The Issue Of Scientific Illiteracy In The United States

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Rachel Bohnenberger
Professor Van Doorn
ENVS 150-002
26 January 2015
Critique One
In the interview with journalist Chris Mooney, conducted by Jeff Young, the main subject is the issue of scientific illiteracy in the United States. This discussion is brought about by a Pew Research Center poll that found a majority of Americans do not believe in evolution, do not think climate change is being caused by humans, and do not know that an electron is smaller than an atom.1 Jeff Young and Chris Mooney discuss Mooney’s book entitled Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our Future and Mooney’s opinion on why the relationship between scientists and the general public is growing apart. They begin the conversation attempting to explain the reasoning behind the growing gap between scientists and the general public. Mooney points out that one of the main causes is the bad coverage of scientific advancements by the media and how a person’s political party may have an influence on their opinion about climate change. He mentions how a majority of Republicans, no matter how educated they may be, have a higher chance of believing climate change is not human-induced and a majority of Democrats, no matter how little education they may have, have a higher chance of believing that climate change is being caused by humans. Mooney and Young also discuss how the media and general public may not be the only ones at fault for the misunderstanding and growing gap away from scientists. They partly put the blame on scientists for not being able to explain everything in terms that lay people will understand and since people cannot understand what science is saying, they do not believe it. A solution that is discussed is the rap song that was written about the Hadron Collider. They talk about how the general public gained a bit more understanding about what is going on with the collider because they listened to the rap and were able to understand it. Mooney...
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