Last week I learned that 216 million Americans are scientifically illiterate. This statistic came out of a study by Jon D. Miller that was presented earlier this month at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
What this scientific illiteracy means, according to D.E. Duncan’s article in Technology Review, is that 72% of Americans would not be able to understand an article on basic genetics or global warming or technology that might appear in, for example, the science section of the New York Times. But we are not alone. Miller found that Europeans and the Japanese are even slightly less literate than Americans.
Some people question the importance of understanding science. But you simply cannot exclude an entire field from your sphere of knowledge. I was discussing that very matter just last night as M and I linked the study of logic with mathematics and linguistics. If we had not had at least a basic understanding of all three topics, there would have been a big hole in our discussion. And chances are we would not have recognised it. Ignorance is a dangerous thing.
Duncan writes that over 40% of Americans do not believe in evolution. And about 20% think that the sun revolves around the earth rather than the other way round.
Meanwhile, down in Georgia, state representative Ben Bridges has been in big trouble for a memo that was distributed in his name to legislators in several other states. Bridges has denied any connection with the memo, which calls for a ban on the teaching of evolution in state schools. Nothing new, you may think, but don’t be so hasty.
The reason we must not teach evolution, according to the memo, is that the science is actually based on a deception derived “concept-for-concept from Rabbinic writings in the mystic ‘holy book’ Kabbala dating back at least two millennia.”
The memo references Fixed Earth, the website of The Fair Education Foundation, which would be excellent comedy if you could forget how many people buy into that bullshit. Fixed Earth, of course, takes down anyone who is not a fundamentalist Christian and refers to the Kabbala as “anti-Christ [and] anti-Bible”.
And now it’s time for a rousing chorus of “Blame the Jews! Blame the Jews!”
The memo was distributed by Marshall Hall, president of The Fair Education Foundation. He claims that Bridges saw the memo months earlier and gave him permission to distribute it.
Bridges has said that, although the memo did not come from him, he does not necessarily disagree with it.
“I agree with it more than I would the Big Bang Theory or the Darwin Theory. I am convinced that rather than risk teaching a lie, why teach anything?”
What a bunch of ignorant fucking losers.
Let me leave you with this reminder –
“Evolution is recognized as a central unifying principle of the biological sciences by the scientific community and the education community.”
– Glenn Branch, deputy director of the National Center for Science Education.