PZ Myers reviews “The Greatest Show on Earth”

An excellent review, my quotes below don’t do the entire review justice, but it should give you an idea:

The defining characteristic of all arguments with creationists is how damned ignorant they are. I’m sure many scientists have been stupefied into stunned silence when they first encounter these people; these advocated of creationism are typically loud and certain and have invested much time and effort into apologetics, but when you sit down and try to have a serious discussion with them, you quickly discover that their knowledge of basic biology is nonexistent. It’s worse than that. We’re used to freshmen entering our classes who don’t know much about the basics, and we can deal with that; these, though, are people with negative knowledge, whose brains are so packed with raging falsehoods that we have to struggle to overcome an unfamiliar hurdle.

He continues with the introduction…

I have no illusions that we’ll suddenly see a blossoming of enlightenment, but we now have tools to help us, a whole series of recent books that cover the basics. Everyone should read at least one of these, especially if you’re one of those clowns who wants to argue that there is no evidence for evolution. Read and understand, please; we’ve already got enough idiots who claim to have read them and didn’t grasp anything in them.

And finally, on to the review:

READ IT.
Maybe you already know everything Dawkins writes about in this book, if you’ve got a degree in biology and have done a fair amount of reading in the field; there really aren’t any radical surprises here, just a lovely review of familiar facts. You should read it anyway. Realize that this is the level that you have to operate on if you want to discuss the science of evolution with the public. What this (and the other books I mentioned above) is is a primer on how to communicate the ideas of science to a wider audience. It’s an overview and a synthesis, and it takes each piece of evidence and makes them part of a narrative. This is science plus storytelling — it’s what you have to do.

READ IT.

Maybe you already know everything Dawkins writes about in this book, if you’ve got a degree in biology and have done a fair amount of reading in the field; there really aren’t any radical surprises here, just a lovely review of familiar facts. You should read it anyway. Realize that this is the level that you have to operate on if you want to discuss the science of evolution with the public. What this (and the other books I mentioned above) is is a primer on how to communicate the ideas of science to a wider audience. It’s an overview and a synthesis, and it takes each piece of evidence and makes them part of a narrative. This is science plus storytelling — it’s what you have to do.

Thanks to http://www.richarddawkins.net for the heads up to the review!

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2 comments
  1. Sad said:

    Are we, the scientific-minded, fighting an unwinnable war, given that the majority of Americans cannot read above a 5th grade level or comprehend the concept of a logical fallacy?

  2. innertubes said:

    It’s sad to think about, and even worse to experience first hand. My roommate actually tutors community college kids in science courses, and he has a new ‘reading comprehension’ horror story every week.

    I attended a great public school system, and received a fantastic education, in Fishers, IN, but just now, years later, is the realization sinking in of just how lucky I was.

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