PZ Myers on scientific illiteracy

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Writing at Pharyngula, PZ Myers discusses a NYT op-ed on children’s scientific illiteracy. Lawrence Krauss, a professor of physics and astronomy at Case Western Reserve University, bemoans Creationism and other religious-based ignorance of science in “How to Make Sure Children Are Scientifically Illiterate:”

I have recently been criticized by some for strenuously objecting in print to what I believe are scientifically inappropriate attempts by some scientists to discredit the religious faith of others. However, the age of the earth, and the universe, is no more a matter of religious faith than is the question of whether or not the earth is flat.

It is a matter of overwhelming scientific evidence. To maintain a belief in a 6,000-year-old earth requires a denial of essentially all the results of modern physics, chemistry, astronomy, biology and geology. It is to imply that airplanes and automobiles work by divine magic, rather than by empirically testable laws.


As we continue to work to improve the abysmal state of science education in our schools, we will continue to battle those who feel that knowledge is a threat to faith.

But when we win minor skirmishes, as we did in Kansas, we must remember that the issue is far deeper than this. We must hold our elected school officials to certain basic standards of knowledge about the world. The battle is not against faith, but against ignorance. [emphasis added]

Myers notes that, while Krauss’ piece “is a good, strong piece of work, it doesn't go quite far enough.” He concludes:

I will remind you all that the title of Krauss's piece is "How to Make Sure Children Are Scientifically Illiterate." He's right that one way is to elect school board officials who are raving ignoramuses who advocate the insertion of nonsense into public school curricula. But he's missing an even more pernicious and common way to make children scientifically illiterate: raise them in a household that values faith above reason. He's choosing to fight the symptom rather than the disease, and I think his approach is doomed to ineffectuality. [emphasis added]

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on August 15, 2006 10:17 AM.

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