David Attenborough on Charles Darwin

By Ed Yong | January 30, 2009 7:29 am

I don’t normally post videos here, but when it’s David Attenborough doing the talking, I’m more than happy to make an exception. This man is a legend, and has done so much to promote the majesty of nature to the entire world. He’s now finished with big mega-series, but not with film-making.
This Sunday, on February 1st, the BBC will air his new one-off programme Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life”. In it, Sir David candidly speaks about his views on Charles Darwin, the vital role of evolutionary theory in linking man to the natural world and how the attitudes espoused by the Book of Genesis have contributed to the devastation of the natural world.
Have a look at an interview I did with Sir David last year, and of course, at the video below.

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Comments (9)

  1. Víctor

    Thanks a lot for posting this video. Sir David is always so inpiring.

  2. Thanks for the reminder Ed, that’s one program that I’ll have to watch. David Attenborourgh has been something of a hero for me since I first watched “Wildlife on One” back at the tail end of the 1970′s. That was the first program where I remember feeling sad when the credits rolled because that was it until the next episode, and I even remember as a kid making sure that I left parties in time to watch it…how sad was I???
    David Attenborough is probably the most trusted person alive in the UK and a great communicator,to have him speaking out in defence of evolutionary theory and against ID (etc) is fantastic!

  3. David Attenborough is probably the most trusted person alive in the UK

    No exaggeration – in this age of “celebrity”, he is a wonderful example of how to retain dignity, authority and humanity in the public eye.

  4. The man is an icon and, as demonstrated in particular by that picture from his college years, rather easy on the eyes.
    Every time I hear him speak about this or any other issue, I always think, gosh, I could never have said it quite as well as that…
    It’s very interesting to me that he has become, increasingly in his older age, an activist regarding the environment, climate change, and now in the defense of science and reason against creationists. And yet he’s taken it one step further: creationism isn’t just bad for science education, it’s bad for the environment too. Go Sir David!
    @Paul I even remember as a kid making sure that I left parties in time to watch it…how sad was I???
    David Attenborough is the party.

  5. I’d love to see the Dutch evangelicals try to sanitise this

  6. alex

    david has two vids on youtube they called i hate nature watch them!

  7. MikeB

    He was on ‘Midweek’ on BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday – still available as a podcast (with Harry Shearer as well!). His programme on Darwin is still on IPlayer http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00hd5mf/Charles_Darwin_and_the_Tree_of_Life/ (don’t miss it – wonderful), and he’s got a nrew six part series out as well. This is one very busy 83 year old national treasure – and we all hope he keeps making programmes like this for a long time to come.

  8. NikB

    The reference to the book of Genesis here is terribly misquoted! The scripture tells Adam and Eve to ‘have in subjection’ all Creation, to ‘look after it!’ – in a similar way that children are ‘subject’ to their parents – loving parents would not cause problems for their children but care for them.
    It is the greed and selfishness of people that causes such devistation of the natural world. This is something that the bible is clearly against.
    I too enjoyed watching David Attenborough througout my youth and gradually came to see the evidence of design, not a relationship between all species.

  9. MattK

    I too enjoyed watching David Attenborough througout my youth and gradually came to see the evidence of design, not a relationship between all species.

    Let’s say that a reduction in eyes and associated structures represents good adaptation (which can look like good design) in a cave dwelling organism. Cave adapted fishes all have reduced eyes. Based on this fact alone, either design or adaptation (or genetic drift, but let’s leave that for now) may explain that one observation. But…
    Fishes may be found in caves in several parts of the world. Two of these are the Edwards Aquifer in the SW US and the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. While the cave fish at both sites are blind they are otherwise very different. EA cavefish are ictalurid catfishes (the group native to North America) and, besides their adaptations to cave life, resemble other members of their family at the surface. Conversely, the Astyanax cavefishes in Mexico don’t resemble US cave fish at all except for a few cave adapted features (blindness and lack of pigment). Instead they resemble other Astyanax sp (family Characidae) found in adjacent surface habitats. Since these cave habitats are more similar to each other than they are to surface habitats, why do the fish in caves resemble fish in nearby surface waters more than other cave fish from further away? Common descent easily explains this, design…not so much.

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