Just a quick article coming from the Christian Science Monitor by Peter N. Spotts. He reports on a recent study by the AAAS and the Pew Research Center. Apparently, not many people know a scientist, which probably says a lot about our social skills. Even so, my reading of the article suggests that the general public mostly respects scientists and their work. However, the average Joe also seems to overestimate what science can do, and simultaneously rejects or denies or misunderstands what is already done.
What's the solution? Is it more scientist bloggers? No, probably not. How can we get the average American to better cope with scientific results and make decisions that are founded on fact? Well, I don't think it's the scientists who can do that. Scientists need to better engage the public, but that can really only get so far. The American public needs to take science education more seriously.... it's not all just reading, (w)riting, and (a)rithmetic any more, I think we need to add biology, chemistry, and physics to the basics, even if they don't "start" with the letter R.