Talking about Evolution with Doubters: Practical Tips

Sunday, December 13, 11:00 am-12:00 pm, Room 32B

Ann Reid, National Center for Science Education

What do you say when someone says “I don’t believe in evolution”? Faced with such a statement, some biologists mutter something vague about evolution being well-established and quickly change the subject. Others mentally push up their sleeves, put up their dukes, and prepare for a data-driven debate. Neither strategy is particularly productive if the goal is to help someone understand why evolution is such a profoundly important theory, and why “not believing” in it is not a scientific option. Whether you’re keen to engage or anxious to avoid, with some practice, you can enter into such conversations with a greater chance of success in helping increase the public understanding of science. The National Center for Science Education, founded over 25 years ago to defend the teaching of evolution in public schools, has long experience communicating with people who reject evolution, or think it scientifically controversial. During this session, we will discuss some of the most common reasons individuals reject or question evolution and provide suggestions about how to engage such individuals in a productive way. Be prepared for hands-on practice!

Organized by the ASCB Education Committee