The election year of 2016 will present opportunities to bring scientific literacy into the debates around climate change and more. The future of our democracy may depend on raising the level of scientific literacy, not only among the population of voters, but among the candidates.
When it comes to scientific topics, both scientists and laypeople hide behind the excuse that the general public in this country simply doesn't have the education to process such complex information. This is leading to real problems.
Children grow up healthier and happier when they experience a direct connection to nature. Just as importantly, those young people are also far more likely to value the natural world when they've developed a connection to it. The need for this has never been greater than it is today.
The oxygen we breathe, the water we drink and the sugar we eat are all chemicals. But somehow "chemical" has become a dirty word, synonymous with "toxin," and "chemical-free" is now a popular, albeit nonsensical, advertising slogan.
I am dismayed by the request by Answers in Genesis for equal time in Cosmos for creationist viewpoints. Answers in Genesis is dedicated to a literal young-Earth creationism that declares that the Earth was created in six 24-hour days around 6,000 years ago.
In a time of great divides over religion and politics, it's not surprising that we treat evolution the way we do political issues. But here's the problem: As settled science, evolution is not a matter of opinion or something one chooses to believe in or not, like a religious proposition.
Carl Sagan's Cosmos series is legendary for its ability to bring science to a wide audience and was far more than mere entertainment. We look forward to the March 2014 rebirth of Cosmos, which will be hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.
We should be worrying about the more than 100 million Americans who think the earth is 10,000 years old and trying to figure out how that happened. Marco Rubio is simply an expression of that large problem.
I have no expectation that every man, woman, and child should strive to become a professional scientist. But I do have every expectation that every man, woman, and child should strive to become more scientifically literate.
Consumers of science prefer simple messages and have heightened confidence in biological evidence to explain behavior. That may be human nature, but scientists should be careful not to play into these pervasive biases.