Evolution and the Media: Caveat Lector!

By Carl Zimmer | May 10, 2010 3:29 pm

How should teachers use the media to teach students about evolution? Carefully! That’s my advice in a paper I was asked to write for the journal Evolution: Education and Outreach, where I take a look at the history of journalists writing about evolution.

I start way back, at the beginning:

Evolution has been news from the start. On March 28, 1860, The New York Times ran a massive article on a newly published book called On the Origin of Species (Anonymous 1860). The article explained how the dominant explanation for life’s staggering diversity was the independent creation of every species on Earth. “Meanwhile,” the anonymous author wrote, “Mr. DARWIN, as the fruit of a quarter of a century of patient observation and experiment, throws out, in a book whose title has by this time become familiar to the reading public, a series of arguments and inferences so revolutionary as, if established, to necessitate a radical reconstruction of the fundamental doctrines of natural history.”

If you want to read the rest of that 1860 article, you can find it here. And if you want to read the rest of my paper, check out the pdf I’ve posted over at my web site.


Comments (1)

  1. zackoz

    A very informative paper, Carl.

    I liked the way you conveyed the sheer excitement of writing about – and knowing about – all the science that is happening now, while cautioning readers not to get carried away by clever publicity-hunting and hype-merchants.

    This is not an easy balance to find.


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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.


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