This afternoon there was a symposium on “Science Literacy and Pseudoscience” that I had intended to attend but eventually missed. According to this AP story, it was revealed there that
“People in the U.S. know more about basic science today than they did two decades ago, good news that researchers say is tempered by an unsettling growth in the belief in pseudoscience such as astrology and visits by extraterrestrial aliens.”
So, science literacy is clearly increasing (from 10 to 28% according to one measure) but at the same time pseudoscientific beliefs are also increasing. It strikes me that this may be a problem for us as educators in that we might be teaching students (and thus the public) scientific facts but not teaching them how to think scientifically.