“Whenever the people are well informed” an optimistic Thomas Jefferson wrote, “they can be trusted with their own government.” Sure – but what if the people have no clue?
Most of the big challenges facing America and the world today – from climate change to disease to population growth – revolve around science and technology. If we – We, the People – are going to make smart decisions on what to do about these problems, we need to have at least a rough understanding of the basic science involved. Problem is, we don’t.
As science writer Shawn Lawrence Otto points out in a tough-minded new book, Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America, too many Americans are either plain ignorant of science or actively hostile to it, or both.