“Let’s Talk About Evolution” – Promoting the worth of evolution education through video

Sadly, it seems to be a pervasive trend in many countries to deemphasise the proper teaching of evolutionary biology. There are probably a few causes of this, ranging from anti-evolutionary pressure from religious traditions who dislike children being taught something that they feel denigrates their belief system, to unenthusiastic school boards and curriculum committees that, for whatever reason, come to the conclusion that evolution is not an important enough subject to teach students in detail. There are also numerous anti-evolution-education voices in the media (primarily in the US) that go unchallenged, influencing the opinion of a public that doesn’t know the whole story.

A group of scientists and science communicators – Matt Shipman, David Wescott, Kevin Zelnio, Jamie Vernon and Andrea Kuszewski – noticed this trend and those voices, and decided to do something about them: by asking female biologists and science communicators to submit videos explaining why evolutionary biology is so amazing and important, and why it deserves to be taught in schools. These submissions were then edited together into a single, succinct video entitled “Let’s Talk About Evolution”.

Matt explained the rationale behind the project, as well as why they chose to ask exclusively women to participate, in a recent blog post:

Evolution shouldn’t be controversial. But, in some circles, it is.

That point was driven home earlier this year via, of all things, the Miss USA competition. This year’s competitors were asked whether they thought evolution should be taught in schools. The majority of them said no.

Many girls look up to young women like the Miss USA contestants. So when these role models overwhelmingly speak out against evolution education, that’s a problem.

[…]

We came up with the idea of creating a video, featuring scientists, which would explain evolution and why it is important to teach evolution in schools. We wanted to avoid divisive behavior and name-calling. Instead, we thought we could convey the fact that evolution is an amazing, uplifting discovery that has served as the genesis of countless advances in many fields of science.

Then someone, I think it was Jamie, suggested that we focus exclusively on female scientists. This was a great idea. In addition to talking about evolution, we could highlight positive role models, showing that women can be scientists and researchers, as well as beauty queens.

David also weighed in:

The discussion started shortly after a video of the the Miss USA 2011 Pageant interview competition appeared on YouTube.  The contestants were asked that simple question – should evolution be taught in schools – and most of the answers were very disappointing for advocates of science. The discussion continued as evolution again became a salient topic in the presidential campaign. Everyone in our group had their own perspective and reasons for doing this, but here’s what I saw as the question kept coming up:

  • conservative politicians saying “no” (without facts to back it up)
  • pageant contestants saying either “no” or “teach evolution and creationism and let kids decide”
  • prominent supporters of teaching evolution calling these other people idiots or otherwise mocking them

The only thing I didn’t see: prominent people explaining why evolution actually should be taught in schools.

[…]

It just seemed like a good time to add more voices of smart female role models with more to say than “you suck.” [emphasis in original]

It was a great idea, and I hope you’ll agree that the finished product is pretty great too! If you agree with the aim of the video – to promote the message that evolution is a topic worthy of a place in every science classroom – then make sure you spread it around on all of your social networks. It’d be amazing to see this really rack up some nice viewing figures.

4 thoughts on ““Let’s Talk About Evolution” – Promoting the worth of evolution education through video

  1. The first speaker said that accepting evolution does not mean abandoning your beliefs.

    This is hardly true, otherwise why is there so much controversey over the topic of evolution vs creation. The problem isn't so much an ideological one, however, although it is certainly that too, but more centrally it is a scientific one. Evolution is not a scientifically validated theory, it is an ideological mechanistic metaphysics that claims to be scientific. This is what is objectionable to any rational person. On the other hand, creation is a wholly rational metaphysical perspective that observation corroborates without exception.

    Another speaker said that evolution means change of population over time. This is not a result of evolution, but a result of population genetics (for an existing gene pool). Her zomboid comment is the clear product of Darwinian brainwashing.

