Tag Archives: Evolution

Carl Sagan’s Genius: Science Through Storytelling

Carl Sagan, the scientist who worked on NASA’s Voyager probe missions, was a powerful science communicator who literally seduced the minds of millions of viewers through his charismatic storytelling. Carl Sagan understood the power of media and the power of storytelling. He synthesized both to deliver the beauty of the cosmos and science to millions of viewers through standard television desktops.

One of Carl’s most powerful examples of science through storytelling is his use of the ancient Japanese Battle of Dan-no-ura and the Heiki warriors. He used this story to demonstrate the process of artificial selection:

Storytelling is a powerful tool to communicate scientific concepts and ideas.

Retro Report’s Evolution under Creationism Attack

The New York Times’ Retro Report released a mini documentary concerning the growing skepticism of evolution in the science classroom, chiefly stemming from creationist organizations.

The viewer is exposed to first-hand accounts through two former high schoolers, particularly Zack Kopplin, who garnered  the support of 78 Nobel laureate scientists in his campaign against the Louisiana Science Education Act. 

Retro Report’s doc briefly notes that skepticism against evolution has been a problem throughout early American history. At one point, it was even “illegal” to teach evolution in many state schools. The mini-doc highlights the infamous Scopes Trial, in which it took less than ten minutes for a Tennessee jury to convict a teacher for teaching evolution. In 1968, the Supreme Court knocked down these laws, arguing it violated the separation of church and state.

We often hear something like, “96% of the world’s scientists believe in evolution,” but we’re rarely exposed to the inner thoughts of the 4% creationists-scientists. What is interesting about this mini-doc is that we come face-to-face with a creation-scientist who shares their thoughts about evolution.

Dr. Georgia Purdom Ph.D, is a molecular biologist and biblical creationist.  Purdom seems to be brilliant; her work include understanding bone remodeling, and cell/molecular biology.  She also works at the controversial Creation Museum, where she often host talks on The Genetics of Adam and Eve.

Purdom notes:

I am a scientist and I have looked at the science and I see that it confirms god’s words. But I would also then like to teach evolution, what the evolutionists believe, and then the problems with that. Because there can only be one truth, they both cannot be true.

Purdom follows with the perceived problems of evolution:

I mean, if we are teaching our kids they’re nothing more than the result of undirected random processes over time, that they evolved from some sort of ape-like creature, that they are an animal, how do you expect them to act?”

I nearly fell out of my chair when I heard these anti-evolution rationale.

Dr. Purdom is but one among many authoritative creationists who influence local teaching policies. Some creationists are becoming creative in their agenda. One such creation-based organization is the Discovery Institute. They are using carefully crafted language to circumvent the Constitution’s separation of church and state.

But Dr. Kenneth Miller, who is also a molecular biologist but anti-creationism, opposes such language. Miller, author of Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul,  argues that this sly language used in state legislatures are designed to sneak anti-scientific ideas into classroom, which becomes “weapons of disbelief” that eventually disseminate into other areas like climate science, fertility, and stem cell research – ultimately harming us all.

My thought is that science concerns itself with the observable. Creationism and science are two very different components. Creationism has no place in public classrooms disguised under sciency language. Given that there are more churches than public schools in America, churches are the optimal places for teaching creationism, not public schools. I often wonder, how would churches feel if science fights for legislation to force science teaching in churches?