Posts Tagged 'teaching'

Issues on understanding evolution

A couple of things intersected over the last week or so that have had me thinking a bit more about evolution and how it’s presented. More specifically, I’ve increasingly noticed a phenomenon that seems to get little attention and might be worth a bit more consideration. In short, there do seem to be a good number of people who, for whatever reason, are really quite happy with the concept of evolution as a whole (species arise, natural selection happens, common ancestry etc.) but seem to profoundly misunderstand how and why it works.

It’s perhaps understandable that a lot of focus goes into winning over the people who don’t accept that evolution even exists, but we should not ignore those who are happy enough with the idea, but actually don’t understand it at all well. After all, they might well be vulnerable to misinformation or further misunderstandings, when in fact they should be the kind of people who would be resistant to such things. I’ve heard or come across all sorts of basic mistakes and misunderstandings like the idea that evolution is directed (or has some predetermined outcome), that mankind is all but inevitable, that evolution occurs at the individual level, that X is the exact and direct ancestor of Y and so on.

All of these things are the kinds of fallacies that creationists use to undermine evolution or promote confusion about how it really operates, yet these are also errors made by those who have no problem with the concept. While these mistakes are not ignored when it comes to public outreach in science, I do wonder if in part, we are paying too little attention to a sizable number of people who would benefit from knowing more and having a better understanding and appreciation of evolution, and likely be interested in learning more. We’re not talking about deep and complex evolutionary theory, merely some fairly basic concepts that should be easy and simple enough to explain quickly and effectively, the question is, are we doing that for the people who need it?


Some ‘Ask A Biologist’ outreach

My once ‘little’ project, Ask A Biologist is now grown fat on well over 4000 questions and continues to grow ever bigger. However, that rate of expansion has never been quite what I hoped for and I continue to try and push it in ever bigger and more effective ways. This has to be done on a budget, what with this being basically a voluntary and unfunded organisation and all. Still, we recently did splash out a bit of money to have some professionally made posters and leaflets produced. These look rather better in their These look rather better in their PDF forms (available to download below) than the included jpegs but I am eager to get them out there so here they are.There’s a poster (that should be good up to A3) and two flyer designs (A4 double sided). Flyer A has a ‘reversed’ front page so it can be folded as a nice small leaflet to distribute, and the type B has not so that it can be folded, or just left as a single A4 flyer.

Also included below are a bunch of various poster designs and logos or banners. Please take any and all of these and print them up, post them online, e-mail them around or whatever. Just get them to people or give them to people, kids, teachers, educators, whatever. Obviously we simply want to promote the site as far as possible and we think we are doing a good job, but with more people finding us, we can do a better one and you can help.

Anyway, download, link-to, post, print, encourage and enjoy. Thanks.

Flyer A

Flyer B

AAB Poster

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