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Published on Mar 30, 2013
In just 80 seconds, Richard Dawkins, then Oxford Professor of Public Understanding of Science, arrogantly displayed his poor understanding of modern informal science education and communication.
Wider audiences than ever before are now able to interact informally with real scientific phenomena and be inspired to think scientifically in their everyday lives. Richard Dawkins apparently dismisses all such projects as 'fun' with no educational value.
Filmed in November 2007 at the New York Academy of Sciences at a Center for Inquiry conference entitled 'Secular Society and its Enemies', Dawkins airily dismissed the educational benefits of the San Francisco Exploratorium, the At-Bristol science centre and my own 23-years-old Exploding Custard science show, which he freely admits he hasn't seen.
Here is a movie of my Exploding Custard show. http://youtu.be/lBab47LOHsU Its main themes are the importance of the sense of wonder, the mystery of science, the pleasure of speculative thinking, the importance of independent thinking and a more accessible definition of science than merely 'the work of professional scientists'.
Exploding Custard also has a sister-show called Blown-up Biology. Its main theme is a sense of awe and wonder at the complexity of life. Projecting real-time video images of living organisms under a microscope, it is one of the extremely few demo-based science shows about evolution. You can see it here http://youtu.be/Amvqqh7WIdY
Of course, the educational merits of the San Francisco Exploratorium require no defence. This was the most influential progenitor of the worldwide interactive science centre movement, responsible for inspiring utterly vast numbers of people with a life-changing love of science.