Tales of Tadeusz

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Hohenwald News: More Chicken Little

While scientific literacy has doubled over the past two decades, only 20 to 25 percent of Americans are "scientifically savvy and alert," he said in an interview. Most of the rest "don't have a clue." At a time when science permeates debates on everything from global warming to stem cell research, he said, people's inability to understand basic scientific concepts undermines their ability to take part in the democratic process. . . .

Dr. Miller's data reveal some yawning gaps in basic knowledge. American adults in general do not understand what molecules are (other than that they are really small). Fewer than a third can identify DNA as a key to heredity. Only about 10 percent know what radiation is. One adult American in five thinks the Sun revolves around the Earth, an idea science had abandoned by the 17th century.

Where to begin with this piece o' tripe?

Lets start with first base: Activists often produce press releases aimed at telling society that the sky is falling, and you should send money. Co-ink-eh-dentistry, the Yankee Perfesser, in his Chicago ivory tower, thinks we should spend more money on teacher's salaries to bring them up to the standards of industry.

Perhaps he does not understand that then industry would raise their salaries, and still leave teachers behind. Or perhaps he does realize just that. Because then the teachers could complain again. Its hard to say. Professors often know quite a lot about a very small topic. Eventually, the pay raises would top out. Probably end up driving much of our research facilities into out-sourcing.

Sigh. Basic economics might be outside his scope of understanding. And yes, understanding basic economics is more important to being a good citizen than knowledge of science.

...............I'll get back to this later, Mr. C wants to go wander the world, and blogs come after children.................


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