The genius of Charles Darwin. Part 2, The fifth ape.
- Waal, F. B. M. de 1948-
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About this work
Presented by Richard Dawkins, this is the second in a three-part series looking at Charles Darwin's theory of evolution through the process of natural selection. This part looks in particular at an area of Darwin's theory that Dawkins feels was missing - the evolution of the human species in terms of its moral and ethical development. The programme begins by tracing back evidence of our earliest ancestors, 5-6 million years ago in East Africa. Dawkins attempts to convince Bishop Bonifes Adoyo, an Evangelical minister, of the theory of evolution - the seeming lack of a goal behind evolution troubles the minister. However much Dawkins supports the theory of evolution, he appreciates that it is not a good model for the evolution of moral human society. He speaks out against the way Darwinism has been blamed for being at the root of experiments such as eugenics, Nazi racism and cut-throat business while in fact these are not true Darwinism as they are not processes of natural selection. To describe how a Darwinian but ethical society can evolve Dawkins turns instead to the evolution of our psychology, explaining how emotions such as altruism might also have an evolutionary basis which he goes to some length to explain in terms of 'selfish genes' mis-firing; this is ultimately what he feels makes us different to other animals.