A new study shows that schools and many education programmes are failing to provide students with a basic understanding of evolution.
It is famously difficult to explain evolutionary principles without resorting to anthropomorphic or figurative language. Evolution ‘selects’ the fittest individuals; species ‘adapt’ to change. Both of these phrases are commonplace when explaining the very complex processes involved in evolution. However, this use of language implies that there is an agency or cognition involved in evolution. This misunderstanding is being picked up on by students in the classroom and could form part of a wider desire to fit evolutionary theory into broad social narratives.
Rob Moore and colleagues (University of Cape Town, South Africa), writing in the Spring issue of the Journal of Biological Education, call for more care in the use of language in science education. ‘Given the centrality of evolutionary theory to a clear foundation in biology, the widely documented difficulty that many students have in coming to terms with these concepts is of enduring concern…Establishing a clear conceptual grasp of evolutionary theory will need to include an enhanced sensitivity to language usage.’
Natalie Partridge | alphagalileo
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26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften
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26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
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