Earlier on today I posted the following which seems to have disappeared from the page:
After spending yesterday evening preparing for classes by watching the ICR video Thousands … Not Billions and the ID flick The Privileged Planet, I awake to read this. Randy Olson, following an MFA in filmmaking from USC, has decided that the way to improve evolution education is basically to engage in sort of dumbed-down glossiness that anti-evolutionists specialize in; all surface flash with little real depth. Olson seems to have forgotten that communicating science is difficult and it’s complexity doesn’t yield to simple Hollywoodization. Taking a bunch of acting classes – which he seems to suggest is necessary – wont solve that problem.
Maybe it’s my own high dork factor talking, but I’m not too receptive to people telling me I need movie star qualities to be able to support science, or that we have to pander to superficial sensibilities to communicate a message. Our strengths are depth, intelligence, evidence, history, the whole damn natural world, and just plain having the best and most powerful explanation for its existence. Don’t tell us to dumb it down and glitz it up—I think people should be smart enough to understand it, and there’s grandeur enough in it that dressing it up in rhinestones is just silly. We need to know how to communicate real science, not Hollywood cartoon science, to people.
A commenter on the original thread said:
I get the feeling that you don’t regard communication with laymen as being worthwhile. In fact, as I read your post, I get the impression that you feel that that sort of activity is demeaning to science or to the scientist.
Hardly, especially since I spend my time communicating science to laypeople as a teacher!
Look, I agree that scientists could do a better job communicating their ideas. I don’t, however, agree that Olson is correct in his suggested method.