Awareness Of Darwin Not Evolving

By | March 28, 2009

Awareness Of Darwin Not Evolving

What has the public learned from the Darwin 200 celebrations?

A survey carried out by students on the newly created MSc in Science, Communication and Society at the University of Kent has revealed a disappointing level of knowledge regarding the life and works of one of Britain’s best-known scientists, Charles Darwin.

A simple survey composed of four questions was carried out on the University of Kent’s Canterbury campus and in Canterbury city centre, with surveyors approaching people at random.

Despite the fact that his portrait is on the back of a ten pound note, less than half of those surveyed were able to select Darwin’s picture from a selection of five bearded Victorians.

Knowledge of Darwin’s work was even more disappointing. The general public and university members alike scored lower than they should have done by simply guessing on questions relating to the content of his book.

For example, when asked to identify the type of animal most prominently featured in On The Origin Of Species, only 14% were able to correctly select birds from a list of five options. The most popular answer was ‘monkeys’.

via Awareness Of Darwin Not Evolving.

Read about Darwin’s finches on wikipedia. The Galapagos Islands might be fun to visit some day. Here is some BBC footage:

5 thoughts on “Awareness Of Darwin Not Evolving

  1. James

    When I was in highschool I never heard Darwin’s name once. I do not recall if I heard it in college chemistry or biology classes, but by then I had educated myself.

    I wish more people knew about Darwinian Natural Selection and what it means to us as homo sapiens and our “place” in the world.

  2. Xeno Post author

    Darwin really got the ball rolling so it is good to know the basics about him, but we have a much clearer picture of species evolution these days. Check out the links on the National Association of Biology Teachers web site. One that caught my attention is the different religious groups’ views on evolution.

    I found this list of “Five scientists who made the modern world” interesting. Who has heard of Leo Szilárd? I’d say N. Tesla belongs as #5 on his list because Tesla gave us AC power and radio…

  3. James

    Yeah that is a pretty good list of scientists. I would put Darwin on the list but as the introductory paragraph said he is a “given”.

    I think John Von Neumann is a good choice. When it spoke of his contributions to game theory it made me think of another mathematician; John Nash. Have you read about game theory? Interesting stuff. I had never heard of Leo Szilárd either to my recollection.

    I struggle to think of who I would put in fifth. I want to say Stephen Hawking or Richard Dawkins just because I idolize them, but I think they are just good at articulating their subjects to the masses more than making huge contributions to their field (Though they have both made contributions). You could say fairly resolutely that they did not make the modern world.

    How about someone like Ben Franklin? I wonder if he could be considered a scientist. Hmmmmmmm… Alan Turning?

  4. Ann

    I can’t understand how someone can teach biology without talking about Darwin and evolution. You must have gone to some fairly poor schools. Evolution is the backbone of understanding biology.

Leave a Reply