Thanks Mark - your blog is great- though I made a longer list of blunders while watching! (You can use this if you want)
I was very disappointed with the Darwin documentary. There are a lot of people who spend their lives studying the man and yet here we get Dawkins' second-hand gloss with only one expert, Randal Keynes, briefly on screen.
First of all, the major theme was not "Who was Charles Darwin and how did he figure out how life works"? Instead, it was “Darwin is better than religious explanations”.
Dawkins Claim: Darwin wanted to be a priest instead of his family's desire he be a physician.
In fact, it was his family's idea he become a clergyman.
Dawkins Claim: His family connections got him the Beagle voyage offer.
Dawkins Claim: Darwin was one of the first to recognized that fossils were the remains of extinct organisms!
Wrong by centuries!
[centuries is a bit strong: my understanding is that Cuvier was the first to establish this in the 1790s, more than forty years before Darwin's Beagle voyage, but the recognition that fossils were the remains of once-living but not necessarily extinct, organisms goes back to Steno, over a century and a half before Darwin, so Darwin is far from the first]
Dawkins Claim: Darwin was one of the first to see that the world was older than 6000 years!
Again, wrong by centuries. In fact many discoveries are attributed to Darwin rather than to Richard Owen, Lyell and the entire scientific community of his day and the preceding generations. This Darwin lives in a vacuum!
Dawkins Claim: He thought his theory would be ‘upsetting’ so he therefore hesitated in publishing it.
The people on your blog who think they disagree with me and say 'it was lots of factors' have obviously not read my article! If you cite this copy people can read it for free:
All best, John -- Dr John van Wyhe
Director The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online University of Cambridge CRASSH, 17 Mill Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1RX http://darwin-online.org.uk/ Fax: 01223 (7)65276
Bye-Fellow Christ's College, Cambridge