Intelligent Documentary Making

Hendrik-Jan Grievink
July 29th 2007

BBC doc

Our image of nature is permanently under construction. For Dutch biologist Gerdien De Jong, this became al too clear after watching The Life of Mammals, a series of nature documentaries by the famous David Attenborough and comparing his movies with the versions broadcasted by the EO, a dutch evangelical broadcasting organisation—


In Holland, his documentaries are only broadcasted by the EO, an evangelical broadcasting organisation. After watching the series in both the original BBC version and the dutch postsynchronised version, she began to notice small differences, but with big impact in how the perception of nature is sold to the audience. She decided to make a comparison between the two versions. On the weblog http://evolutie.blog.com you can read more of her findings (unfortunately only in dutch). Her investigations can be viewed here and here on Youtube. To go short, this is what she found out:

  1. The Dutch version is cleary edited and cut from all references to the evolution theory, the similarities between man and ape and so on. Expressions like "millions of years" just dissapeared.
  2. The documentary can be purchased in a series of 10 DVD's via the BBC. With the series also comes a book with 10 chapters corresponding with the episodes. The dutch series however, for sale on the EO website consists of only 9 parts. The last episode titled Food for Thought just doesn't exist in the dutch EO version. It happens to be the episode which features the origin of species and evolution. The book is not even for sale in Holland.

And so it shows, that our image of nature is only what we make of it and how we project our own thoughts and feelings onto it. This goes for creationists as well as for biologists like Attenborough. Nature is an image of nature.

Download De Jong's entire research report as a pdf here

Related: Coexist

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Michael
Posted 26/02/2008 – 17:31

But why, in the first place, did BBC gave this documentary to an evangelical broadcasting company!?! Are they that naive? They could have prevented the censorship. Or starts creationism somewhere in the machinery of bbc?

John A. Michon
Posted 30/07/2007 – 14:29

Quote:
"The dutch series however, for sale on the EO website consists of only 9 parts. The last episode titled Food for Thought just doesn’t exist in the dutch EO version. It happens to be the episode which features the origin of species and evolution. The book is not even for sale in Holland. "
Reply:
Awfully (and characteristically) dishonest and backward as the whole thing is, the book IS for sale in Holland (only not -- as you would expect -- from the EO shop). Both the English book and a COMPLETE Dutch translation (published in 2003 by Fontaine) are available through any dedent bookshop. Except -- hard to believe -- BOL.COM, the largest internet bookshop in this country. The reason for the latter I find difficult to fathom.

Should men be able to give birth to children?


Koert van Mensvoort: Is the artificial womb frankenstein-like symbol of (male) engineers trying to steal the magical womb from women? Or… is it a feminist project and needed to reach through equality between the sexes? I personally lean towards the latter. To me it feels like progress if a girl can tell a guy to carry the womb for a change.

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