I read the following, and I wanted to quote it here. It echoes my sentiments on the widespread scientific illiteracy and anti-intellectualism in the country.
I'm astonished at the number of people who lack even a basic understanding of scientific concepts. Heck, I once met a student who discussed his crackpot theory about how gravity is just a form of electromagnetism. He didn't have any evidence for his claim -- just conjecture.
To make matters worse, his teacher proudly turned to me and said, "So, aren't you impressed with my student"? I said, "No. He has no clue what he's talking about. He doesn't understand that science relies on empirical evidence, not conjecture." Silently, I told myself, "And neither should you, ma'am. You're a science teacher. You should know better."
From "Scientific Ignorance Dooms Democracy
Increasingly hi-tech nations need informed citizens, making scientific literacy a human right and scientific illiteracy a disability "
By George Dvorsky
12/22/2003 9:58 AM
We all need to know about science. Without this knowledge we are powerless, forced to live in a fog about how things work. Without it, we are utterly dependent on others to form our opinion. Without it, we cannot properly participate in society as informed, critical and responsibly opinioned citizens. Moreover, in today's hi-tech information age world, democracy cannot work without a scientifically literate society.
Most of those who live in the West, particularly North Americans, are guilty of an anti-intellectual bias. Scientists are supposed to be nerds, right? And who wants to be a nerd? This sentiment, combined with a general suspicion of science and the predominance of aggressive theological and pseudoscientific memes, has resulted in much of the scientific illiteracy that now pervades our society.
It doesn't help that the educational system is in shambles and without focus, and that fatuous postmodernism and its insistence that nothing can truly be known now dominates many disciplines at most universities. Consequently, too many people wear their ignorance like a badge of honor, as if being clueless about science is something to be proud of.
Well, there's nothing noble about ignorance, and if anything scientific illiteracy should be considered downright embarrassing. A 2001 poll conducted by the National Science Foundation in the US revealed the pervasiveness of the problem. Results showed that only 48% of Americans knew that the earliest humans did not live at the same time as the dinosaurs, and that only 22% could properly define a molecule. The survey also showed that only 45% knew what DNA was and that lasers don't work by focusing sound waves, and that 48% knew that electrons were smaller than atoms.