The March for Science:  What Does Political Neutrality Mean?

I’ve been an activist for science and education for 13 years.  There are a lot of teachers and social activists in my family.  Now we have the March for Science coming up in April.  I see a lot of discussion about it online by people who look like they’re new to activism.  I see a lot of debate about the meaning of scientific political neutrality.  I also see a lot of people trying to adopt the March for Science into the Democratic Party or other political groups.  So I’ve got a few things to say about this that I hope will help focus people’s efforts in constructive directions instead of the movement bogging down in a bunch of internal disagreement like activist movements so often do.

Education is the act of making the student’s mental model of the world more closely correspond to reality.  The success of education is measured by the increase in the student’s ability to succeed at his or her goals.

These are not ideological statements.  These are the basic definitions of education that every certified teacher in the US learns in the course of their certification training. (more…)

From STEM to STEAM

Obstacles and Opportunities in Integrating Art with  Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

(Copyright Ezra Niesen)

I’ve worked in theatre for 28 years.  Theatre is the art of recreating the entire world, and variations on it, and making it believable to audiences.  It brings all other art forms together.  Film is the art of theatre in a different medium.

When I started reading about evolutionary psychology 12 years ago, I soon realized that the most important concepts of evolutionary psychology have been the founding principles of modern theater for about a century.  Constatin Stanislavski, a Russian actor and director, pioneered a psychological approach to theatre beginning in the 1880s, inspired in part by Charles Darwin’s work.  (more…)