Why removing evolution from science textbooks might not really matter

This needs more thought, but writing this has helped me to join up a few ideas I was stewing over with my coffee yesterday morning while my son was napping. So I’ll publish this as is, and your thoughts are welcome. While it’s useful to teach the fundamentals of physics, chemistry and biology in schools, I think what we need to start with and to prioritize is teaching the scientific method, the importance of curiosity and the need to question the answers. As an aside: Question the Answers is also the name of my favourite Bosstones album. Rather than teaching the latest and best hypotheses, we should be showing kids how science as a whole works. How a community of disparate researchers come to agreement on an idea, and how people continue to challenge that idea as best as possible … Continue reading »

On Pokemon and evolution

This week I’ve been reading Richard Dawkins’ The Blind Watchmaker and The Devil’s Chaplain, thinking about evolution, and how this topic could be better taught in schools. Or in many cases, just taught at all. Then today, I had a lesson in Pokemon from my 10 year old nephew… Now if we ignore the issues around the merchandising of Pokemon combined with the slogan ‘Gotta catch em all’, it’s amazing how many of the concepts required to understand evolution are already developing in the mindset of a young Pokemon fan. My Pokemon lesson included: 50+ weird and wonderful names of Pokemon species (like listening to a biologist) Groupings of species by functions or appearance (taxonomy) Catching wild Pokemon (wild and domesticated animals) Seasonal Pokemon (whose appearance changes throughout the year, like an arctic fox) And evolving Pokemon (including the discernible … Continue reading »