In a recent Reports of the National Center for Science Education (PDF), historian Adam Laats, author of Fundamentalism and Education in the Scopes Era: God, Darwin, and the Roots of America's Culture Wars (2010), writes about the necessity of science educators to understand Creationist culture.
Americans do not get it. Nearly half of US adults believe that humans were created as is, less than 10,000 years ago (Newport 2012). Those of us who care about evolution education must confront a sobering truth: evolution education does not work. Yet since long before the days of John Scopes, most of us have simply offered more of the same.
Laats says that evolution education fails to convince creationists.
Granted, the special purpose of evolution education is not to convince creationists. Evolution education in general succeed with many students as it should. If a student is objective and intellectually curious, they will learn evolution's principles and contemplate the theory's implications, and perhaps if they do not start down a path towards a profession in the sciences, then they may--more probably--remain curious about the new discoveries and developments in the field as they encounter it in future years through popular science writing and documentaries.
But for this education to be utterly ineffective fro such a huge percentage of Americans is a significant problem.
Laat proposes that evolution science educators need to better understand creationist culture, because evidence of evolution isn't sufficient to convince creationists.
Evolution education should never become an exercise in religious conversion, but it is high time for scientists and teachers to notice that not even religious missionaries engage in the naive and blinkered missionary approach still so common among evolution educators.
In particular, Laat stresses rightly that too many evolution educators assume creationists are ignorant about evolution; in fact, they often are not. They simply reject the evidence.
Read the article here: Reports of the National Center for Science Education (PDF), pages 3–6.
Paleontologists have long thought of the coelacanth as a stodgy old slowpoke: Two modern-day species of the fish—considered living fossils because of their remarkable similarity to ancient coelacanths—typically swim in a slow, almost dawdling manner. As a group, coelacanths had apparently kept the same basic body plan for hundreds of millions of years. But now, researchers have found fossils of a sleeker coelacanth—one that likely was a speedy, shark-like predator in the ancient seas west of the supercontinent Pangaea about 240 million years ago.