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Complete program description for educators
  Series Overview |  Show 1 |  Show 2 |  Show 3 |  Show 4 |  Show 5 |  Show 6 |  Show 7
Show 1: Darwin's Dangerous Idea

1 hour, 57 minutes, 12 DVD chapters

  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 MalthusŐ 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 evolutionŐs 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

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