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Correcting misperceptions about evolution

Anonymous Coward writes | more than 6 years ago

Education 2

Beagle (666) writes "The science of evolution is often misunderstood by the public and a session at the recent AAAS meeting in Boston covered three frequently misapprehended topics in evolutionary history, the Cambrian explosion, origin of tetrapods, and evolution of human ancestors, as well as the origin of life. The final speaker, Martin Storksdieck of the Institute for Learning Innovation, covered how to communicate the data to a public that 'has such a hard time accepting what science is discovering.' His view: 'while most of the attention has focused on childhood education, we really should be going after the parents. Everyone is a lifelong learner, Storksdieck said, but once people leave school, that learning becomes a voluntary matter that's largely driven by individual taste.'"
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2 comments

Wish I were there (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22581996)

That seems like one hell of a symposium, and quite an in-depth article, biology/evolution wise for ars.
Two things I got most out of it were the fact that the public needs to realize that evolution is all about transitions, not abrupt changes, such as the humans came from monkeys claim.

In Daeschler's view, all of these animals, on both sides of the former gaps, are tetrapods. Some have limbs, some have fins, but they're clearly all part of a boundary- and gap-less transition.
Just because you can't see things happening (pardon me if I'm wrong but how many people alive today witnessed the events in the bible?) doesn't mean they are inconceivable, which I suppose would offer credence to both sides of the argument, but that's better than a discredit to science altogether.

The first item was simply that humans have evolved, period. The evidence is so overwhelming that Relethford feels that any remaining argument is simply between two religious perspectives on that fact; science has moved on. Item two was to emphasize that we did not evolve from modern apes. Ape is both a generic and a species term, and biologists need to be careful to use it correctly, because we're confusing the public by being sloppy.
This bringing up the other point that in terms of specific human evolution from bipedelism to expanded cranial capacity and tool use, that these are also over a broad period of time, and thinking that we evolved from the modern apes is most likely the hang-up for people who don't agree with evolution (besides the biblical thing). The article is 3 pages, but definitely worth the read (that's coming from someone about to enter the field of research in bivalve phylogenetics, so I suppose you can take that with a grain of salt).
The takeaway message of all this was that parents, and adults in general need to be actively educated so their children don't inherit their misconceptions about the whole topic.

4 or 3? (1)

florescent_beige (608235) | more than 6 years ago | (#22584048)

...covered three frequently misapprehended topics in evolutionary history, the Cambrian explosion, origin of tetrapods, and evolution of human ancestors, as well as the origin of life.

That's 4 things, not 3. Perhaps you meant this:

...covered three frequently misapprehended topics in evolutionary history: the Cambrian explosion, origin of tetrapods, and evolution of human ancestors; as well as the origin of life

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