    Then another falsely claims evolution is the 'change in allel frequency in a population over time.' But this can be explained on the basis of drifting genetic material that already exist wihtin a popultion. No evolution of new genes is involved.

    The haggared old claim that bacteria wouldn't evolve resistance to antibacterial materials if evolution were not true, is simply another example of failure to recognize that already existent adaptive traits are present in bacterial populations to account for such resistance. Evolution of new genes is not required, and furthermore, bacteria never become anything other than other bacteria in such changes of populations.

    And other says that evolution is how life came to be! Really?? Such simplistic belief in the mind of a so-called teacher is being presented as science? This should not be allowed in a science classroom. It is clearly the unscientific metaphysical conviction of someone who shouldn't be brainwashing children with her personal beliefs.

    Or how about — evolution is a fact, not a theory! Yeah! Take that you poor delusioned creationists! Because evolution does not mention God by default, it is not considered religious belief, despite its being mere materialistic dogma that excludes the role of any creative intelligence in nature. This HAS to be recognized for what it is and jettisoned under rule of punishment for teaching this as science.

    Another made the factually disproven claim that evolution appears in so many scientific journal articles, so it must be a scientifically valid theory. First of all, mere mention of the word does not prove anything. Secondly, the offhand statement by scientists that sucha and such evolved after many millions of years is hardly a scientific verfied statment of fact. Thridly, the word evolution does not appears in journals very often — as a simple search confirms, and furthermore has little to do with whatever actual scientific results were obtained.

    Another said, science would not be what it is without evolution. That is true. Today it is known that without evolution the science of biology would have been far more advanced than it is due to so much time being wasted on an erroneous passive mechanistic misconception of life that has caused generations to miss its actual sentient, creative nature even at the simplest levels.

    So many other shallow remarks were recored, but why not include the more thoughtful and creative views of Lynn Margulis or Nobel Laureate Barbara McClintock who challenged the dogmatic claims of evolution.

    Educators are good at preserving the outmoded theories of the past two centuries, but do little to prepare students for the 21st century understanding of biology and science. A zombie represents the living dead. Those who have dead conceptions in their heads, though they are alive, are as good as dead. This video presented a gallery of such zomboid Darwinbots.

  2. This video was an absolute embarrassment. Not that females can't do great science (on the contrary of course), but their statements were laughable if not predictable. It was, however, the "norm" for the evolutionary propaganda machine hiding behind the guise of science…new characters, same bogus claims. Personally I enjoy the more colorful hatred embedded in the evolutionary pseudoscience of Coyne, Meyers, and Dawkins. Certainly the entertainment value is not lost with them.

  3. Oh you guys, what would I do without you?

    • Simple! Stop vomiting all the bull feathers the dull-headed Darwinian zombies feed you, and start learning the real science of biology that doesn't ignore sentience as the actual essence of life. Instead of worshiping the dead, get a life and recognize it for what it is – a creative and intelligent actuality that is not to be reduced to passive, mechanical, dead tinker toys, but cultivated for realizing the true reality of which you a valuable participant.

      The company you keep determines your viewpoint and builds up your ego identity accordingly. Rather than disdain their decrepit influence and develop an honest life of self determined freedom that is true to what you really are. the unfortunate choose to keep up the facade – "to prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." (T.S. Eliot) The outer molecular body, and its superficial relations miss the inner reflective principle that makes life Life and not dead matter. The day you realize this you become a real friend and not just another anchor to drag the world into deeper ignorance. For what? Simply to preserve a falsely concocted ego based on self aggrandizement rather than sacrificing all such self delusions for the truth?

      In this 21st century there is a need for real science and real scientists who can teach it. Instead of being lynched by Lynch. why don't you study the research of persons like J Shapiro, who has contemptuously ("Dawkins lives in a world of fantasy") and unflinchingly kicked out the pure nonsense of mechanistic biology and taken a sober stand on biology as the study of life, and not merely of chemistry and physics.

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