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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Stop Discourging Future Teachers

One day, you'll be thankful for us.
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“What do you want to be when you grow up?" It seems like this is the question we heard from the time we were able to talk. Our answers started out as whatever movie or action figure was popular that year. I personally was going to be Cinderella and shoot spider webs out of my wrists at the same time. The next phase was spent choosing something that we read about in a book or saw in movies. We were aspiring to be actors, skydivers, and astronauts.

After we realized NASA may not necessarily be interested in every eager 10-year-old, we went through the unknown stage. This chapter of life can last a year or for some, forever. I personally did not have a long “unknown" stage. I knew I was going to be a teacher, more specifically I knew I wanted to do elementary or special education. I come from a family of educators, so it was no surprise that at all the Thanksgiving and Christmas functions I had actually figured it out. The excitement of knowing what to do with the rest of my life quickly grew and then began to dwindle just as fast.

“Why?"

"Well, looks like you'll be broke all your life."

“That's a lot of paperwork."

“If I could go back and do it again, I wouldn't choose this."

These are just a few replies I have received. The unfortunate part is that many of those responses were from teachers themselves. I get it, you want to warn and prepare us for the road we are about to go down. I understand the stress it can take because I have been around it. The countless hours of grading, preparing, shopping for the classroom, etc. all takes time. I can understand how it would get tiresome and seem redundant. The feeling a teacher has when the principal schedules yet another faculty meeting to talk an hour on what could've been stated in an email… the frustration they experience when a few students seem uncontrollable… the days they feel inadequate and unseen… the sadness they feel when they realize the student with no supplies comes from a broken home… I think it is safe to say that most teachers are some of the toughest, most compassionate and hardworking people in this world.

Someone has to be brave enough to sacrifice their time with their families to spend time with yours. They have to be willing to provide for the kids that go without and have a passion to spread knowledge to those who will one day be leading this country. This is the reason I encourage others to stop telling us not to go for it.

Stop saying we won't make money because we know. Stop saying we will regret it, because if we are making a difference, then we won't. Stop telling us we are wasting our time, when one day we will be touching hearts.

Tell us to be great, and then wish us good luck. Tell us that our passion to help and guide kids will not go unnoticed. Tell us that we are bold for trying, but do not tell us to change our minds.

Teachers light the path for doctors, police officers, firefighters, politicians, nurses, etc. Teachers are pillars of society. I think I speak for most of us when I say that we seek to change a life or two, so encourage us or sit back and watch us go for it anyways.

Cover Image Credit: Kathryn Huffman

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Let's Talk More About Lori Laughlin Facing Up To 20 Years In Prison When Brock Turner Got 6 Months

And he was released three months early for 'good behavior'... after sexually assaulting an unconscious girl behind a dumpster.

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To start, Lori Laughlin messed up royally, and I don't condone her actions.

If you live under a rock and are unaware of what happened to the "Full House" star, here's the tea:

Lori Laughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli — and like 50 other celebrity parents — were found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud, and paid a $1 million bail on conspiracy to commit mail fraud, and honest services fraud. You don't need to know what these mean except that she paid $500,000 to get her two daughters, Bella and Olivia Jade Giannulli.

I know you're wondering why they did it — tbh I am too — however, these parents paid the University of Southern California to give admission to her daughters in through the rowing team on campus, despite neither one of them actually playing the sport ever in their life.

Yeah, Aunt Becky messed up and should face punishment, but why is she facing up 20 years when men like Brock Turner are sentenced only six months for raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster at Stanford?

I hate to bring up the gender card, but I'm pulling it: Why is Lori Laughlin — a woman who with bad judgement who used money to give an upper-hand to her entitled daughters — face more prison time than a man who willingly raped a woman who wasn't in a right state of mine (or any at all!) behind a dumpster of all places.

The answer? Because the system is a mess.

Yeah, Aunt Becky paid for her daughters to get into a school, giving disadvantages to students actually deserving and wanting to attend a college. Her act was immoral, and ultimately selfish, but it doesn't even compare to what Brock Turner did, and it doesn't even effect others as much his rape survivor.

The most that will happen to the Giannulli girls is an expulsion and a temporary poor reputation, however, Emily Doe (the alias of the survivor) will feel the consequences of the attack forever.

There should have been a switch:

Lori Laughlin and the Target guy should have had to pay other students tuition/student debt while facing prison time, while Brock Turner should have had to face over 20 years with more consequences.

But, that'll never happen because our system sucks and society is rigged. I guess our society would prefer a rapist walking around more so a woman who made a poor choice by paying for her daughters to go to a college.

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