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Evolution and Miss USA: Science Role Models Explain Why Evolutionary Biology Is So Important [Video]

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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Remember the Miss USA pageant earlier this year, when contestants were asked if evolution should be taught in schools? Only two of the them fully supported Darwin; thankfully, the pageant winner was one of them.

Recognizing that these young women often serve as role models for teens, and concerned about their lack of awareness of one of humanity’s greatest insights, a group of scientists and science bloggers banded together to make this video, “Let’s Talk about Evolution.” In it, scientists describe why evolution is important, how it has driven advances in science and medicine and why it belongs in the classroom. I learned of the video at last night’s Science Online NYC discussion, part of a monthly series organized by Ars Technica, Nature and Rockefeller University.

This six-minute video was produced by Matt Shipman, David Wescott, Jamie Vernon, Kevin Zelnio and Andrea Kuszewski—great job, folks!

Philip Yam About the Author: Philip Yam is the managing editor of He is the author of The Pathological Protein: Mad Cow, Chronic Wasting and Other Prion Diseases. Follow on Twitter @philipyam.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. Momus 3:33 pm 12/12/2011

    Good intentions, but a bad video.
    You expect anybody to sit and watch 6+ minutes of these one liners? Boring, repetitive, little information or learning. If you want the TV commercials approach, mimic the best, not the worst of TV.

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  2. 2. JOHNCWILLIS 2:55 pm 12/13/2011

    Great production. Keep up the wonderful effort!

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  3. 3. johnhei 2:01 am 12/14/2011

    Real verifiable science operates on “methodological” naturalism. And the METHOD used is the Empirical & Scientific METHOD. It’s a METHOD used of distinguishing verifiable scientific “fact” as distinct from mere theory, science fiction, scientism, mythology, and an “unverifiable” hypothesis, including Darwinism.

    The theory of evolution is based on unverifiable “inferences” and “assumption” regarding unobserved “past events”. And “interpretations” of past events can never be viewed under a microscopy, nor ever verified by the scientific METHOD, which involves experimentation and observation.

    Methodological naturalism is defined as “a self-imposed convention of science.” It is a “ground rule” that “requires scientists to seek explanations in the world around us based upon what we can observe, test, replicate, and verify.”

    The evolutionary Darwinian hypothesis does not meet this requirement, as past events were not observed, are not testable, cannot be replicated, and thus cannot be verified by the Empirical and Scientific Method.

    No scientist was there to observe past events, and past events cannot be repeated for verification. There is no way of knowing or scientifically establishing, whether evolution happened one way, and not another way, or even whether it happened AT ALL.

    The subjectively based presuppositions, conjecture, inferences, assumptions and ideologically loaded predictions of Darwinism can never be established as an empirical scientific “fact”. And thus Darwinism will forever remain an unverifiable hypothesis. An ideologically driven theory based on the unsustainable assumptions of philosophical naturalism, and materialism.

    This is precisely why even after 150 years there is no closure, and millions still regard evolutionary theory as highly suspect, myself include. It is the scientific method that provided the basis of modern science, and has brought humanity the great benefits of of the modern world, including medicine. You produce new technology and medicines by experimentation and observation, not by unverifiable Darwinian “inferences” regarding unobserved past events.

    And the support of inference and assumptions hypothetical theories relating to the past is not what drives science, even if the entire scientific community supports this ideology. Darwinism is founded on an “unverifiable” hypothesis, and every scientist that has ever existed, will not change this reality.

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  4. 4. johnhei 2:04 am 12/14/2011

    And that is why this video is pure hype.

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  5. 5. broekema 6:11 am 12/14/2011

    Who is your audience? Who are you trying to inspire, motivate, capture? “these young women often serve as role models for teens, and [...] a group of scientists and science bloggers [...]“? Scientists? Bloggers?

    As a communications & PR specialist, but trained as biologist, and as European I fail to see how you will ever thinking of winning this argument. Have Matt Shipman, David Wescott, Jamie Vernon, Kevin Zelnio and Andrea Kuszewski ever watched TV or Youtube movies that youngsters, teens, do watch? Fun? Excitement? Creepy? Wonders? Things doing Boom, or go Bump in the Night?

    What SciAm, Ars Technica, Nature and Rockefeller University really need is a specialist who translates the ‘essence of life science’ message into a ‘motivator of kids watching youtube’. Someone able to translate the answer into a question! (Yeah, think twice about that)

    That is exactly what fundi-zealots are doing with creationist arguments. That’s why they are successful and what makes it so hard to combat the misunderstandings. That’s why they fail in Europe and win in the US.

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