on the Beagle

* Natural selection: a revolutionary and dangerous idea



Chapter 2. Common Ancestry (14:47)

Darwin's return to England

* The puzzle of the Galapagos finches

* Darwin's initial ideas about adaptation and the development of new species

* Darwin's relationships with his brother and with fellow naturalists



Chapter 3. Ecuador and the Tree of Life (12:55)

Darwin's theory of a single tree of life and current biological research

* In Ecuador, biologists explore how adaptations to new environments can create new species

* Comparisons of rainforest and mountain hummingbirds

* What Darwin learned from the Galapagos finches

* Using DNA to determine when species diverged



Chapter 4. Natural Selection (9:04)

Darwin's marriage and the development of his thinking

* Darwin's relationships with his brother, scientific peers, and future wife

* Darwin considers MalthusÕ theories of human growth and struggle

* Does survival of the fittest apply to all species? Even humans?



Chapter 5. Mutation and HIV (12:59)

A modern definition of natural selection, and HIV as an example of evolution in action

* Natural selection explained in detail

* How traits are passed along to offspring

* Two personal stories about HIV explore how natural selection produces drug-resistant viruses

* How scientists use their understanding of natural selection to combat HIV



Chapter 6. Complexity (6:34)

Darwin's personal and professional life

* Darwin with his family

* Darwin's reluctance to publish his theory of natural selection



Chapter 7. How the Eye Evolved (10:48)

The eye's flaws and evolution

* Darwin's separation of nature and religion

* The human eye as an example of evolutionÕs imperfections

* Models of eye development over time and across species



Chapter 8. God (11:31)

Tragedy in Darwin's life

* Darwin's work to produce evidence for his theory, and his continued unwillingness to publish

* Darwin's poor health

* The death of Darwin's daughter and his split from Christianity



Chapter 9. A Scientist Discusses Religion (4:53)

The religious beliefs of scientists today

* Biologist Kenneth Miller, a self-described "orthodox Catholic" and "orthodox Darwinist"

* Natural selection's compatibility and conflict with religion



Chapter 10. The Human Question (14:31)

Darwin publishes On the Origins of Species and faces resistance to his ideas

* Darwin's theory as a threat to Victorian religion and science



Chapter 11. Humans and the Tree of Life (8:38)

Humans and Darwin's theory

* Are humans "just" animals?

* Creationist attacks on evolution

* Fossils supporting the link between humans and apes

* DNA evidence of a common ancestor

* Comparisons of human and chimpanzee mental development



Chapter 12. Epilogue (4:34)

Darwin's death

* A prestigious burial in Westminster Abbey; England's recognition of Darwin's powerful idea

Documentary Description


EVOLUTION (2001)



Series Overview

Evolution determines who lives, who dies, and who passes traits on to the next generation. The process plays a critical role in our daily lives, yet it is one of the most overlooked -- and misunderstood -- concepts ever described.



The Evolution project's eight-hour television miniseries travels the world to examine evolutionary science and the profound effect it has had on society and culture. From the genius and torment of Charles Darwin to the scientific revolution that spawned the tree of life, from the power of sex to drive evolutionary change to the importance of mass extinctions in the birth of new species, the Evolution series brings this fascinating process to life. The series also explores the emergence of consciousness, the origin and success of humans, and the perceived conflict between science and religion in understanding life on Earth.



The Evolution series' goals are to heighten public understanding of evolution and how it works, to dispel common misunderstandings about the process, and to illuminate why it is relevant to all of us.



Evolution Series Show Descriptions




Show 1: Darwin's Dangerous Idea (two-hour)

Why does Charles Darwin's ''dangerous idea'' matter more today than ever, and how does it explain the past and predict the future of life on Earth? The first show interweaves the drama of Darwin's life with current documentary sequences, introducing key concepts of evolution.



Show 2: Great Transformations
(one hour)

What underlies the incredible diversity of life on Earth? How have complex life forms evolved? The journey from water to land, the return of land mammals to the sea, and the emergence of humans all suggest that creatures past and present are members of a single tree of life.



Show 3: Extinction! (one hour)

Five mass extinctions have occurred since life began on Earth. Are humans causing the next mass extinction? And what does evolutionary theory predict for the world we will leave to our descendants?



Show 4: The Evolutionary Arms Race
(one hour)

Survival of the fittest: Raw competition? Intense cooperation? Both are essential. Interactions between and within species are among the most powerful evolutionary forces on Earth, and understanding them may be a key to our own survival.



Show 5: Why Sex? (one hour)

In evolutionary terms, sex is more important than life itself. Sex fuels evolutionary change by adding variation to the gene pool. The powerful urge to pass our genes on to the next generation has likely changed the face of human culture in ways we're only beginning to understand.



Show 6: The Mind's Big Bang (one hour)

Fifty thousand years ago, something happened -- the modern human mind emerged, triggering a creative, technological, and social explosion. What forces contributed to that breakthrough? Where might our power of mind ultimately lead us?



Show 7: What About God?
(one hour)

Of all species, we alone attempt to explain who we are and how we came to be. This final show explores the struggle between science and religion. Through the personal stories of students and teachers, it offers the view that they are compatible.



Source: PBS

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