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How do we fix it?

Do most of you guys/gals just turn a blind eye to the nonsense or is it just something you accept and you "live and let live"?
 

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How do we fix it?

Do most of you guys/gals just turn a blind eye to the nonsense or is it just something you accept and you "live and let live"?
Takin a guess... I would say the best cure for science illiteracy would be to teach scientists to read. Education can be a good thing. It can also be a pain in the backside, like when people get too much of it, without the wisdom to apply it properly. There is little in this world more annoying than an overeducated fool. :)
 

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How do we fix it?

Do most of you guys/gals just turn a blind eye to the nonsense or is it just something you accept and you "live and let live"?
I think there is room for a wide range of beliefs. My in-laws are very conservative and subscribe to the 6,000 year old earth idea. Both are intelligent people who just process information differently than I do. More power to them! They brought me Ken Ham's writings on the subject and I read them, and probably we all will go to the Creation Museum sometime, of which they are enthusiastic supporters. Though it is unlikely I will be converted to their viewpoint, I am glad they have found a framework that gives them some workable perspective on life. Besides, I have enough internal doubt and inconsistency to keep me off my high horse when dealing with others who have found a belief system that works for them.

The fact is, I like different ideas. The world would be pretty boring if we all thought the same.
 

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How do we fix it?

Do most of you guys/gals just turn a blind eye to the nonsense or is it just something you accept and you "live and let live"?
Not quite understanding who you deem illiterate? Is it those that don't support a theory or hypothesis you support? Are we back to the dark ages where those that questioned were branded hereitics and disposed of?
 

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I calls em like I sees em
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Most people understand more science than they are able to articulate. They might not be fluent in the correct terminology, but they intuitively grasp the principles.
 

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How do we fix it?

Do most of you guys/gals just turn a blind eye to the nonsense or is it just something you accept and you "live and let live"?
Just the other day I was 'arguing' with my SO about when "life" first appeared on this planet. His beliefs are Bibical. Yet, we had just finished a tour of a cave where we had been shown fossils that were 'x-millions' of years old. That sea creature's imprint in the stone was right there in front of us, some sort of ancient precursor to a squid. The evidence was there for us to see and nothing that could be faked, so far underground, in Minnesota of all places.

I cannot fathom how someone can refute how old the earth is, but he does and it drives me batty. I could sit there and debate until I'm blue in the face, but this is only one of many things we agree to disagree on. (still, I love to bait him just to get a rise out of him). :nana:

How do we fix it? We don't. If we were all the same, how boring that would be. We each bring something different to the table and it's our differences that make this life interesting..just my 2C. And I will be the first to admit that my mind can and has been changed on various topics at different times in my life.
 

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We need to start by teaching the kids. I'm talking hard science -- chemistry, physics -- not just the cute stuff like growing some marigolds in a Dixie cup or keep a turtle as a class pet.

I'm going to be politically-incorrect here and say that part of the problem is that most teachers, especially at the elementary level, are women, and I would guess that science (and math) generally AREN'T their favorite subjects to present.

*dons flameproof undies*
 

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The first step is to recognize that we are ALL - without exception - are "scientifically illiterate" in some way. Science is an imperfect understanding of reality based upon models. Those models are arrived at by theory, testing, and general consensus. The common error is to think that because we have built upon the works of others and discarded erroneous theories, we now have penultimate knowledge. We do not.

Fred Hoyle, famous astronomer, stuck to the steady state version of the universe in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Newton's "laws" may not hold on a quantum level. Scientific opinion changes.

Second, science is not an object or even any particular theory. It is a METHOD of exploration designed to provide a more accurate understanding of the physical universe and various parts of it. When someone states "this is scientific fact" they are in actuality stating that the statement complies with current scientific models, with a large (often 99.999) percentage of certainty.

The current state of science is not perfect, just as doctors who dismissed germ theory were not perfect. The point of science is to be closer to a perfect understanding of the universe than by guessing, peer pressure, or apocryphal stories. It does so through what is called "scientific rigor."

My personal distrust of "man made global climate change" is that the scientific rigor of the theories and tests behind it are inconsistent and often flawed. From what I have observed, peer pressure and funding have overwhelmed any scientific rigor, and at this point the greater community is not thinking but taking the headlines as a matter of faith. That is a religion of climate change, not science.


To the extent that a person has an internal view of reality that is inconsistent with the actual reality outside of their body, they are at a disadvantage. The gambler who "knows" he can beat the odds consistently will eventually lose. The Jehovah's Witnesses that repeatedly miscalculated the second coming have lost credibility. The Islamist who claimed people live on Mars because of his interpretation of the Qur'an has been discounted by all but a tiny minority.

When an inconsistency between external and internal reality interferes with day-to-day life, it is considered pathological. When a person has to have every single thing proven (Nihilism) and that interferes with day-to-day life, it is also considered pathological. When a religion is outside of the mainstream and has beliefs inconsistent with both external reality and more common religions, it is considered to be a cult and pathological.

