Baby Blues and scientific literacy

Jim Taylor 1_iron at
Mon Feb 7 15:15:03 EST 2000

Hey, Martha!

Lighten up; it's just a comic strip, albiet a great one. And what with the
kids and the studying and all, how did you find time to read the comics?

Jim Taylor
----- Original Message -----
From: "Martha V. Lutz & Charles T. Lutz" <lutzrun at AVALON.NET>
To: <LEPS-L at>
Sent: Monday, February 07, 2000 12:44 PM
Subject: Baby Blues and scientific literacy

> Hello all:
> HELP!!!
> Monday 7 February 2000 . . . and Baby Blues comic strip has just struck
> 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 . . .
> 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
> 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
> science.
> 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
> 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
> 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.
> first!

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