Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Show Up!

Mark Drapeau, a neuroscientist and geneticist at New York University thinks scientist must engage the public on evolution. To do that, he believes, the scientific community must overcome its aversion to politics and the media.

Drapeau cites as an example the comments of Kathleen K. Smith, a Professor of Biology at Duke University, and the new Director of the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center.

When Smith was asked how the “intelligent design challenge” should be met, she responded that intelligent design (ID) was not a viewpoint based on merits or principles, and that, “…my experience is that the ID discussion is carried out using political and courtroom tactics rather than intellectual tactics – the sort of thing you see on the evening news…That’s not a level at which you can have an intellectual discussion.”

Drapeau argues that given the general lack of engagement by evolutionary biologists with the average citizen, they should not be surprised that a recent national survey by the Pew Research Center found that only 26% of Americans believed that life on Earth has evolved over time by means of natural selection.

Are scientists satisfied with this, or resigned to discussing ideas amongst themselves in relative isolation? asks Drapeau.

"The world," he notes, "is run by those who show up."


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