I completely agree with Henry Gee’s review (below). I have a lot of respect for Brian Cox, but he is an astrophysicist not an evolutionary biologist and unfortunately this handsomely-produced documentary is worse than an empty vessel, it is a cracked one. “Exceptionalism” is scientifically nonsense, though valid in a more philosophical context. Claiming a species or phenomenon is “exceptional” begs the question of “why”. It is also unfalsifiable as it is reasonable to assume that other species like ours exist in the universe, but currently impossible to prove.
Last night I watched Channel 4’s fly-on-the-wall documentary Richard III: The King In The Car Park. I was expecting it to be one of those documentaries that take 90 minutes to give you 5 minutes of information that you already had from that evening’s news, but actually it was engaging, more on an emotional than intellectual level. The woman from the Richard III Society who got the ball rolling was somewhat over the top but she clearly cared deeply about a subject which had, for some reason, captured her interest years ago. Can’t criticise someone for caring. (I don’t want to spoil the fun, but an important note of caution over the DNA results is to be found here.) Continue reading
I am a big fan of the BBC, and I have reviewed some of its historical and scientific output in this very blog. But if you are a bit more “hardcore” than me, or have a special interest in certain politically-charged subjects, like climate change for example, the venerable broadcaster can be subject to criticism. Continue reading