It’s amazing how the media shapes everyday life.
Pluto literally did not matter until something absurd happened and society went nuts and science was harassed for what it normally does:discover. Scientific discoveries happen everyday and normally, we are not emotionally connected to these discoveries and therefore have no reaction to these things. For some reason, americans had a deep connection to pluto and the media blew up with reactions from fellow citizens’s reaction to Pluto’s elimination as a planet. This connects to the issue that is very relevant: scientific illiteracy. Scientific Illiteracy in today’s world effects many things—the basic knowledge of scientific facts is rarely ever present in everyday society. In class when we took the small quiz on basic scientific facts, I found it extremely challenging to conjure up answers to many of these questions that were absolutely basic! And i’m right out of High School, much fresher than a good majority of the people in society that are taking this test and shaping the statistic that 80% of Americans cannot read the scientific section of the New York Times
the way that scientific illiteracy is portrayed in the media is often through surveys, and Q&A’s. I think that it’s super easy to blame the problem of scientific illiteracy on the school system but I think that’s where the blame should be put because that’s their job. We are legally required to go to school as kids until a certain age, during that time science should be more apparent in that segment of our education if we expect to see better survey results. If a citizen chooses to drop out of high school or not attend a higher education program, the blame cannot be placed on education but on the citizen’s interest, or lack thereof, in science and its application in daily life. So, why can I solve an extensive chemistry problem, but cannot tell you why the earth has seasons or time changes right off the top of my head? Perhaps it’s my lack of memory, but in reality, what normal human brain can pick through the layers and years of scientific knowledge and peel its way back to the third or fourth grade? I tend to only remember what i’ve been taught in within a two-year span and then its like everything else just falls into a black abyss. Survey results are alarming not because american society is dumb or not capable of understanding science and and applying current knowledge to surveys, but its that the knowledge need for current surveys is not current, its buried under years and years of physics, complex equations, calculus and so on. Basic information that the media uses in the surveys to develop stats on scientific illiteracy has been covered year by year with more complex information until the american taking the survey cannot dig through all of the knowledge in their head and pull out whats needed to take a basic survey.
Who’s fault is this? I don’t think that anyone’s at fault because complex knowledge shouldn’t be an issue, and its not ever been an issue, that is until complex scientific information cannot aid to the statistic of scientific illiteracy.
Photo: Math scene in “The Little Prince”–Netflix Original