I watched a lot of cartoons and movies. I draw incessantly and carry a sketchbook everywhere. I work in animation and self-publish my books. There are monsters in the streets, don't wear red. Mad bulls and monsters hate that color. I still watch cartoons.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Darwin Day February 12



Darwin Day. Seems like a good time to raise a glass to that other old man with a white beard of our textbooks (okay, him and another) given that there are some alarming statistics about how (read: how little) of this science is taught in this country and what it may mean to your progeny.

Human evolution is included in the National Science Education Standards and the Benchmarks for Science Literacy, our national statements of the fundamental science concepts for grades K-12. The Standards and Benchmarks describe the basics for scientifically literate citizens. At the state level, politics overtake science education. Human evolution is included in only 8% of the state science standards, and is therefore not required in almost all American elementary, middle or high school science courses.


Fossil records showing actual living things that aren't here anymore are so intriguing. As a kid I imagined every bit of rock I dig up around my tropical neighborhood was some piece of a dinosaur bone. Man, dinosaurs rule--millions of years rule. How's that for a successful political party? They had their detractors, not timid little furry creatures underfoot, some of them had a hankering for the same thing that tips Fred's car at the drive thru in Bedrock (here).

5 Comments:

Blogger John Grillo said...

That's a startling quotation Ronnie. I didn't realize until now that I didn't really learn about evolution from my science teachers in school.

It seems that when one bring up the topic of evolution someone else says, "You don't believe that God made humans?" The next question that follows is, "Well then who started evolution?" I tend to avoid this debate, because I don't like to argue over points which are impossible to resolve. I'll just teach my kids what I think is right.

7:47 PM

 
Blogger Ronnie said...

John,

It is such a stark revelation. If it is even remotely close to that figure we are in for a bumpy ride. I do understand that the reason that the example discussion you mention keeps happening around the country is because of this statistic--it's not taught as a science subject. No one can safely have the discussion without one side questioning your belief in God--and that means you must be for the other guy. It immediately jumps the tracks and no longer is about science. Sadly, it reminds me of all the dark ages stories of religion riding in the same cart as government.

Thanks for the post, John.

R.

5:29 AM

 
Anonymous Jonathan Barlow said...

Well, in fairness, the theory of evolution is kind of a background notion to biology. How often in a working biologist's day does he or she reference the theory of evolution when studying this or that phenomenon? Truly, unless even biologists specialize in evolutionary biology, even in college they don't get that detailed of a presentation of evolutionary theory, warts and all. I would be much more concerned if our students were not learning math or literature or, in science, the basics of physics, germ theory, etc. Evolution is much more like philosophy of science than nuts and bolts science anyway, and if we're going to add any philosophy to the public school curriculum, I'd vote for ethics or aesthetics instead of evolution!

1:11 PM

 
Blogger Ronnie said...

Jonathan Barlow--I can see that if you had limited slots to teach you will have to make choices. So long as our future population is allowed the discipline of the scientific method. The alternative is all too possible or all too present already.

R.

3:12 PM

 
Blogger Adam W. said...

ditto what Jonathan Barlow said.

1:32 PM

 

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