Scientific Illiteracy

Scientific Illiteracy

There is certainly a problem, but when it reaches the level of elected officials it has gone beyond a problem of literacy. I’d venture to say that Paul Broun being Chairman of the US House Committee on Science, Space and Technology is not so much illiteracy as bordering on the abdication of responsibility on the part of the GOP. That someone like this could be elected is surely a symptom of the illiteracy in the US, but brings with it a whole new level of problems.

When elected officials, the very people we ask to lead our country, are ignorant of how the world works, how can our country be expected to survive much longer?

Also, I can’t help but think that if meteor impacts had been brought up as a point of discussion a few weeks ago, there would have been a backlash of anti-science opposition, attacking the science and scientists involved and accusations of fear-mongoring. (Now, of course, there’s a possibility of an overreaction and advocation of programs that will be nothing but safety theater.) There seems to be a tendency to deny there is any problem until it has reached a crisis level.

4 thoughts on “Scientific Illiteracy

  1. I have to say, as observers of your country’s politics and actions, it’s seeming rejection of science and the protection of your native flora and fauna, even those seriously at risk, those in charge and what they are doing, are distressing and horrifying. My friends in Europe and here, cannot believe that it appears to have become far worse, with a DEMOCRAT government. Look at the state of reintroduced wolves, in such low numbers, being slaughtered as original breeding stock, still wearing tracking collars. Nothing done, a free for all… No point in listing more examples, you are probably aware, yourself. I can’t really say anymore. It is very much noticed by the science educated overseas.

  2. We also have to remember that scientific ignorance is tactically useful. Need to delay a wind turbines construction project because your constituents don’t like it? Bog down the hearings with questions about how wind turbines slow down the wind and alter the weather. It’s completely bogus, but the scientists waste weeks trying to convince you of your error, and you get time to kill their project.

    So let’s not get sucked into trying to educate everyone who objects on absurd scientific grounds. That may be to their tactical advantage.

  3. Cap’n, that’s an excellent point, and why I don’t think of certain elected officials as examples of illiteracy but abdication of responsibility. They are making an argument they know to be false in order to further their agenda, which is galling when they try and seize the moral high ground.

    I say call them out for being dishonest, if they cannot claim ignorance.

  4. Although I agree with what the author was saying, I hate the ‘post-literate society’ crap. I know that’s not what the post was about, but every time I see that I want to stop reading.

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