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Scientists Take Charles Darwin On the Road 170

Posted by Soulskill
from the zombie-darwin-needs-brains dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "A team of evolutionary scientists recently traveled to the heart of America, visiting rural schools and communities in Nebraska, Montana, and Virginia to share their excitement about science on the birthday of Charles Darwin, and were overwhelmed with the graciousness, enthusiasm and sincerity of the teachers, school administration and particularly the students that hosted them. 'Over the course of our visits, the questions we received from students were thoughtful and founded in sheer curiosity about the science we presented,' writes MacClain. 'Indeed, the questions were the most exciting part of our collective visits.' Another purpose of the trip was to introduce people to the diverse types of research scientists do, open students' minds to the possibilities of careers in science, and offer an alternative to stereotypes of science and scientists in general. Some criticize the Darwin Day Road Show for being nothing more than a 'Darwinist ministry,' others for it not being more explicit in its discussion of evolution and Darwin, but with this year's success, there will be a Darwin Day Road Show 2012 and the National Center for Science Education is planning to hit all 50 states by 2015. MacClain says the team has found a middle ground that allows scientists to stop communicating at and start communicating with the public. 'It reminds us all that interactions between science and society need not be contentious. At its heart, science is about questions, and we all naturally ask them.'"
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Scientists Take Charles Darwin On the Road

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  • So. Who else clicked on the article to see if the guys name was 'John'?

  • Seriously, I know it may sound a bit selfish, but here in Texas is where the curriculum of much of the nation is decided due to our huge purchasing power of school books. The publishers do not bend to the will of the smaller states as readily, and they must buy the books that are available from these publishers (personally, give me reprints from the 50s -- they're not nearly as dumbed down). California gets it, last I heard they were banning books that had the Texas curriculum in them.

    The problem is that here in Texas religious zealots are pushing to get "intelligent design" taught instead of the Science of evolution; Currently I.D. is being pushed as an alternative, with the hope that teachers can be found that will only want to teach one alternative -- I.D.

    The children will not learn without exposure to the scientific information -- I used only MS OSs since MS DOS 3.1 because I did not know about Linux! No one was there to teach me that I had other options than MacOS or Windows.

    Texas is the battleground that must be won to keep evolution in many schools across the country.

    A huge problem is that many true I.D. believers can not be reasoned with, many are irrational and have no concept of science.

    I once showed one of these fundamentalists a well known experiment I was running where each generation of mouse, at 4 weeks old (the brink of maturity for this breed), I put through a chute and if the mouse's tail got caught by the small rear sliding door, I would remove that mouse from the gene pool into a separate habitat. Each generation I shortened the measuring cell's length a bit.

    I pointed to the mice in the two different environments and said: "You see -- These mice with the long tails came from the same parents as these mice over here with no tails. Because of the chute's environmental pressure, the mice evolved to be a tailless breed. It was more genetically advantageous for mature mice to have shorter tails here, while there the mice were under no such constraint.

    Their response was that I was the intelligent designer -- I argued that it was only a demonstration, if one intelligently imposed environmental pressure could cause a change in the species, then other natural environmental pressures could also have effects that change a species.

    They said, "God would be providing such natural pressures." -- I said, "Eureka! So, you agree -- Evolution exists, and may be the very tool your God used to make the variety of species, and that He was smart enough to give his creatures adaptability so they could survive environmental changes!"

    They replied: "That is not what The Bible says, and therefore, that is not the truth. I still don't see why your theory of evolution should be taught in schools." I replied, "For the same reason we teach the theory of gravity!", and walked away.

    You can't win a logical argument with a fundamentalist -- even if they agree with you, they still disagree on principal.

    I hope that the they are just warming up with the "Darwin Day Road Show", so it doesn't seem like an attack at the very heart of the issue, but this is what must happen. Please come to Texas!

    P.S. Teach religion in school, fine I don't care -- but just don't remove the Science!

    TL;DR: Phhcht -- Houston, we have a fucking problem! We're screwing ourselves out of reasonable people; Over.

    • I said, "Eureka! So, you agree -- Evolution exists, and may be the very tool your God used to make the variety of species, and that He was smart enough to give his creatures adaptability so they could survive environmental changes!"

      I could be wrong, but isn't this exactly the idea of intelligent design?

    • by cold fjord (826450) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @06:21AM (#36207164)

      Please please, PLEASE! Come to Texas all 50 times!..
      . . . .
      The problem is that here in Texas religious zealots are pushing to get "intelligent design" taught instead of the Science of evolution; Currently I.D. is being pushed as an alternative, with the hope that teachers can be found that will only want to teach one alternative -- I.D.

      The children will not learn without exposure to the scientific information -- I used only MS OSs since MS DOS 3.1 because I did not know about Linux! No one was there to teach me that I had other options than MacOS or Windows.

      This is either hysterical nonsense, or a troll. Texas Science education standards [state.tx.us] require the teaching of evolution [state.tx.us].

