||Science—and Antiscience—in the Climate and Evolution Debates
||443, Earth and Space Science: Making Connections in Education and Public Outreach
||Neff, T.; Ammann, C.; Grinspoon, D.; Tans, P.
||The Enlightenment is more than 300 years old. Those of us lucky enough to
live in a developed country find ourselves entirely dependent on an array of
technologies empowered by the cumulative advances of science. Yet surveys
repeatedly show a large percentage of Americans to be either ignorant of
science and the scientific method or outright dubious of them. Gallup polls
have consistently found that more than four in 10 respondents believe that
God created man in its present form. An October 2009 poll by the Pew Research
Center for the People and the Press found that just 36 percent of Americans
surveyed believed there was “solid evidence the Earth is warming,” down
from 47 percent in April 2008.
The scientific evidence supporting evolution and anthropogenic climate change
is overwhelming. Yet nowhere has the battle of science versus ignorance and
skepticism been more pitched than in these realms. What forces drive these
antiscientific world views? How can scientists and their allies counter them?
What can education and public outreach experts in one of science’s most
publicly digestible realms—space and astronomy—learn from those who have
been in the trenches?
How can you help build a more scientifically literate society at a
time when elected leaders have needed a rational support base like never