Essays on Science and SocietySPORE* Series Winner

Science 101: Building the Foundations for Real Understanding

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Science  24 Dec 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6012, pp. 1764-1765
DOI: 10.1126/science.1186994

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Summary

It's not just about evolution anymore. Growing anti-science sentiment in the United States now infuses public discourse on conservation, vaccination, distribution of research funds, and climate change (1). Low rates of scientific literacy (2) exacerbate the problem. Although the public recognizes its indebtedness to the products of scientific knowledge, few understand much about the nature of that knowledge or the processes that generated it (3). Without a basic understanding of how science works, the public is vulnerable to antiscience propaganda, which engenders distrust of science when it comes to social issues, consumer choices, and policy decisions.