Out of curiosity, I searched on youtube "theory of evolution". Out of the first 20 results, 4 were about trying to prove that evolution is a myth, and it never happened.

Then I tried in Italian, "Teoria dell'evoluzione". 9 results of the first 20 were about "debunking" the theory of evolution.

I'm not sure this is related to my personal feed, but I found it interesting. It's almost half of the results in Italian!

@arteteco I'm more worried about the fact that in multiple languages there is a hit at all int he top 20!

@freemo Yeah, it sucks. We need more skilled communicators I guess.

Considering the statistics it makes sense though, less than half of the population in the US thinks we evolved from other animals.

In Italy should be a bit above 60%, so ok, it's well reflected

newscientist.com/article/dn978

@arteteco I'm not sure if it is the lack of communication. Usually I find most morons who think this stuff to be true can not be convinced otherwise no matter how well someone communicates that.

The issue isnt the lack of communication, but the mindset of the people who think these things true.

@freemo There is that, too. I still think that more communicators, especially in high school and with kids, can do a great deal of difference. In Italy the school system is not really good, frankly.

Once they are grown up, at least that 15% of people who are not sure should be able to easily access good quality information and make up their mind.

Jeovah's witnesses here knock at doors and stop you in the streets, while the highest level of communication of many researchers I know is having a laugh about how we share a common ancestors with bananas when drunk, while trying to write the phylogenetic tree on the dusty windshield of a car =D

@arteteco We need communicators as parents, thats where it is lacking. Most of this willful ignorance comes from the parents.

I do agree that if we had better communicators in middle school and elementary school, it would likely help before these bad habits get established. But it is hard to work against a parent especially when you have a kid for only a year.

@freemo We do what we can. Like a STEM Instance!
Btw, if you good communicators and shows about it, please link, I'm starting to get interested in volunteering for this kind stuff and is very difficult to make evolution interesting (since I don't know how to find eye candy stuff to show kids!)

@freemo @arteteco I think first important thing to do is to clarify the distinction between evolution and evolutionary history. Most people have a problem with the latter, and that is not surprising, since when it comes to history, at the end of the day, you have to speculate based on what seems most likely to you and that is highly dependent on your beliefs. It's kind of like a bait that allows people to drift the conversation away from science.

@namark @freemo
I'm not sure what you mean here. By evolutionary history you mean history of evolutionary theory? What problem could arise here?

@arteteco
Not the history of the theory itself (though I wouldn't necessarily recommend mixing that in either), but all the stuff about who originated from what some unimaginable amount of time ago.
I think it's much more important to understand the obvious and undeniable truths that the theory tells about things that are happening now, happened recently and will happen in the near future.

@freemo

@namark @freemo

I don't think any evolutionist would try to deny that either drift, selection or even mutation can happen at very different rates, even quite fast, depending on the organism, as we measure "time" by generation. Those examples are often used to illustrate the basics of evolution, such as the biston bitularia case, the flu rapid evolution and so on.

BUT, especially to explain very complex stuff like the structure of the eyes, how life came to be the way it is and such you have to put evolution into a geological time perspective.

@arteteco

My point is that "what things are" and "how the came to be" are two different questions, and the former is much more important in my opinion. I'm not saying that the latter should not be discussed/taught, but the discussions should be separate. When asked to explain a scientific theory, jumping straight into history is strange, and if you rely on that, it opens you up to scrutiny because no matter how likely the stories are, they cannot be proven rigorously.

@freemo

@namark

I hope I'm getting your point, but I'm not sure.

The two questions you are presenting cannot be separated, IMO.

This could work for a theory which is valid without the time dimension, but evolution isn't. It's bound to time in a inextricable way, and it is about how things came to be what they are.

You can't really talk about it in a non-historical way (you may abstract it in a hypothetical mathematical way, but you'll still have to use the passing of time for it to have sense, like in a game theory set)

Much of the evidence we have is indirect (even though we have some recent observable ones, and mathematical ones), but that doesn't change much as we have a ton of different evidences from different fields and all agree (geology, paleontology, molecular biology, ecology...). It's very, very rigorous, and only one piece out of place could make the entire theory collapse (like the famous rabbit in the precambrian =D )

@arteteco

Well, I'm no expert, so can't really argue, It's just my layman opinion from seeing people claim rather straight forward things about single cell organisms existing today, only to be rebutted by others trying to prove that all life on earth did not originate from a single cell that come about randomly, which was completely beside the point, but none of the sides realized that, since both were talking about "evolution", of course.

@namark Sorry, I don't get what you mean. What are the claims about single-celled organisms existing today? Like, that they should have evolved in more complex forms, given the time?

@arteteco No, they were claiming just the most basic stuff, that over many generation the cells are changing through selection and mutation, and were met with "but evolution is wrong", presenting arguments regarding origins of life, hinged on physics/chemistry and statistics. No serious arguments that would phase any expert, just students discussing this in school setting. Point being the rebuttal had absolutely nothing to do with the original claim, but it managed to confuse the students.

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@namark Now I see where you are coming from, thanks.
Actually yes, evolution deals with modification in generations of what's already here. The beginning of life is a different topic and it's a matter for biochemists, more than naturalists (as I am).

Since day 1 to now, and since 100 years ago to now, dynamics are the same.

I see that it is something that could confuse a high school student though

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