Well, they call it “evolution’s” PR problem. Whether that’s because they do not genuinely acknowledge any other approach to evolution is for them to say. If so, that’s part of the problem, not that they would realize it in that case. Anyway, some are vexed by a 2003 study that found that the more people know about Darwinism (oops. “evolution”), the less they like it.
And so it is no wonder that students, but also many evolution educators themselves, are wary about the use of evolution to explore human behavior, cognition, and culture. The human traits we tend to hold dear and that tend to define our everyday experience – from our sense of community and self-identity, moral intuitions like fairness, empathy, and liberty, to language and thought, to music and art, to our goals and values – do not seem to lend themselves to evolutionary explanations as offered by gene-focused accounts and unidirectional organism-environment relationships. At best, evolutionary theory would seem irrelevant to understanding these traits, and at worst, evolutionary theory would seem to imply that such traits can not be a part of the rational individual nature of our species.Susan Hanisch, Dustin Eirdosh, “It’s Time to Fix Evolution’s Public Relations Problem” at The Evolution Institute
Well, now that they mention it, we’ve all heard many efforts to explain away everything that makes us human as some fix for spreading our selfish genes.
And the proposed solution?
We argue that the only way forward for evolution education in terms of fixing the public relations problem, and hence to advance evolution understanding and acceptance, is to systematically engage with the 21st-century science of evolution. Maybe we need to redefine and reassess what evolution understanding means in light of modern thinking in evolutionary anthropology. Maybe then, evolution “understanding” will not be mysteriously correlated with misunderstanding. Maybe then we will find that the more a person knows about evolution, the more helpful their conceptions of themselves and their fellow humans become.Susan Hanisch, Dustin Eirdosh, “It’s Time to Fix Evolution’s Public Relations Problem” at The Evolution Institute
So maybe a bigger dose will work? The pop science media is chock full of this stuff now. Guess they could try cramming more in.
Ooh, I have an idea! Sponsor class discussions of Darwinism and “scientific” racism. We could show John West’s film (the less awful one that YouTube allows for under-18s). We might start to get a clue as to why people don’t “like” Darwinism, oops “evolution.”
We might not have to dig very far.
See also: YouTube placed restriction on vid on scientific racism. Apparently, it was considered too awful for a general audience So John G. West, the producer, has edited it, in the hope of keeping it up.