Dole Series
A Lecture Series Presented at the

The Dole Institute for Politics

Map to the Dole Institute

April 4th, 7:30 PM

Lawrence M. Krauss

Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics
Professor of Astronomy
Director, Center for Education and Research
in Cosmology and Astrophysics

Best Selling Author of The Physics of Star Trek

Physics Department
Case Western Reserve University

Science Under Attack,
From the White House to the Classroom:
Public Policy, Science Education,
and the Emperor's New Clothes

Abstract

Science is currently under attack on many fronts, and scientists need to play a part in helping defend science. The popular debate about the teaching of intelligent design in public schools presents a perplexing quandary for scientists and policy makers. How do scientists take part in a national debate that has been essentially manufactured by a marketing campaign to appear to be a scientific controversy, but which bears little or no contact with the scientific enterprise? Behind much of this campaign is the notion that by leaving out the explicit consideration of a deity in scientific explorations the scientific enterprise is itself somehow either inconsistent or immoral. Neither is true. How should educators and policy makers respond to public misconceptions such as this, however, when those misconceptions are held by a majority of the public? At the same time, these developments are taking place in the context of a larger distrust of science, and efforts by various groups to restrict the flow of information, control government access of scientists etc. I will describe some of these problems as well, and argue that scientists need to become vocal evangelists for science on many fronts. I will also argue that when it comes to public education as it relates to the process and progress of science, popular opinion is an inappropriate guide for policy and pedagogy. Finally, I shall touch on the situation in Ohio and Kansas, both the similarities and differences.

For a Quicktime version of Slides of the Lecture click here