Abstracts (first author)
The mismatch between education and research on Evolutionary Biology in Spain
Since the Renaissance, cultural traditions, moral prejudices and social structure have hindered the development of modern science in Spain, with a minor burst during the 18th c. Political instability during second half of the 19th c. was also coincident with the development of Darwinian ideas, which had little impact on the Spanish cultivated class, with some noteworthy exceptions. This situation spanned most of the 20th c. until the economical burst of the 60’s, when science became a pursuit of increasing interest for Spanish leaders. With the advent of democracy in the late 70’s and early 80’s scientific achievements became a prominent goal progressively assumed by a rapidly growing middle class and normalized research programs and procedures were established. As a result, Spain currently ranks ninth in the world in the amount of relevant scientific production. Biology has shown a paradigmatic progress, and evolutionary biology has been one of its fastest growing fields. In contrast, teaching of evolution at different educational levels, from secondary schools to postgraduate programs, has been surprisingly neglected. Thus, evolutionary biology shows a mismatch between teaching ad research that deserves an explanation. Here we present statistics that document the extent of the mismatch. By comparing with other countries and other science fields, we examine what the possible causes might be. We propose that evolutionary-like processes such as founder effects and drift due to initial low number of practitioners, or selective processes against individuals in non-organized groups, might explain this distortion. Mirroring evolutionary processes, social processes such as those involving a scientific community have some delay in showing the consequences, which we aim to foresee in the hope of preventing them.