Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Evolution Minds Big Bang/What About God|
parts 6 & 7
Actor: Liam Neeson (narrator)
Genres: Educational, Documentary
The Mind's Big Bang: Anatomically modern humans existed more than 100,000 years ago, but with crude technology, no art, and primitive social interaction. By 50,000 years ago, something had happened which triggered a creati... more »
"The Mind's Big Bang" and "What About God?" on "Evolution 4"
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 06/14/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The PBS series on "Evolution" is as much about the profound impact the evolutionary process has had on our understanding of the world around us as it is on the various versions of the theory that have been expounded in scientific textbooks for the past century. The series basically focuses on five key concepts regarding evolution, sandwiched between episodes that constitute a dramatic introduction and a controversial coda: This final DVD in the series has the final pair of episodes. Episode 6, "The Mind's Big Bang," addresses the question of why humans are the dominant species on earth. The answer is found in the past, when something happened to primitive humans to trigger a creative, technological, and social explosion, which ultimately allowed humans to dominate the planet. The episode tries to uncover (literally) the primitive forces that contributed to the emergence of the mind of the modern human being. Episode 7 "What About God?" is the coda to the series in that it returns to the initial question of Darwin's day regarding the conflict between evolution and religion. The debate is presented within the context of a college student whose family is not happy with what he is learning about evolution at Wesleyan College, a group of high school students trying to get their local school board to allow the teaching of creationism, and the activities by adults on both sides of the question to win this pivotal battle. I consider the episode to be remarkably even-handed, but then I do not think there is an inherent conflict between the two, which invalidates my opinion for true believers on both sides. Overall I like the fact that "Evolution" goes for depth rather than breadth. The case studies, at least to my uneducated mind, come across as being representative of the issue under discussion. The DVD series also features access to the Evolution Web site with its interactive games, activities, and biographies, so those who would like to get additional information and insight on any one of these topics can easily do so. There are also student lessons for teachers who want to work these episodes into their science classes and a printable teacher's guide (remember, "Evolution" was produced by WGBH Boston, which means we are talking--surprise--public television)."
Why create? Why speak? Why us? & Why do humans believe in
Stephen Pletko | London, Ontario, Canada | 07/04/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Mind's Big Bang" and "What About God?" are parts 6 & 7 respectively (on one disc) of the seven-part "Evolution" series. Part 1 (on a disc by itself), parts 2 & 3 (together on a disc) and parts 4 & 5 (together on one disc) don't have to be seen in order to understand these two parts. However, I strongly recommend viewing part 1 entitled "Darwin's Dangerous Idea" first before viewing these two parts.
I actually feel that parts (1 to 6) should be viewed first before viewing the last part, part 7 (entitled "What About God?") in order to get the maximum impact from this episode. However, you can easily understand this part without viewing the other parts.
Briefly, the sixth and my favorite part entitled "The Mind's Big Bang" (8 scenes, 55 min) traces the possible forces that may have contributed to the emergence ("Big Bang") of the modern human mind. Actually, this part's "prologue" or introduction is more informative. Here it is as said by the narrator, actor Liam Neeson:
"A [startling] discovery [was] made in 1994 where others found underground caverns adorned with over 300 images, some printed 34,000 years ago, the oldest rock art known...But finding art is not the only goal. [We want] to find something bigger--how the human mind was born. Where once people had looked at bare walls and had seen only walls, now others saw astounding possibilities. And with art came human technology, human communication, human culture. The question is, `What happened to make all this possible?' How could it be that a species opened its mind and burst into a new realm? How is it that [our] human ancestors evolved a whole new way of seeing themselves and in time transformed the planet?"
The seventh, last, and perhaps most controversial part entitled "What About God?" (6 scenes, 55 min) allows the viewer to encounter two types of people: those who believe religion only and not evolutionary fact and those trying to find a balance between religion and evolution. Here is the prologue:
"The majesty of our Earth, the beauty of life--are they the result of a natural process called `evolution' or the work of a divine creator? This question is at the heart of a struggle that has threatened to tear our nation apart. For Fundamentalist Christians like Ken Ham, evolution is an evil that must be fought...For all of us, the future of religion, science, and science education are at stake in the creation-evolution debate. Today, even as science continues to provide evidence supporting the theory of evolution, for millions of Americans, the most important question remains-- "What about God?"
Brief comments are made throughout both parts or both programs by such people as professors, biologists, teachers, confused students, etc. Part 6 has some excellent photography and animation. Richard Dawkins of Oxford University and Steven Pinker of MIT are two big names that give brief comments in part 6.
These programs alone sold on this single disc are for those who don't want to shell out the $90.00 (the price at the time this review was written) for the entire boxed set "Evolution" seven-part series.
Finally, the DVD itself (the one released in 2002) is perfect in picture and sound quality. There are no extras.
In conclusion, if you want to understand two intriguing facets of evolution--namely, the emergence of the human mind and the conflict between religion & science--this is the film to see!!
(2001; 1 hr, 50 min; made for TV ("Nova"); wide screen; 14 scenes; closed captioned)