Science for life

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Science  31 Mar 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6332, pp. 1353
DOI: 10.1126/science.aan2924

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The recent election cycle has made it abundantly clear to most scientists that a large fraction of adults in the United States are surprisingly susceptible to illogical arguments designed to fool them. Research suggests that a great many people assess evidence not as scientists are trained to do, but rather in an emotion-biased manner that is strongly influenced by the beliefs of their cultural cohort. The increasing dominance of social media reinforces this natural human tendency. The consequences are frightening for those who believe that, for humanity to prosper, both personal and community decisions must be based on the best science. This conclusion demands a major rethinking of the goals and methods of science education at all levels—from kindergarten through college.