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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Scientific Literacy

Alice Bell has written an interesting piece entitled The Myth of Scientific Literacy. I think it is quite interesting, and touches on some of the issues brought up in Advice and Dissent, the main difference being that Advice and Dissent concentrated solely on the relationship between science and politics while Bell concentrates on the relationship between science and the population as a whole. The two are, of course, coupled in a representational democracy. I would like to expound more on the topic, but I actually have a fair bit of work to get done at the moment. Therefore, I thought I would bring up Bell's post for now, and hopefully get some further analysis of it done in the next few days.


Tanya said...

She raises some very good points. I think she is right. I think public understanding of science will only increase if the scientific community makes the effort to show why understanding some basic science is important. But, I think if everyone achieved a high school-level understanding of science (though, making all the sciences mandatory until grade 11 or 12 - because graduating from high school and not knowing what's bigger, DNA or an atom, as a friend of mine once asked, is abysmal), it would be an amazing achievement. Other than that, I think promoting (or teaching, not sure what the right word is) skepticism and critical thinking in general are way more important than promoting "science" (what is it anyway?). Though how do you teach critical thinking, and how do you promote skepticism without preaching to the choir? But anyway, that's exactly why I am interested in going into something like science policy or science education (on a national/provincial level maybe). Thanks for the link to the post :)