The United States has been a battleground this year in several states as right wing fundamentalists try to push antievolution legislation that would force children to be taught that evolution is controversial, or that creationism is scientifically equivalent to evolution. In most cases (except for Tennessee) these laws were pushed back, even in some fairly conservative states. The problem with education in the USA is that there are 50 states (plus DC) and 16000 school districts, each with full control over the science curriculum. Thus, children in northeastern and Pacific coast states have strong science educations, while other states, especially in the south and midwest, have a nascent antievolution movement. There are some minimal standards across the US for science education, but when you find school boards that think that creationism is a science, or that evolution is a scientific controversy, it’s hard to make certain that children get an well-rounded education in the biological sciences.Read More »England wants children to study evolution
In most industrialized countries, global warming is considered to be a fact supported by not only personal observations, but also because of the scientific evidence. In fact, there is an overwhelming level of scientific consensus on this matter, including nearly every scientific organization in the United States. But the American mindset is quite different than the rest of the world. The reasons are many: conflating political debate with scientific debate, poorly understood economic trade-offs, badly written articles in online encyclopedias, reliance on confirmation bias, and just plain ignorance.Read More »American attitudes about global warming
According to a Reuters poll, nearly 15 percent of the earth’s population believe that the world will end during their lifetime, while another 10 percent think the Mayan calendar proves that the world will end in 2012. The end of the Mayan calendar, which spans about 5,125 years, on December 21, 2012 prompted a whole field of pseudoscience about the apocalyptic end of the word, sometimes spurred on by some of the junk programs on the History Channel.
What’s worse than all of this is that 22% of Americans believe in an impending Armageddon in their lifetime (the highest rate along with Turkey). This compares to obviously better science educations in France, where only 6% believe in this silliness, in Belgium, only 7% believe, and the United Kingdom, only 8%. The poll also indicated that individuals with lower education or household income levels, as well as those under 35 years old, were more likely to believe in an apocalyptic end of the world. Maybe the History Channel has a broader reach than originally thought.Read More »Americans believe in debunked myths–shocking news
According to a CBS report, the CDC has reported that the number of measles cases in the US in 2011 was the largest since 1996. In 2000, measles had been eliminated from the US, but that’s changed dramatically in the ensuing decade. There were 222 cases in the US in 2011, about quadruple the number in an average year. Read More »Measles–2011 measles outbreak largest in 15 years
The New York Times has reported that cases of measles in the US has quadrupled from 2010 to 2011. Though it was large increase, it is still rare with only 222 cases throughout the United States spread across 17 outbreaks. However,… Read More »US measles cases quadrupled in 2011