“We can no longer afford to be STEM illiterate in a world, a nation surrounded by science and technology.”
STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
“I don’t do math” is a great synopsis of what’s wrong with the mindset of most of the developed countries. The decisions people take on a daily basis are based on their knowledge and critical thinking, yet their point of view is often distorted by pseudoscience and superstitious beliefs.
The general mentality is that you have to be a scientist in order to understand science, even though nowadays there are so many famous scientists who work very hard to explain the wonders of the scientific world in a language that shouldn’t be hard to understand by someone who knows how to read or pay attention to an explanation. Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Richard Dawkins, Brian Cox, Philip Plait, Michio Kaku, Edward O. Wilson, Rachel Carson, even the brilliant Stephen Hawking, are scientists who beautifully unfold the complex processes of science in a way that even the most STEM illiterate person can understand if they care enough to try.
But that’s the problem: most people don’t even try or bother to think about science, even though most of the things they interact with in a modern society wouldn’t be possible without the scientific method. Such people fail to understand the natural world and therefore they don’t know how to protect it or that they should look after our planet’s resources. They don’t understand the Earth is only a small planet even if for us it may seem big and they don’t realize the planet itself doesn’t need us, but we do need it for everything, from the water we drink to the electricity we use.
Disregarding science has no excuse and it is dangerous because the politicians such people elect are a reflection of their voters and these politicians are the ones making the laws that govern our societies for the better or for the worse. Science may not be for everyone, but that doesn’t mean people don’t listen to what it has to say.
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