According to national polls, most Americans don’t accept evolution. Even those who do accept the theory don’t understand it. This is the case despite dozens of beautiful documentaries and huge investments in informal education.
Why the disconnect? We think there are two main problems. First, the existing documentaries are not designed to take full advantage of what we know about how people learn. Second, they do not make full use of modern documentary techniques.
We are in the process of editing a series of short, two to three minute documentary clips that address both of these issues, using hand-held camera work to make the camera a tool of scientific discovery. Our clips will focus on teaching key evolutionary concepts like adaptation, variation, and selection.
We also plan to test these clips’ teaching effectiveness with members of the public and to use their responses to make the clips better. We aim to use the same process to make longer and more ambitious films, with the ultimate goal of improving the scientific literacy of the American public.