It's really no secret I am a firm advocate for the understanding of the scientific process of evolution.  I recently took over ownership (again) of the Cafemom group Evolution, and will continue to use it to help those interested understand the concepts of evolution.  I hope people always see my participation in the subject as one of educational pursuit and never mockery of those who do not understand or choose not to "believe".

I certainly can't say that about every scientist you will ever see "educating" poeple on the subject.  One such group of scientists is the Florida Citizens for Science.  This group runs a Stick Science Contest that leaves ALOT to be desired in terms of educational quality.

They say they run this contest in order to help the public understand the meaning of science terms such as the word "theory" and how it pertains to evolution.   Since many scientists are horrible artists, encouraging the use of stick figures makes it easier for scientists to get the point across without having to worry about artistic abilities.  While they say the contest is to enhance the public understanding, the cartoons really come across (to me) more sarcastic than educational, and the use of stick figures actually makes then appear 'dumbed down' in such a way it enhances the mockery.  This Florida group is particularly passionate about this topic due to recent anti-evolution legislature in Florida's educational system.  My personal opinion is that promoting cartoons such as these hurts their credibility.  Really, the science is so strong, it can stand on its own.

When I first heard about this contest I was excited to see what they would have for cartoons, but seeing the entries left me pretty disappointed in their (lack of) educational quality.  So a post that I thought would display how scientists could show their humor while educating others disappeared before my eyes as I wrote it. 

You can view the top ten entries here (click on each image for a larger version that is read-able).  I know some of you will enjoy the cartoons; everyone has their own sense of what is funny.  But their claims for educating the public don't hold up.

For real educational information about the process of evolution, check out my past posts:  The Basics of Evolution, continued in part two, and Evidence for and against evolution.  I didn't draw any cartoons for those posts, but maybe I'll make some in the future.



AKA sunmoonstars

The Science Spot





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Jun. 29, 2009 at 5:22 PM

OK, I will admit to loving the eye/almond one. But, that was just a joke and wasn't actually trying to say anything about science. The others were just, well, nothing. They didn't say anything. They didn't try to teach anything. They certainly would have no sway over someone who didn't already believe everything that they were saying. They're more like in jokes.

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Jun. 29, 2009 at 11:59 PM

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Jun. 30, 2009 at 6:15 AM

I was wondering if stickmom would see this post!

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Jun. 30, 2009 at 4:33 PM

OK, so I shared the eye comic with David, and he detected the same undertones that you did. He found it funny, but at the same time he was wondering whether this was a pro-evolution or an anti-evolution comment, because people use the eye's complexity as an example for both points of view.

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Jun. 30, 2009 at 9:15 PM

Need to look at this later when brain is better functioning.  LOL

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Jul. 2, 2009 at 11:25 AM

Hmmm...I didn't really find them offensive, but they weren't completely educational either. I did like the Newton/gravity one, though.

I think they speak much more to the frustration that people feel toward those who don't understand evolution than anything else.

I agree that sarcasm won't help at all. People aren't going to listen if they feel that they are being made fun of. That you noticed this makes you a much better communicator of science.

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