A Scientifically Literate Population Is The Essential Cornerstone Of An Innovative Culture

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Earlier this year, the Washington State Department of Health reported the first confirmed measles-related death in the United States since 2003. Although the woman herself had been vaccinated for measles, she was infected by another patient with measles while she was taking immune system suppressants. This event is a symbol of the foreboding issue currently facing our society--that of scientific illiteracy. We live in a highly interconnected society, and each person is not only responsible for himself, he is also responsible for the lives of everyone else in his community. In our dynamic world where new ideas are constantly being tested, new technologies are constantly being invented, and new developments are constantly being discovered, we as a society must also adapt our level of scientific understanding, so that we are able to make informed decisions about our lives. A scientifically literate population is the essential cornerstone of an innovative culture. To be scientifically literate means to be able to ask questions, collect information, and apply what we learned to solve problems and communicate results to the public. And as a consumer, as a professional, and as a citizen of this democracy, we must be empowered to form educated opinions so that we are less likely to make mistaken decisions, or misled by others. Yet various polls and surveys have shown that scientific literacy in the United States is staggeringly low. Why is this? Part of the problem arises from the

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