Sunday, February 11, 2007

Darwin Day?

Today is Darwin Day. And Im rather irritated.

Since I relocated to Oklahoma, I have been less than impressed with the pro-science activism going on here. A week after I moved, I attended a presentation given by a Creationist at a local church. No members of OESE were present. In my previous Citizens for Science groups, the members always scouted out local Creationist activities. A few weeks later, a HUGE anti-science fair was held at a popular church just north of town. This time I e-mailed OESE and asked if they were planning on attending, or doing any counter programming. They responded to my note with enthusiasm... but the answer was no. Im sitting here, a few blocks away from a major research institution, a major employer for the area, where every damn bit of research requires evolution... and there are no after-work presentations for the public. Im a hop-skip-and-a-jump away from physicists, geologists, astronomers... same thing.

There is no public outreach at all.

And we wonder why Creationism is so big in OK.

I was speaking with a friend yesterday, history/classics major-- not a science guy, and he articulated very, very clearly why activism is necessary. He said, "Im a pro-science person. I know you all know what youre doing. But I would feel very uncomfortable explaining to someone else why evolution is right. I mean we didnt get any evolution in high school-- I just know its something about bird beaks and stuff changing..."

It would be so simple to give little presentations to the public on topics like "How do we know the universe is old?", "What evolution is and what evolution isnt", "Why should you support evolution?" etc. And such presentations were given in the last Citizens for Science group I was in.

But its not happening here. Oh OESE are doing teacher workshops-- thats a terrific idea! But weve got to do more than that. A friends grandmother invited me to give a simple presentation on evolution to her church (it was supposed to be today, for obvious reasons, but had to be postponed). Im hoping their minister likes what I have to say and will recommend me to other churches. I wont be able to reach the congregations that invite the likes of Brad Harrub to speak, but I need to do something.

Happy Darwin Day. *sigh*


Steven H said...

As another recent transplant to Oklahoma, I know the feeling. Of course, coming from Alabama it's not much different than what I left. Though its bad, be thankful you're in OKC instead of a smaller town. OSU recently had some asshat write some vacuous screed in their college paper. His following article was even worse. And this is at an institute of higher learning...

I've enjoyed reading the blog, originally found it from a reply at Orac's, I think. Keep fighting the good fight.

ERV said...

hehehehe That is terrible! But I still think its funny that his *best* argument against evolution was to compare it to religion.
Aren’t scientists worshippers, believers in something beyond themselves? Do not scientists and atheists alike worship a flower, an idea, a feeling? Does this not display an intrinsic fundamental idea of God placed inside each and every one of us?
Ugh. Please tell me someone wrote in to counter that?

Oh, and my boss went to school in Alabama! Surprisingly, its one of *the* places to go for training in HIV research. Not Harvard, Birmingham. Go figure!

And thanks for the encouragement!