Some Monty Python to end the week [viz]

16 03 2007

This is one of my most favorite Monty Python sketches, centering around the randy sexual practices of molluscs;

It reminds me of how difficult it can be to explain science; if you tell it straight it’s can be downright dreadful. Accurate scientific description is great, but even when I’m reading up on a topic I actually like (i.e. amniote paleobiology), it’s hard to keep my focus. By the same token, simplifying things to create interest can betray the facts, metaphors and conversation unencumbered by scientific definitions easily leading to misinterpretation unless word choice is careful. The most common abuse in trying to communicate evolution effectively is making it seem that organisms choose to adapt, i.e. Viceroy butterflies chose to look like Monarchs to fool birds. We know this isn’t the case and the concept can easily be explained via natural selection, but it seems that it’s easier to use an inaccurate idea and move on that spend an extra two minutes on how such convergence of form might have come about.




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