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Paralith
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We Love Science! Er...Most of It.
   April 10th, 2011, 6:51 pm

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My last post ended on an optimistic note about how much Americans really do love and respect science. It seems that current events needed to retaliate and cut down my offensive enthusiasm. Last week, the results of a survey of public high school biology teachers were published, showing that over half of our country's biology teachers "fail to explain the nature of scientific inquiry, undermine the authority of established experts, and legitimize creationist arguments."

I cannot entirely blame teachers for this; last week I heard an evolutionary biologist describe how her husband, a high school science teacher in Tennessee, does not want his school or his community to know that his wife studies evolution. I have no doubt that many teachers face incredible pressure from parents.

There have also been several news stories in the past week about state legislatures passing or attempting to pass laws about what to teach in students in biology class. Perhaps Americans do appreciate...

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During my years on science forums and in the #science chatroom, I have come across a wide variety of those characters which the internets have to offer. It can be both fun and infuriating (not unlike grad school), but in the past year or so it felt like these places were inundated by people with a particular agenda. In general, I refer to them as sci-haters, but they are a fairly diverse group. There's these types:

Image

xkcd

Some of whom you can reason with, many of whom go into a toddler-esque tantrum rage at the mention that maybe they're wrong and people who have spent a lot of time studying these topics just might know better. Then there's the types who simply want to bash science and/or scientists as wrong, heartless, elitist, biased, a waste of space, etc.

I felt like I...

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