Over at the Science Blogs, people have been debating the connections between science, peer review and popular media: see Chad Orzel‘s posts on science in popular media, science and peer review and low-quality popular science, and Janet Stemwedel’s reply, and folow-up on objectivity in science.
Olivia Judson has another nice article on evolution in the NY Times (8-12), this time on the how & why of teaching it:
In these arguments [with ID and other forms of creationism], evolution is treated as an abstract subject that deals with the age of the earth or how fish first flopped onto land. It’s discussed as though it were an optional, quaint and largely irrelevant part of biology. And a common consequence of the arguments is that evolution gets dropped from the curriculum entirely.
This is a travesty.
It is also dangerous.
Evolution should be taught — indeed, it should be central to beginning biology classes — for at least three reasons.
It sounds strangely familiar to us Romanian readers, isn’t it? Scibling Brian Switek is also keeping at it:
Like Judson, I am frustrated that evolution is often taught as a distinct biological phenomena at the end of the year, hardly presented as the concept that makes sense of the rest of biology (as Theodosius Dobzhansky once said). Rather than being a powerful idea that connects what is being taught it is often treated as little more than a footnote, if it is mentioned at all. Just because a school isn’t mired in a creationist controversy doesn’t mean that evolution is being taught there, and I have to wonder how many schools simply avoid the topic because they feel it to be too controversial.