Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Need Science Explained? Check out Stated Clearly

Phil Plait, Astronomer Extraordinaire, posted a link on his Bad Astronomy blog (Stated Clearly: Mutations) over to site Stated Clearly.  Before talking about them, I wanted to quote Phil.  His opening paragraph is a thing of beauty:

"A common characteristic of people who attack science is that they mischaracterize it. In one sense they have to; another common characteristic is that they have some sort of belief system that goes against the overwhelming scientific evidence, therefore (mistakenly) trying to kick the legs out from under science is one of their only available tactics."
I find it timely because just last night I made this exact observation about little kennie ham and how he likes to mischaracterize evolutionary theory for the express purpose of attacking it.  If you haven't read Phil's blog, or his excellent book "Death from the Skies", you might give them both a shot!  I like not only his writing, but he's a MythBusters fan as well.

OK, on to Stated Clearly.  They specialize in explaining complicated scientific concept in terms in ways anyone can understand.  I doubt many Creationists would enjoy them, but anyone who feels some of the ins-and-outs of evolutionary theory are a bit on the complex-side will!  The one Phil pointed out is "How Does New Genetic Information Evolve? Part 1: Point Mutations" is terrific and well worth viewing even if you already have a good understanding.  What the site can also do is help equip scientists with more down-to-earth examples to use when explaining challenging scientific concepts.

I intend to perusing the rest of the site and watching probably more videos than I have time for.  I also intend on making a contribution to support their work.

Some of you might find it surprising that I am willing to donate to Stated Clearly and yet I make fun of the Discovery Institute (DI) for asking for donations.  Unlike the DI, which was started with funding, and continues to be funded, from wealthy conservatives and whose senior folks earn in excess of 6 figures a year, (as discussed in My Prediction Sort of Came True!)  Stated Clearly was started by one person on a very small scale and has slowly grown.  It's much more a grassroots than the DI ever could dream of being and it's built on people's understanding and acceptance of Stated Clearly's mission:
"To promote the art of critical thinking by exposing people from all walks of life, to the simple beauty of science.  We do this by taking complicated scientific topics such as "What is DNA and how does it work" and creating short, information rich animations that explain the topic in clear language."
This is a method for improving critical thinking, unlike how often the DI and their so-called academic freedom bills misuse the same term.  How can you think critically about a subject if you do not understand it?  Obviously, when discussing science with creationists you see my point.  They rarely understand it and those that do . . . or at least those that should . . . will never characterize it correctly.  Little kennie ham is a perfect example . . . evolution does not state that humans are "just animals", that's nothing more than a mischaracterization designed to demonize evolution!  They prefer such demonizing to actual understanding.  Stated Clearly has a mission I am proud to support!

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