ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Its worse than you think Glenn....

Glenn Reynolds has a link to an article in the New York Times on the low percentage of American's who are scientifically literate:

While scientific literacy has doubled over the past two decades, only 20 to 25 percent of Americans are "scientifically savvy and alert," he said in an interview. Most of the rest "don't have a clue." At a time when science permeates debates on everything from global warming to stem cell research, he said, people's inability to understand basic scientific concepts undermines their ability to take part in the democratic process. . . .
To which Glenn replies: "What do they teach them in schools these days?".

It's worse than that Glenn. People are willing to boast as to their scientific illiteracy.
Readers of the Wall Street Journal might recall an article (subscription required) last week describing the jury deliberations in the Vioxx case (emphasis mine).

Jurors who voted against Merck said much of the science sailed right over their heads. "Whenever Merck was up there, it was like wah, wah, wah," said juror John Ostrom, imitating the sounds Charlie Brown's teacher makes in the television cartoon. "We didn't know what the heck they were talking about."

Yet, they felt they could render a decision on the evidence that "sailed over their heads".
And what was one thing that didn't sail over their heads?

Mr. Ostrom, 49, who has a business remodeling homes, was also disturbed that former Merck Chief Executive Raymond Gilmartin and another top Merck official gave videotaped testimony but weren't in the courtroom. "The big guys didn't show up," said Mr. Ostrom. "That didn't sit well with me. Most definitely an admission of guilt."

So, scientific evidence is too hard to understand, but not seeing a CEO at the defense table, Law and Order-like is an admission of guilt.

That the jury feels scientific evidence is to hard to understand, and would rather consider the question of whether physical presence is required by a CEO, does not surprise me. I am surprised that they would be quoted as saying these things in a newspaper distributed worldwide.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian