The third issue of Evolution: Education and Outreach
The third issue of Evolution: Education and Outreach -- the new journal which aims to promote accurate understanding and comprehensive teaching of evolutionary theory for a wide audience -- is now available on-line. Featured are original scientific articles on such topics as co-option, evolutionary trends, and speciation and bursts of evolution; curriculum/education articles considering linguistic evolution and the importance of understanding the nature of science for accepting evolution, reports on evolution education in Greece and Chile; Gordy Slack's discussion of Answers in Genesis's "museum" on the anniversary of its opening -- "Anyone hoping to understand the majority of Americans who reject evolution for a Biblical view should take a hard look at this place," he comments -- and reviews of a number of books, including Donald Prothero's Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters.
Also included is the third installment of NCSE's regular column for Evolution: Education and Outreach, Overcoming Obstacles to Evolution Education. In their contribution, "'Theory' in Theory and Practice," NCSE's Glenn Branch and Louise S. Mead write, "A central obstacle to accepting evolution, both among students and the general public, is the idea that evolution is 'just a theory,' where 'theory' is understood in a pejorative sense as something conjectural or speculative. Although scientists and textbooks constantly explain that the scientific use of 'theory' is quite different, the pejorative use continues to cause confusion, in part because of its deep roots in a popular, Baconian, understanding of science. A constructivist approach, whereby students are helped to examine the adequacy of their preconceptions about 'theory' for themselves and to revise or replace them appropriately, is recommended." (Full article text available in pdf format here; right click to download.)