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Digital Subscriptions > Skeptical Inquirer > Sept/Oct 2018 > We Need a Paradigm Shift in Science Advocacy

We Need a Paradigm Shift in Science Advocacy

Considering the Human Concerns of Trust and Tribe

Readers of the SKEPTICAL INQUIRER probably do not need documentation or reminders of the problem of deeply entrenched antiscience sentiments among the citizenry of the United States. For those not keeping up with studies, recent polls suggest the societal needle has not substantially moved in past thirty years regarding public acceptance on a range of scientific subjects.

As an illustrative example, a 1982 Gallup poll asked a question regarding opinions on human evolution. At the time, 44 percent said they believed God made man supernaturally in our current form. In a 2014 poll, 42 percent still answered the same (Gallup 2015). The future does not hold promise of rapid improvement. Michael B. Berkman and Eric Plutzer (2011) reported that among high school science teachers, nearly three quarters are reluctant to teach on subjects such as evolution, either because they personally reject it or they feel it isn’t worth the controversy it may create. This is despite a quarter century of improved educational materials, upgraded K–12 science standards, and several successful court battles.

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