Sunday, 17 June 2012

Ignoring Creationism does not make it go away

From Nature;


We should not let creationist pressure alter the way we do science — the day that researchers become reticent about highlighting inconsistencies and uncertainty would be a dark one. But equally, we are not helpless when it comes to countering creationist disinformation based on our results. I believe that science would benefit greatly if we did more outreach when we publish and publicize our research. 
Direct debates with creationists are risky. Organized discussions only support the 'evolution is in crisis' lobby. However, a proliferation of online tools means that we can make accurate information freely available to those interested enough to look for it. Arizona State University's Ask a Biologist web page has fielded more than 25,000 questions from students and teachers since it launched in 1997. 
If research is to appear that will attract an obvious creationist interpretation, an accompanying blog post could explain the work and highlight flaws in any anti-evolution attacks. Sites such as the Natural Environment Research Council's Planet Earth Online and the Palaeontological Association-sponsored palaeontologyonline.com provide researchers with vehicles for one-off posts. Publishers can do more, and could offer online summaries in non-technical language, written by the researchers. The open-access journal Palaeontologia Electronica already does this. 
Ignoring the creationist threat will not make it go away. As scientists, we owe it to the schoolchildren of Tennessee and elsewhere to find another way to beat it.

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