Ben asked in a recent post: “What would happen if we all just ignored [creationism and intelligent design], didn’t mention them, and thus didn’t allow them to interfere with the science discussed in the other thousands of posts at these blogs?”
I think the same question could be asked of those who oppose stem cell research or even global warming. If the scientific consensus is different from public opinion, why do scientists keep addressing the topics?
The Telegraph published a story this week suggesting that children’s grasp of general knowledge may be better than that of their parents. In combination with this review in the NYT of a the newly remodeled Liberty Science Center, I am beginning to wonder if, perhaps, the scientific community is forgetting to educate the adult population.
As a child who spent a large part of my childhood at museums of one kind and another, many of them science museums, I have a very soft spot for this type of venue. Dave attributes his love of science to London’s Natural History Museum. However, many science museums are geared to younger audiences, and this is just one instance of the dearth of opportunities for adults to refresh the knowledge they already know and learn about science that is certainly new since they left school. Thus, scientists are forced to continually attempt to educate the public in forums such as blogs. (Although, readers of science blogs are probably pretty geeky to start with and this is probably preaching to the choir.)
As, the New York Times article indicates, science is becoming increasingly urgent, personal, and political. This makes adequate scientific literacy for all more important. So, how should scientists be teaching it?
*Dr. Arneson recently graduated with a PhD in Immunology. She is now doing a postdoctoral year in a technology transfer office.