It’s Time to Fix Evolution’s Public Relations Problem


Susan Hanisch and Dustin Eirdosh: Evolution has a public relations problem. By that, we do not so much mean the well-known problem of evolution acceptance on religious grounds — a problem that the evolution education community has been grappling with for decades and which is still a major focus of much research and discourse. Instead, we refer to another evolution acceptance problem, one which includes not only religious but secular and scientific communities alike. This is the problem of accepting the relevance of evolutionary theory for understanding the human condition. This acceptance problem comes both in moralistic and scientific varieties. Some deny the relevance of evolutionary theory on the grounds that it implies or promotes an immoral social code, others deny the relevance on the grounds that evolutionary theory is not capable or helpful in explaining the complexities of our species. We argue here that both strains of denial are rooted in deeply held misconceptions about the current state of evolutionary anthropology, and that current practices in evolution education are not adequate to address the chronic public relations problem plaguing our field.


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