After having a conversation today with some researchers about how science (mostly bad or badly portrayed) is being used in the current Australian federal election campaign(s) I realised again how much trust I place in the word of people in positions of authority. This authority can be in the form of powerful people or people I perceive as being an authority on a topic.
I’m not gullible but I’m also not all the way at the other end of the cynical spectrum. I’m somewhere in the middle where I don’t actively question the motives of people and the evidence they are presenting (except in the form of advertising where these are just blatantly obvious). Maybe I do it subconciously, Ill have to keep an open mind to that possibility.
So when I came across an article about scientific evidence from The Conversation it was particularly poignant and I appreciated again that it’s not just me who doesn’t actively question or ponder the evidence. If I have a science degree and I’m not in the habit of doing this then I’m
scared worried nervous about what the rest of the population is doing. There is so little scientific literacy in the community – how many people even know about:
– objectivity and bias
– validity and accuracy
– peer review
– interpreting evidence
Increasing scientific literacy would benefit so many parts of everyday life for all of us and reduce the misinformation, misunderstanding and conflict about the need for conservation, water resource management and coping with climate change (and sooooo many other things).
Scientific evidence: what is it and how can we trust it? by Manu Saunders