Thursday, October 23, 2008

Evolution and Science in America

Via 2006 National Geographic article:
(blue = believes in evolution, red doesn't)

Selected Quotes:
-"In the U.S., only 14 percent of adults thought that evolution was "definitely true," while about a third firmly rejected the idea. "
-"The researchers cite a 2005 study finding that 78 percent of adults agreed that plants and animals had evolved from other organisms. In the same study, 62 percent also believed that God created humans without any evolutionary development."
-"Fewer than half of American adults can provide a minimal definition of DNA, the authors add. "
My thoughts:
-We need to teach and emphasize genetics much earlier in school (elementary). You can make better inferences about a wide range of topics - history, science, even English when you understand genetics.
-Since a majority of Americans are now required to go to college - all students, particularly liberal arts majors should be required to take some type of biology/genetics class. We need to avoid the hubris of humanities (NYT).
-Get more scientists in public office. According to the above NYT article, there were 218 lawyers, 12 doctors, and 3 biologists in congress in 2005. When 90 percent of our representatives probably have a weak science background, we're probably going to fall behind. See the recent examples of stem cells, climate change, research funding, and bioethics.

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