The results of a recent study conducted by Pew Research Center in collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, shows a disturbing opinion gap between scientists and the broader community. Undoubtedly there are many factors at play here including: a lack of understanding of the scientific method, political bias, anti-intellectualism and religious belief.
From my own experiences of science classes at high school there should be a greater focus on developing understanding of the scientific method and building critical thinking skills. Sciences classes throughout my schooling was more about following recipes and memorising equations than developing real understanding. Some kids got it but most didn’t.
Most of the kids that didn’t get the science thing were smart enough not to take HSC science classes, but not me. I was drawn to chemistry and physics hoping that it would all click together. It never did. I was totally lost; had no idea where to begin acquiring the knowledge and skills I needed. Ultimately, I dropped out of these courses, assuming I didn’t have the science gene… or something.
While I remain a layman in all scientific fields, personal interests have led me to hone my capacity for critical thinking and develop a greater scientific literacy and respect for the method. If science were better taught in schools I may very well have ended up leading a very different life.