Several of the readings and websites you examine in this module deal with the differences between what scientists think and what the American public thinks about important scientific topics. We want to delve more deeply into this disparity and better understand the causes and possible solutions to these differences. As careful and conscientious members of a democratic nation, you will be faced with many decisions about the future of your community and your children and families that will require you to be versed in the science behind the issues you are confronting. Towns and cities need to decide how to spend tax dollars on many projects, such as water purification, waste disposal, recreational spaces, and environmental habitat preservation and/or restoration. Countries and governments need to make important decisions on issues such as climate change, energy conservation, and exploration, to name a few.
The first article you will read in this activity from National Geographic lists several reasons why people have become more distrustful of science and the reported findings from research. The author points out many very human fallibilities that scientists and the general public may wish to recognize and overcome as best we can. The article also addresses the “science communication problem,” which is now a hot topic for research.
Completing this activity will assist you in mastering Module Level Outcome 2.
- Read the National Geographic article by Achenbach titled “The Age of Disbelief”
- Explore the interactive page Major Gaps Between the Public, Scientists on Key Issues
- Read Study Reveals Wide Gaps in Opinion Between Scientists and General Public
Next, post to the Discussion Board:
After carefully reading the National Geographic article, the PBS News Hour page, and visiting the interactive web page by the PEW Research Center, please respond to the following two questions in your initial post:
- Select one of the reasons given by Achenbach in the National Geographic article regarding why the public is distrustful or dismissive of scientific findings. Identify clearly which reason you will be discussing, then restate this reason in your own words.
- Give an example of this type of faulty reasoning from your own experiences or from some popular publication, website, or information source.
Your initial post responding to this assignment should be no shorter than 250 words. Include both in-text citations and complete APA style references for all the sources you used to inform your work.