The first two days are intended for EvoKE members and those interested in any aspect of the Evoke project. The topics proposed for Evoke 2021 meeting are explained below. The third day or ‘Evolution Day’ will be open to the public at large. Short-talks, round-tables, workshops, hands-on activities, etc., will be organised by the evolutionary biologists and science communicators attending the meeting to apply the experiences and activities we have shared. EvoKE 2021 meeting will also include social and cultural activities and will bring us the opportunity to build trust and get to know people in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
The participation in the Evolution Day day is independent of the meeting which topics will be the following:
Tradeoffs between exploring or boosting creativity, and personal benefits and/or drawbacks of doing outreach to promote evolution as full-time scientists
Exists the notion that multidisciplinary is desirable because it can boost your creativity. Nevertheless, exposing oneself into a new field comes with its own dose of drawbacks by exposing one’s lack of specific knowledge and connections in the new field as well as interrupting the process of specialization. Since science can be considered part of culture, and should be highly intermingled with education. We would like to explore personal experiences of multidisciplinary approaches for science education and outreach specially in evolution.
2- Society, technology, and evolution
The importance of evolutionary biology in natural sciences is indisputable. There has been a, less well-known, long-term interplay between evolutionary theory and non-biological fields such as statistics, economics, engineering, and computer science. Besides its influence in biology and its contributions to basic science, evolutionary biology addresses a broad range of old and new PRACTICAL societal NEEDS. Ranging from epidemiological and biomedical applications to conservation strategies of biodiversity. In this symposium, we are looking for paradigmatic examples of both interactions between evolutionary thinking and these other scientific disciplines and recent social issues that have been solved (or will be solved) thanks to our knowledge about the principles of evolution.
3- The challenge of dealing between ideologies, interests, beliefs and evolutionary theory
Darwinism has been always a controversial topic with a huge direct impact on our perception of the natural world. Religion, philosophy, and politics have been also influenced by Darwin’s original ideas and their later integration with genetics. One of our goals is to discuss and generate activities related to the conflicts and dialogs between evolutionary genetics and these other aspects of human culture. We are particularly interested in: (1) the (false?) conflict between religion and evolution and (2) the recent emergence and application of genome-wide association studies to complex human traits such as intelligence, sexual orientation, educational attainment, or income which may be awakening old ghosts from the past. Other examples of conflicts from the Evoke community are welcomed. Here some open questions to illustrate possible debates:
- Should scientists justify the deducible political implications of their work as they justify the data collection and statistics?
- Are we effectively training scientists about ethics and the political implications of their work?
- What is the scientific value of reporting population and individual genetic differences behind controversial traits such as intelligence, educational attainment, or income?
- Are even these methods solid to confounders?
4- Challenges and opportunities to improve the scientific literacy on evolution through formal or informal education.
We want to create a discussion over effective educational practices, experiences and efforts to approach evolution in the formal education curricula and teaching.
A space to identify and remark attitudes, motivations and concerns about teaching evolution in schools in the different countries, and share experiences, methodologies and strategies to inspire and empower teaching evolution in formal and informal education environments. We would like also to start a debate over concerns such as:
- Where to define that silver line between science outreach, dissemination and education?
- Should scientists solve the deficiencies of the educational system?
- Doing science and outreach, is that possible? Science outreach with few resources and time
- Are you promoting YOUR research or teaching scientific concepts?
- How are we assessing the impact of understanding evolution in formal and informal education?
- Formal education and policy making
5- Education special sub topic: Evaluating literacy in evolution in the COVID-19 crisis
We would like to take as an example the reactions of the different societies in front of the pandemic of COVID-19, to analyze the educational background that the different societies showed last year could serve as an indicator of the low or high level of science education in each case.
- Does the pandemic has unveiled the urgent necessity for a basic science education in society?
- Do citizens at least understand basic concepts of virus, protein, immunity, mutation, etc…?
- How much does the population understand that a virus evolves and that this evolution happens to confront different immune systems, and the initial confrontation with animals that act as a host is crucial?
- What science education has done to stop fake news, conspiratorial theories, and manipulation intended towards the interest of some powers, political, economical, religious etc…?
We would like to identify and discuss educational opportunities, obstacles and weaknesses unraveled in this particular situation, for science literacy in evolution.
Do you have experience or expertise in one of the five topics listed? Would you like to share your expertise with the EvoKE community? Then apply to organize an activity at EvoKE2021!
Deadline for applications February 28th, 2021.