This past week in class, we have been learning about Science vs. Society, and Scientific Literacy. We’ve been studying how society perceives themselves as scientifically literate. To quote the famous, astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson, “No one is dumb who is curious. The people who don’t ask questions remain clueless throughout their lives.” I truly find myself favoring this quote because I feel that this speaks to the American society. Although when you pick up a scientific magazine while waiting for the dentist let’s say, have you ever felt that what you are reading is almost incomprehensible, or the article is benign to your knowledge?
In the world of 2016, we have a lot of scientific and environmental issues arises and progressively getting worse. Global warming, climate change, these are the issues we should be facing to work as a society to fix. Though most Americans feel that these aren’t a problem, they’re just hoaxes. We’re almost coming to a bridged gap of generations where people still hold onto their core traditional beliefs from the 50’s, 60’s and some 70’s that believe everything is fine, we just need to recycle or keep our water cleaner. Even today there are people who will argue till they are blue in the face that they have seen the “facts and data” and that everything is fine.
This is where I feel what we have been learning is by far the most important topic this year. Bridging this gap between the scientific population and modern society’s population. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started a debate or just an educated discussion on global warming or our planet and I’ve been asked to, “dumb it down” or my favorite, “can you say that again, but in English?” Scientists seemed to be walled apart from society as we learned and this can be hurtful. Of course not everyone can be on the same level, or caught up with current events. Though when we drop barriers and can find ways to communicate and spread the information between one another, that’s when we can start doing some good.
I’ve also learned that depending on who is preaching the information makes all the difference. For instance, I find it surprising that some people don’t know who Neil Degrasse Tyson is but they know instantly, who Bill Nye the science guy is. One is an actual astrophysicist who declared Pluto was not a planet, while the other is a science educator, who did science experiments for a television show. Another example, which just happened a couple of days ago is Leonardo DiCaprio. Popular with society as a celebrity, well known actor, famous for multiple Oscar nominations and films. But after he won his first Oscar and thanked his staff and friends, he made a very educated speech. He took the time to let everyone know that climate change is real and that we need to act now to save our planet. Now here is a man who is not a science educator or astrophysicist, but an actor. Millions of people watch the Oscar’s every year and to think how many people he just jump started into googling global warming, or even asking their friends what they know is brilliant.