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Chris Mooney, currently a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT, gave a talk this evening that focused on science and society. He started by giving some rather depressing stats about the American public’s relationship with science. Only 18% of Americans know a scientist personally, only 13% follow science and technology news closely, and only 44% can name a scientific role model. Of those that do name a role model – the top three named are Einstein, Al Gore, and Bill Gates. As Mooney points out, they’re either dead, or not actually scientists.
But why should we care about the public’s scientific literacy? Well, Mooney has answers for you. He outlined four reasons: 1) knowledge is generally good in and of itself, 2) it empowers people, 3) it leads to good citizenship, 4) it also leads to good policy. Read the rest of this entry »