Take a look at my new flip of this lesson on Ted Ed:
Myths and Misconceptions about Evolution
Then come back here and leave your feedback about what the lesson includes and what you learned or did not learn about. I’d love your feedback on the associated questions and discussion topics so I can edit and optimize them before I show it to my class in the Fall.
July 9, 2013 at 2:30 pm
Language is critical to understanding. This TedEd video demonstrates this by presenting misconceptions that people have about evolution in the simple catch-phrases that sound familiar and understandable and stick in our heads. The problem is, sound bytes aren’t meant to be accurate, but only ‘eye’-catching.
We’ve designed language to relate with other humans and we feel comfortable using words that are crafted specifically to cultivate this feeling of connection. The problem comes when we try to use this same language to discuss the natural world.
Do planets ‘want’ to orbit stars?
Do animals evolve ‘in order to’ better adapt themselves to their environment?
Do electrons ‘feel’ the tug of protons?
None of these things are true. But our language makes it cumbersome to describe what does happen in a succinct manner. Or, even if we do, it sounds technical and labored.
I would urge students to pay careful attention to the words that their instructors use; and instructors to use caution in their language.