This Darwin Day: Don't Be a Dodo

It's Darwin Day, and while I'm not closely involved in any of the stuff taking place around the country this year, I do have a very strong recommendation about how to celebrate: Go and check out one of the many Flock of Dodos screenings that are occurring. And watch the trailer on YouTube to get yourself psyched up.

In Flock of Dodos, Randy Olson has produced a brilliant and funny film which highlights a critical issue that's become an increasing interest of mine: Why do scientists and their defenders, despite being so fricken smart, nevertheless fail to communicate their knowledge (on evolution or on other subjects) to the broader American public?

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Why do scientists and their defenders, despite being so fricken smart, nevertheless fail to communicate their knowledge (on evolution or on other subjects) to the broader American public?

I try. The previous Citizens for Science group I was in was happy to have me give a presentation on my research. The meetings were open to the public, in a public library, but no one seemed to come to the meetings if they werent a member.

Ive tried to give presentations to local churches here in Oklahoma. The ministers humor me for a bit, then stop returning my calls/emails. Ive got one presentation lined up right now, but the date keeps getting pushed back, so Im fairly certain theyre going to bail too. Im just about as nonthreatening in appearance as you can get, just behind a bunny, but the second I say "Hey, Id like to offer to give a little presentation on what evolution is, and why you all should support it!" ministers run away screaming.

Communicating science to the public is harder than it sounds, certainly at an individual level.