Mimicry, Misinterpretation, and Miscommunication: Let’s learn from the fuegans

Darwin’s The Voyage of the Beagle gives background and character to one of the most important discoveries of the modern scientific era. The diary gives a glimpse into Darwin’s mindset and biases as well as perception of his experiences. As I read through it, I couldn’t help but notice that an issue has persisted in the scientific and educational community since the Beagle left the British shores decades ago. Darwin writes of the Fuegans from the Tierra Del Fuego, and notes their mimicry. Whether Darwin realized it at the time or brushed it off as the actions of the less civilized people (as a product of his bias), the attempt at communication ran awry… as it always seems to…

Ignorance and a lack of understanding has created a wall between science and the rest of the world – evolution, global warming, vaccinations, and any other hot-button science issue are skewed by those who are not qualified to speak on the issues. So when Darwin went back to England and social darwinism sprouted from the roots of his discovery, who is to blame? The scientist who did not adequately describe his discovery to the masses? The loudest voice speaking the most lies? The educational system that does not teach critical thinking and scientific interpretation?

It’s a serious issue thats going to need to be dealt with, as science and society and misinformation are clashing. There may be a measles outbreak as a result of a student choosing to reject vaccination (See here), climate change legislation is coming forward (See Here), and there is still rejection of accepted science.

We need change and need it quick. Scientists need to communicate better, schools need to have higher science standards, and PLEASE STOP SHOUTING IF YOU DONT UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU’RE SHOUTING ABOUT!



~ by maxhkushner0 on February 16, 2014.

2 Responses to “Mimicry, Misinterpretation, and Miscommunication: Let’s learn from the fuegans”

  1. I think the point you bring up about miscommunication is interesting. Certainly, especially in Darwin’s time, miscommunication was a huge problem, as was misinterpretation of his ideas. However, I’m not sure that this applies quite so readily today. There is still misinterpretation, but much more of the problem seems to be coming from a certain part of the population that prefers to stay ignorant or reject accepted science. An example of this is the recent debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham (which can be watched in its entirety here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6kgvhG3AkI&feature=share). Unfortunately, the lack of communication here is not from misinformation or misinterpretation, but rather a refusal to consider ideas not in the Bible.

  2. I believe that in our modern society, the failure is not so much in communicating science accurately as in communicating its importance and relevance to humanity. Sure, much of the population is misinformed on simple ideas like evolution, but is that due to a lack of scientists describing evolution accurately? I don’t believe so. No matter how many high-profile scientists you get to explain evolution, there will still be those who insist that we “didn’t come from monkeys.”

    However, what people do not realize is WHY they need to care about science. That is what we should be working on communicating.

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