This series examines evolutionary science and the profound effect it has had on society and culture. From the genius and torment of Charles Darwin to the vast changes that spawned the tree of life, from the role of mass extinctions in the survival of species to the power of sex to drive evolutionary change, Evolution is fascinating and far-reaching in scope. The series also explores the emergence of consciousness, the success of humans, and the perceived conflict between science and religion in understanding human life.
Episode 1: Darwin's Dangerous Idea (2x60)
Why does Darwin's "dangerous idea" matter today more than ever, and how does it convey the power of science to explain the past and predict the future of life on Earth? The first show interweaves the drama of Darwin's life with documentary sequences, introducing key concepts of evolution.
Episode 2: Great Transformations (1x60)
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.
Episode 3: Extinction! (1x60)
Five mass extinctions that have occurred over the life of the planet. Are we humans causing the next mass extinction? And what does evolutionary theory predict for the world we will leave to our descendants?
Episode 4: The Evolutionary Arms Race (1x60)
"Survival of the fittest": Raw competition? Or intense cooperation? Both are essential. Interactions between species are among the most powerful evolutionary forces on Earth, and understanding them may be a key to our own survival.
Episode 5: Why Sex? (1x60)
In evolutionary terms, sex is more important than life itself. Sex fuels evolutionary change by adding variation to the gene pool. The urge to pass on genes has shaped our own lives -- perhaps much of human culture is a result of our sexual drives.
Episode 6: The Mind's Big Bang (1x60)
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?
Episode 7: What About God? (1x60)
Of all the species on Earth, 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.
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