Table of Contents

Episode One: "Darwin's Dangerous Idea" (2 hours)
  • Dramatizations of Darwin's life, interspersed with commentaries by philosopher Daniel Dennett, biologist Stephen Jay Gould, and historian James Moore. Darwin's theory that all living things evolved from a common ancestor in one "great tree of life." Drug resistance in HIV. Biologist Kenneth Miller on the vertebrate eye and the role of God. Similarities between humans and apes.
Episode Two: "Great Transformations"
  • Fossil whales. Similarities in limb bones. The transition from water to land animals. A "genetic toolkit" common to all animals. The transition from apes to humans.
Episode Three: "Extinction!"
  • Mass extinctions. Dinosaurs and the first mammals. Saving an unspoiled forest near Bangkok. Biological invaders in the Hawaiian Islands. Using a beneficial insect to control weeds in North Dakota.
Episode Four: "The Evolutionary Arms Race"
  • Multi-drug resistant tuberculosis in Russia. Lessons from a cholera epidemic. Feline immunodeficiency virus. Leaf-cutter ants and symbiosis. Allergies and the importance of interactions among species.
Episode Five: "Why Sex?"
  • Genetic variability as a reason for sexual reproduction. Sexual selection and peacocks' tails. Lessons from chimpanzees and bonobos. Evolutionary psychology on the role of sex in brain evolution.
Episode Six: "The Mind's Big Bang"
  • The emergence of art, technology, and society about 50,000 years ago. Hominid evolution and Neanderthals. Early human migrations. Language. Memes and how they now counteract biological evolution.
Episode Seven: "What About God?"
  • The creation-evolution controversy and U.S. science education. Biblical literalist Ken Ham. Students at Wheaton College struggle with their faith. A school board denies a petition to teach special creation alongside evolution.
Activity One: Who Were Darwin's Critics?
  • Accompanies Episode One, "Darwin's Dangerous Idea"
Activity Two: Darwin and His Finches
  • Accompanies Episode One, "Darwin's Dangerous Idea"
Activity Three: Tracking Biology's Big Bang
  • Accompanies Episode Two, "Great Transformations"
Activity Four: The Centrality of Evolution
  • Accompanies the Conclusion, Section D, "Is Evolution Indispensable to Medicine, Agriculture and Choice of Mate?"
Activity Five: How Do You Know?
  • Accompanies Episode Four, "The Evolutionary Arms Race"
Activity Six: The Scopes Trial in Fact and Fiction
  • Accompanies Episode Seven, "What About God?"
Activity Seven: Who Are Darwin's Critics Now?
  • Accompanies Episode Seven "What About God?"
Activity Eight: Teaching the Controversy: What's Legal?
  • Accompanies Episode Seven, "What About God?"