Baby Blues and scientific literacy

Martha V. Lutz & Charles T. Lutz lutzrun at
Mon Feb 7 12:44:48 EST 2000

Hello all:


Monday 7 February 2000 . . . and Baby Blues comic strip has just struck yet
another blow for scienctific illiteracy!  I know, I know . . . it seems
like such a small thing.  For want of a nail, and all that, though . . . so
here goes:

Please write me if you think the author of the strip should be told to
CHECK FACTS and create humor using accurate information, rather than sloppy
misinformation. I will pass your words on to a local reporter who is
interested in this subject.

Write or call your local paper, radio station, and other mass media and
suggest that they deliver the same message:  that authors should check
their facts before they publish.  Take a few minutes to help spread this
concept, and maybe people will finally get the idea that NOT everything
they hear, read, or see from the mass media reflects current thinking in

Does this sound extreme, all based on one wee error in a comic strip?
Perhaps . . . but just think of the note we all saw recently about the NPR
radio show which delivered a National message that because of genetically
altered corn, Monarchs may suffer a mutation that leaves them with only
four legs.  Now imagine a generation of school children who read that
caterpillars make cocoons and come out (a week later) as butterflies, and
then picture their distress when THEIR caterpillars are only able to spin a
slender thread and then lean back against it and transform into something
that looks like petrified bird poop.

My credentials?  Trying to finish my dissertation for a Ph.D. in Science
Education while starting coursework for a Ph.D. in entomology; B.S. in
entomology from Cornell University; M.S. (research) in botany from St.
Louis University, where I worked for Dr. Peter Raven; research and much
experience in learning theory and scientific literacy.

Trust me on this:  if we can head off misconceptions NOW, and promote
logical 'scientific' thinking (i.e. conclusions drawn from evidence), the
next generation will be significantly more scientifically literate than the
current generation!

In Stride,
Martha Rosett Lutz

lutzrun at

P.S.  Please overlook any weird typos; I am time-stressed while writing
this and don't have the luxury of extensive proofreading; four children
will be coming home in three hours and I need to do A LOT of ento. studying

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