How to make ‘evolution’ a universally accepted model?
Image credit: Alexas_photos/pixabay
Subash ChapagainMay 08, 2022
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How do we inspire even the most reluctant groups of people to try and understand the theory of evolution?
The evolutionary theory is the most scientifically validated model of biology, and hence the world around us. The lack of understanding of the concept of evolution can be associated with many social effects like vaccine denial, racism, religious bigotry and clashes. Hence, there is a need to make this theory more widespread and accepted.
A lot of societies are still reluctant to accept the values established by modern scientific thinking. In fundamental terms, evolutionary theory directly clashes with the notion of ‘intelligent designer’, a literal ‘god’ or ‘supernatural’ phenomenon. Many communities that are traditional and religious find a hard time understanding evolution due to obvious social and psychological conditioning. In some instances, such societies/communities can take a significant form and be a part of events of concern to the well being of a larger population. One classic case of such effects is Vaccine denialism.
Statistically speaking, vaccines are one of the best medical interventions created by humankind. There is overwhelming evidence that vaccines do really work and the benefits of getting vaccinated outweigh the costs at the population level. However, there is a hesitancy against vaccines in many orthodox communities. One of the strongest reasons for this hesitancy comes from the collective ignorance of basic science, biology and the modus operandi of the world.
One (of many) such examples was most recently seen in the Netherlands in 2013. If you see the picture below, the red map represents the areas with measles outbreaks (and measles had long been thought to be eradicated) and the right one represents the areas with vaccine coverage. Interestingly, the areas with the least vaccine coverage were the areas where the orthodox protestant community shared the largest portion of the population .
If we can make the theory of evolution more palatable and easier to understand, probably we can penetrate the fundamental biases of such communities/groups who would otherwise participate affirmatively in matters of social and public health safety. Not just for vaccines, better education of evolutionary theory can tackle the evils of religious fundamentalism and oppression and crimes related to religion.
Hence, it is a challenge to make the evolutionary theory more popular among a much wider population. What could be the best ways to approach this challenge? Thinking beyond the regular educational system, we need more creative and practical ways to make people understand evolution not just as a concept but as a process that affects our day to life. What could some ideas in this direction look like?