Science Literacy Quotes (5 quotes)
A good many times I have been present at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity at the illiteracy of scientists. Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is about the scientific equivalent of: Have you read a work of Shakespeare's?
Ive been very involved in science literacy because its critically important in our world today. As a public, were asked to vote on issues, were asked to accept explanations, were asked to figure out what to do with our own health care, and you cant do that unless you have some level of science literacy. Science literacy isnt about figuring out how to solve equations like E=MC². Rather, its about being able to read an article in the newspaper about the environment, about health care and figuring out how to vote on it. Its about being able to prepare nutritious meals. Its about being able to think your way through the day.
Not enough of our society is trained how to understand and interpret quantitative information. This activity is a centerpiece of science literacy to which we should all strivethe future health, wealth, and security of our democracy depend on it. Until that is achieved, we are at risk of making under-informed decisions that affect ourselves, our communities, our country, and even the world.
The recent NSF study found that only 54% agree that humans developed from earlier species of animals. Perhaps the rest have found a better way to explain their own tail bones.
We need science education to produce scientists, but we need it equally to create literacy in the public. Man has a fundamental urge to comprehend the world about him, and science gives today the only world picture which we can consider as valid. It gives an understanding of the inside of the atom and of the whole universe, or the peculiar properties of the chemical substances and of the manner in which genes duplicate in biology. An educated layman can, of course, not contribute to science, but can enjoy and participate in many scientific discoveries which as constantly made. Such participation was quite common in the 19th century, but has unhappily declined. Literacy in science will enrich a persons life.