Neanderthal cloning chatter highlights scientific illiteracy | Reuters #science #scichat #STEM #scied


Deutsch: Rekonstruierter Neandertaler im Neand...
Deutsch: Rekonstruierter Neandertaler im Neanderthal-Museum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Neanderthal cloning chatter highlights scientific illiteracy | Reuters.

I would like to bring some attention to this very important issue. This is a perfect example of things that can happen when outlandish stories start circulating on the internet regarding anything scientific in nature. Renowned scientist George Church said:

“The public should be able to detect cases where things seem implausible. Everybody’s fib detector should have been going off. They should have said, ‘What? Who would believe this?’ … This really indicates that we should have scientific literacy.” 

George is spot on. The internet, right or wrong, fuels the fodder on 24 hour news channels. The montra “if it’s on the internet, it must be true” is scary and not going away. He also states: “We really should get the public of the entire world to be able to detect the difference between a fact and a complete fantasy that has been created by the Internet.”

 “I do want to connect the public to science because there are so many decisions to be made if the way they learn it, if they learn it faster by talking about Neanderthals than they did by getting rote learning in high school, that’s great.” 

There is a great need to  improve science literacy in the general public. In my opinion, logic should be a requirement in the standards taught as part of science in primary and secondary education. It is so troubling. I can see it now…next there will be a claim that a scientist in South Korea has successfully cloned wooly mammoth DNA into a stem cell that replicates itself opening up the possibility of bringing back the long extinct species.

BTW, did you hear the news? They have cloned a wooly mammoth!

One day, I will write a post about using the word “they” for any statement about experiment results or innovation.

I digress…

The Woolly Mammoth at the Royal BC Museum, Vic...
The Woolly Mammoth at the Royal BC Museum, Victoria, British Columbia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

6 thoughts on “Neanderthal cloning chatter highlights scientific illiteracy | Reuters #science #scichat #STEM #scied”

  1. The issue of science literacy is crucial to a democracy as John Dewey recognized. That’s even more so today.

    Most people regard science literacy as knowing the names of the planets and so on. However, it’s much more about understanding the nature of science and how to think. Carl Sagan wrote extensively about this issue in “The Demon-Haunted World.” Read his chapter on the “baloney detection kit.”

    I’m have a new technology to provide this learning. Over 20 online schools, including K12.com, use it today along with colleges and K-12 schools across the nation. It really works! Check out http://www.smartscience.net.

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