      (b) Introduction.

      (1) In Biology, students conduct field and laboratory investigations, use scientific methods during investigations, and make informed decisions using critical-thinking and scientific problem-solving. Students in Biology study a variety of topics that include: structures and functions of cells and viruses; growth and development of organisms; cells, tissues, and organs; nucleic acids and genetics; biological evolution; taxonomy; metabolism and energy transfers in living organisms; living systems; homeostasis; ecosystems; and plants and the environment.

      (2) Science is a way of learning about the natural world. Students should know how science has built a vast body of changing and increasing knowledge described by physical, mathematical, and conceptual models, and also should know that science may not answer all questions.

      (3) A system is a collection of cycles, structures, and processes that interact. Students should understand a whole in terms of its components and how these components relate to each other and to the whole. All systems have basic properties that can be described in terms of space, time, energy, and matter. Change and constancy occur in systems and can be observed and measured as patterns. These patterns help to predict what will happen next and can change over time.

      (4) Investigations are used to learn about the natural world. Students should understand that certain types of questions can be answered by investigations, and that methods, models, and conclusions built from these investigations change as new observations are made. Models of objects and events are tools for understanding the natural world and can show how systems work. They have limitations and based on new discoveries are constantly being modified to more closely reflect the natural world.

      (7) Science concepts. The student knows the theory of biological evolution. The student is expected to:

      (A) identify evidence of change in species using fossils, DNA sequences, anatomical similarities, physiological similarities, and embryology; and

      (B) illustrate the results of natural selection in speciation, diversity, phylogeny, adaptation, behavior, and extinction.

      Evolution is being taught in Texas.

      There is another bit of nonsense popular on Slashdot - that Christians cannot be scientists, let alone good scientists.

      Collins: Why this scientist believes in God [cnn.com]

      April 03, 2007|By Dr. Francis Collins Special to CNN

      I am a scientist and a believer, and I find no conflict between those world views.

      As the director of the Human Genome Project, I have led a consortium of scientists to read out the 3.1 billion letters of the human genome, our own DNA instruction book. As a believer, I see DNA, the information molecule of all living things, as God's language, and the elegance and complexity of our own bodies and the rest of nature as a reflection of God's plan.....

    • by Splab (574204)

      I like how you subtly put windows and mac users into the I.D camp.

  • Great, now we have missionaries in science. Fight fire with fire?

    • by Black Parrot (19622) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @05:26AM (#36206970)

      Great, now we have missionaries in science. Fight fire with fire?

      Antibody response.

      Kind of like the Gay Pride movement, which IMO was a response the the 1980s habit of social conservatives peaking into closets hoping to 'out' homosexuals. Well, now they're out, and the people who were outing them wish they were back in.

      Law of unintended consequences, etc.

  • Indoctrination (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @07:31AM (#36207416)
    The reason you can't convince the bible-thumpers is because they have been indoctrinated since birth through churches, televangelists and others trying to push religious agendas. They've been brainwashed to the point where a rational argument or demonstration will not win them over. They are impervious to facts and scientific evidence involving empirical data. Intelligent Design is nothing more than Creationism re-branded in an attempt to circumnavigate the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution (which has helped to keep religion out of public schools)...This was proven in the court case: Kitzmiller v. Dover.
    • Yeah, I see this as an attempt to counteract that while they're still young enough for it to make an impact.
      Those complaining that this kind of thing is indoctrination are really complaining about it being a lack of indoctrination their way. (That statement also applies in many other situations.)

  • Taking Darwin on the road, in this day and age? Doesn't he rattle incessantly?

    Good stuff, though, this can only be applauded.

  • "Team of dumb asses discover that the non-elite aren't actually as retarded, backward and anti-evolutionary as they had prejudged." Kinda makes the 'scientists' look bad, though.
  • http://www.sacred-texts.com/aor/einstein/einsci.htm [sacred-texts.com]
    "For the scientific method can teach us nothing else beyond how facts are related to, and conditioned by, each other. The aspiration toward such objective knowledge belongs to the highest of which man is capabIe, and you will certainly not suspect me of wishing to belittle the achievements and the heroic efforts of man in this sphere. Yet it is equally clear that knowledge of what is does not open the door directly to what should be. One can have the cleare

    • by SETIGuy (33768)
      So? Einstein was wrong about quantum mechanics and grand unified theories. Why should I expect him to be right about religion? It's not like scientists bow and pray to Einstein the way a Catholic might pray to a saint.
  • Credit to these scientists for their tactical decisions here.
    I think this is a great idea , to look at the technical details of evolution without getting into the religious/political arguments.
    I fondly remember taking a class in high school that was an extended version of this.

  • I wonder who foot the bill for the 300 shields. Darwin's voyage only gives two immediate technology advances, there are far better things.

All life evolves by the differential survival of replicating entities. -- Dawkins

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