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Volume 27 Issue 7 (July 2017)

GSA Today

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Article, pp. 58–59 | Full Text | PDF (219KB)

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The Need for a Paradigm Shift in Science Advocacy

Gregg R. Davidson1, Carol A. Hill2, Ken Wolgemuth3

1 Department of Geology and Geological Engineering, University of Mississippi, University, Mississippi 38677, USA
2 Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences (adjunct), University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131, USA
3 Wolgemuth & Associates, LLC, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74133, USA

Sixteen years into the twenty-first century, many are dismayed at the resiliency of skepticism about science in the United States. On wide-ranging subjects, such as vaccinations, genetically modified foods, climate change, evolution, and the age and origin of the Earth and universe, a sizable percentage of the population continues to hold and promote views that run counter to common scientific understanding. An oft-cited Gallup poll (2015) illustrates the lack of progress. In 1982, a question was posed regarding beliefs about human evolution. At the time, 44% believed God made humans in their present form. After a quarter century of improved educational materials, upgraded K–12 science standards, and several successful court battles to curb anti-science influences, that number has remained essentially unchanged. The last poll in 2014 pegged the number at 42% (Gallup, 2015).

Manuscript received 11 Jan. 2016; Revised manuscript received 6 June 2016; Manuscript accepted 11 Oct. 2016; Posted online 24 Feb. 2017