When I was working as a district manager, we had a manager of a busy location who was quite competent. In conversation with her one evening, she intimated that her tv talked to her - when it was off. Having worked in a hospital, I was a little startled at her comment, but took it in stride. I let the director of operations know about it the next day. He interviewed her, got the same response, and then we stopped and considered. Her oddity did not directly affect her competence at her job, and the effect of dismissing her would do hardship to the company and her both, so we continued on as normal.

If you look at the various religions of the world, which have significant differences, the very best a person can say, religious or not, is that AT LEAST 2/3 of the world believes in a fantasy or is mentally deranged. That says a lot about humanity in general.

In the past, the Spanish Inquisition and forced conversions or executions took care of that troubling problem on a local level. Frankly, the results were pretty rotten all around, with heavy-handed rulers both in government and religion.

What religion does do, outside of dogma, is provide moral and spiritual guidance, as well as community. The codes of morality taught by the great teachers have value beyond the confines of any faith. The simple command of "don't kill other people", no matter what the reason, is far better than the alternative. Large groups of people living within the restrictions of their tenets of faith allow for leadership to work that isn't constantly fighting internecine battles and no-holds-barred, dog-eat-dog competition.

Most people have little or no need of understanding the more esoteric points of science (or of religion, for that matter). Some don't have the mental capacity even if they did want to. What they do need is moral and spiritual guidance that will turn them away from self-destruction or the destruction of others. If the model used by a religion is outdated and aimed at an uneducated audience of fourth century peasants, that does not negate the greater moral concepts contained within it, except through stridency and misinterpretation.

The wisdom story of the blind men and the elephant explains that we are all limited in our perceptions to something that is much larger and more powerful than any individual. We are imperfect beings on an imperfect globe.
 

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We need to start by teaching the kids. I'm talking hard science -- chemistry, physics -- not just the cute stuff like growing some marigolds in a Dixie cup or keep a turtle as a class pet.

I'm going to be politically-incorrect here and say that part of the problem is that most teachers, especially at the elementary level, are women, and I would guess that science (and math) generally AREN'T their favorite subjects to present.

*dons flameproof undies*
You got a spare pair cause I totally agree.
 
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Jax-mom, I've been in caves where they have said the stalactites take x-thousand years to grow one inch only to turn a corner and see stalactites several inches long on a very modern metal railing. Kind of makes me wonder how long it really took for those fossils to change from living tissue to stone.
 

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Stalagmites and stalagmites have growth rates that vary according to the conditions they are in. Some can grow very quickly, some not as much. I'm talking fossils. But my original point is still that he and I can agree to disagree. And we do. :)
 

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Jax-mom, I've been in caves where they have said the stalactites take x-thousand years to grow one inch only to turn a corner and see stalactites several inches long on a very modern metal railing. Kind of makes me wonder how long it really took for those fossils to change from living tissue to stone.
How long does it take for dirt to turn into stone? I have the top of a crawdad hole that is now stone! Kinda looks like a donut at first glance, but upon a closer look you can see the little layers where a crawdad built it up one tail swat at a time. I have often wondered how it came to be stone now instead of just dissolving with time. :shrug:
 

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There's no interest in science literacy in this country. I don't expect that to change. The bulk of our engineers and scientists, including medical talent, will come from China and India. Innovation will come from this same areas, so economic power will shift to overseas.

I don't know why the religious right wants this, but when 2/3rds of the country would reject a scientific principle that conflicts with their religion there's no mistaking the message.

This is our future.
 

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We need to start by teaching the kids. I'm talking hard science -- chemistry, physics -- not just the cute stuff like growing some marigolds in a Dixie cup or keep a turtle as a class pet.

I'm going to be politically-incorrect here and say that part of the problem is that most teachers, especially at the elementary level, are women, and I would guess that science (and math) generally AREN'T their favorite subjects to present.

*dons flameproof undies*
Teachers spend much of their time in school in education classes. So they know how to teach but are way shy on what to teach. I can remember being a lab assistant in such classes as "physical science" and "earth science" , which were sort of junior high level homogonized science entertainment. They were classes filled with college athletes and education majors getting their science requirement filled.

It's hard being a teacher who is not a specialized high school instructor. They have to know a little bit about everything. But colleges could do better by cutting way back on teaching classes and increase real science courses for teachers. Then replace the lost teaching theory classes (not all but many) with teaching mentoring of real science classes.

The way current best science changes makes it hard to keep up but, if teachers were better grounded in empirical sciences, they could understand the changes a lot more easily. And would have the tools to teach various science subjects without fear. Few can get detailed theoretical physics in the time allowed but all can light a bunsen burner.

Right now, too much that teachers dispense as certainty in science is really just the latest permutation but they don't know how to teach flexibility in science because they don't learn the tools that create constant change and learn to live with it as a good thing.
 
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