Scientific Literacy In America Sucks And We Need To Change That

Scientific Literacy In America Sucks And We Need To Change That

Living in a society that is supposed to be at the forefront of progress, yet doesn't accept basic theories is bad.
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Yesterday, as many Americans know, it was Abraham Lincoln's birthday. However, there was another birthday that was not mentioned as much; Charles Darwin, the scientist most famous for promoting the theory of natural selection, and was overall a key contributor to modern evolutionary synthesis.

While 98% of scientists associated with the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) believe in the theory, 38% of Americans still believe in creationism, the idea that human beings and other species were created in their present form, either 6,000 years ago or 4.6 billion years ago. While this number is low, this does not bode well for the future necessarily when it comes to science literacy.

This extends to other scientific theories as well. A good example of this is the Big Bang Theory; in 2014, an AP Poll showed 51% of Americans either were not that confident or not confident at all that the Universe began 13.8 billion years ago. That same poll showed that 36% of Americans also were not too confident in the accepted age of the Earth.

Hell, a Pew Poll showed that 22% of Americans struggled to distinguish astronomy from astrology, a pseudoscience. None of this looks particularly good, but some things Americans DO accept in regards to science is also alarming.

For example, the National Consumer's League reported in 2014 that 33% of American parents of children under 18 believe vaccines are or could be linked to autism. 6-10% of ALL Americans believe vaccines cause autism. Furthermore, many (though I do not have numbers) believe in astrology, one of the epitomes pseudoscience where people believe stars and their orientation can affect their lives. Then there's belief in ideas such as flat earth, which, though a fringe movement, have been promoted by people such as B.o.B., who even released a diss track about the eminent physicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

Again, this is 2018.

Acceptance of science and open discourse about science is a hallmark of an educated public. We should desire attainment of high levels of scientific literacy across society. Imagine what this could produce; a new generation of doctors, engineers, chemists, biologists, all at the forefront of discoveries that could change American and global society.

Plus, it improves American society for the better to promote the prevailing theories and consensus' reached by scientists. Changing this at a basic level would be fantastic; more presentations, more encouragement, more open discussion predicated on furthering scientific knowledge, etcetera.

Though scientific literacy is at best average in America, there is hope. A lot of those numbers mentioned above are (for the most part) trending downward, which means that acceptance is surely increasing.

And while these beliefs most likely will never go away, they can surely decrease as a proportion of society.

And while religious acceptance is certainly an issue, new discoveries can always change our understanding of our various texts and can change as a result. Regardless of this, acceptance of science is a must, and scientific literacy is important.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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10 Things Someone Who Grew Up In A Private School Knows

The 10 things that every private school-goer knows all too well.

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1. Uniforms

Plaid. The one thing that every private school-goer knows all too well. It was made into jumpers, skirts, shorts, scouts, hair ties, basically anything you could imagine, the school plaid was made into. You had many different options on what to wear on a normal day, but you always dreaded dress uniform day because of skirts and ballet flats. But it made waking up late for school a whole lot easier.

2. New people were a big deal

New people weren't a big thing. Maybe one or two a year to a grade, but after freshman year no one new really showed up, making the new kid a big deal.

3. You've been to school with most of your class since Kindergarten


Most of your graduating class has been together since Kindergarten, maybe even preschool, if your school has it. They've become part of your family, and you can honestly say you've grown up with your best friends.

4. You've had the same teachers over and over

Having the same teacher two or three years in a row isn't a real surprise. They know what you are capable of and push you to do your best.

5. Everyone knows everybody. Especially everyone's business.

Your graduating class doesn't exceed 150. You know everyone in your grade and most likely everyone in the high school. Because of this, gossip spreads like wildfire. So everyone knows what's going on 10 minutes after it happens.

6. Your hair color was a big deal

If it's not a natural hair color, then forget about it. No dyeing your hair hot pink or blue or you could expect a phone call to your parents saying you have to get rid of it ASAP.

7. Your school isn't like "Gossip Girl"

There is no eating off campus for lunch or casually using your cell phone in class. Teachers are more strict and you can't skip class or just walk right off of campus.

8. Sports are a big deal

Your school is the best of the best at most sports. The teams normally go to the state championships. The rest of the school that doesn't play sports attends the games to cheer on the teams.

9. Boys had to be clean-shaven, and hair had to be cut

If you came to school and your hair was not cut or your beard was not shaved, you were written up and made to go in the bathroom and shave or have the head of discipline cut your hair. Basically, if you know you're getting written up for hair, it's best just to check out and go get a hair cut.

10. Free dress days were like a fashion show

Wearing a school uniform every day can really drive you mad. That free dress day once a month is what you lived for. It was basically a fashion show for everyone, except for those upperclassmen who were over everything and just wore sweat pants.

Cover Image Credit: Authors Photos

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Coping With The Loss Of A Passion

It's hard to get it back once you lose it.

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In college, time to focus on passions seems limited. The homework, essays, group projects, and exams are never-ending.

In high school, I took my free time for granted. I was dancing four hours four nights a week, but I wasn't constantly stressed. I had time to focus on my passion, which is dance.

In college, I am a part of an amazing dance club. But I don't get to compete, take technique classes, or be with the team I was with since I was 8 years old. Now, I receive videos of my team from home's amazing performances, and it aches a bit. I am so proud and happy for their growth but jealous that they have more years than I do. It is nearly impossible to find technique classes at college to take with no car, little free time, and barely any money. I miss my team, I miss my dance teachers and choreographers, and I miss competitions, but most of all, I miss the person I was when I had the opportunity to pursue my passion several hours a week.

My passion will always be there, and I do get to pursue dance on a smaller scale with some amazing dancers in college, but I am coping with the fact that I will never do another competition with my team again, I will never be able to dance with them again, and I will never be able to learn from my dance teachers again. It's a hard loss, one that I think about every day.

To anyone who still has the opportunities to pursue their passions to the fullest extent, you are lucky. Not everyone gets the chance to keep up with their sport, passion, or activity that they dedicated all of their time to in high school. Don't take a single second of it for granted, and remember why you are doing what you are doing. Take time to reflect on why you love it so much, how it makes you feel, and how you can express yourself during it. Whatever this passion or activity is, make every second count.

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