About Rationally Speaking
Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Americans' understanding of science (not good)
* Only 20-25% of Americans are scientifically savvy.
* The only thing most American adults understand about molecules is that they are small.
* Less than a third know that DNA is the hereditary material.
* 10% know what radiation is.
* An astounding 1/5th think that the Sun revolves around the earth!
Why? Well, Miller's explanations aren't that surprising, if anything what's surprising is that we are still not doing much about it. Miller points out that the country is increasingly divided in two groups: those that know and those that don't, and the two groups mirror the similarly increasing economic divide between those that have and those that don't.
On the one hand, this country has some of the brightest minds on the planet; but we've also got some of the dumbest people on earth. Lack of education, Miller says, is very well correlated with income and type of job. As he puts it, people who hold fundamentalist views rejecting science "work in jobs that are evaporating fast with competition around the world."
He also adds that whenever he makes these comments in public he gets mail from people who say they'll be praying for him...