Quizzing Gainesville

I gave a talk about Going Ape to the Humanist Society of Gainesville last night. It was definitely worth the two hour drive up there as the crowd of about 35 people was eager to hear all about Florida’s battles over the teaching of evolution through the years up to and including today. I love sharing my research with others. No one I’ve ever talked with, including last night, knows about all the times teaching evolution has been an issue in the Sunshine State. The folks in Gainesville were amazed and expressed their appreciation for the information I presented them.

I went with a new format for my talk. Instead of my giving a lecture, I did an audience participation quiz. We went through 15 multiple choice questions based on three main topics: legislators vs. evolution, governors vs. evolution and school boards vs. evolution. I think everyone enjoyed being a part of the presentation. I had them raise their hands to show which answers they thought were the correct ones. Then I gave the answer and told them the related background information.

Every time I’ve given a talk about Going Ape someone asks my opinion on what the eventual end result of the controversy will be, and last night was no exception. Do I think the end is in sight for this long running battle? No, I don’t. I always tell the audience that creationism is evolving. That gets a laugh but it’s true. Every time creationists are defeated they come back with a new twist on their arguments. That’s been true for the past 90 years here in Florida and it will be true for many years to come.

My sincere thanks to the Humanist Society for inviting me. I enjoyed my visit.

I also took advantage of the road trip to visit the Florida Museum of Natural History. It was my third visit, I think. I always enjoy the butterfly rainforest and I got to see the visiting exhibit “A T. Rex Named Sue.” And a road trip bonus was cool roadside dinosaurs! Here are some pictures of the trip: