Research!America did a survey earlier this year which found that Americans don’t know jack about science. Specifically, 81% of Americans surveyed could not name any living scientists. Not a single one.
Out of the 19% of Americans that could think of at least one living scientist, 27% of those named Stephen Hawking (who was still alive at the time the survey was taken), 19% named Neil deGrasse Tyson, and 5% said Bill Nye. The only female scientist that could be recalled was Jane Goodall who was named by 2% of people.
It isn’t just the names of individuals that have been forgotten (or never learned), when asked “Can you name any institution, company, or organization where medical or health research is conducted?” 67% of participants could not think of a single institution. Not even the CDC.
You may be thinking, “what’s the big deal?”
America needs an informed public, a voting public that can see beyond religious ideology and see scientific truth. Educated and well informed citizens that are aware of the programs and institutions that are affected by extreme budget cuts, and are also aware of what impact cutting those programs will have on healthcare, drug safety, and medical and environmental policy.