Sex Death And The Meaning Of Life
Ideas about the soul and the afterlife, of sin and God’s purpose have shaped human thinking for thousands of years. Religious rituals remain embedded in the major events of our lives. In this thought-provoking series, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins asks what happens if we leave religion behind. He explores what reason and science might offer to inspire and guide our lives in religion’s place. Can science bring understanding in the face of death, help us tell right from wrong, or reveal the meaning of life?
Part 1: Sin
Richard Dawkins explores ethical questions, pondering what would happen if people abandoned all religious beliefs. He examines the roles of reason and science to inspire and guide life, beginning with a look at sin and morality, an undertaking that sees him travelling from inner-city London to America’s Bible Belt.
Part 2: Life after Death
Richard Dawkins embarks on a journey that takes him from traditional funeral rituals in India to cutting-edge laboratories in New York, as he proposes a scientific perspective on death. He investigates neuroscience, as well as evolutionary and genetic theories, in a bid to understand why people crave an afterlife, and has his entire genome sequenced to reveal the indicators of how he himself may die.
Part 3: The Meaning of Life
Richard Dawkins explores why both religious and non-religious people can struggle to find meaning in their lives, as he travels from the casinos of Las Vegas to Buddhist monasteries in the foothills of the Himalayas. He also meets Ricky Gervais, who discusses how he finds inspiration, and the presenter himself reveals that scientific enquiry provides his own engine for existence. He looks at how our existence is ruled by chance, meeting people whose fate was to be born into extreme poverty in India’s slums and the survivors of a natural disaster in Joplin, Missouri, which was ripped apart in 2011 by a tornado on a random course.