In J. Goodwin (ed.), Between Scientists and Citizens. CreateSpace (2012)

Massimo Pigliucci
CUNY Graduate Center
Public discussions of science are often marred by two pernicious phenomena: a widespread rejection of scientific findings (e.g., the reality of anthropogenic climate change, the conclusion that vaccines do not cause autism, or the validity of evolutionary theory), coupled with an equally common acceptance of pseudoscientific notions (e.g., homeopathy, psychic readings, telepathy, tall tales about alien abductions, and so forth). The typical reaction by scientists and science educators is to decry the sorry state of science literacy among the general public, and to call for more science education as the answer to both problems. But the empirical evidence concerning the relationship between science literacy, rejection of science and acceptance of pseudoscience is mixed at best. In this chapter I argue that—while certainly important—efforts at increasing public knowledge of science (science education) need to be complemented by attention to common logical fallacies (philosophy), cognitive biases and dissonance (psychology), and the role of ideological commitments (sociology). Even this complex, multi-disciplinary approach to science education will likely only yield measurable results in the very long term. Meanwhile science remains, as Carl Sagan famously put it, a candle in the dark, delicate and in need of much nurturing.
Keywords public education  science education  philosophy education
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Science Education and Moral Education.Michael Martin - 1986 - Journal of Moral Education 15 (2):99-108.
Consciousness-Based Education: A Foundation for Teaching and Learning in the Academic Disciplines.Dara Llewellyn & Craig Pearson (eds.) - 2011 - Consciousness-Based Books, an Imprint of Maharishi University of Management Press.
Feyerabend on Science and Education.Ian James Kidd - 2013 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 47 (3):407-422.
Concepts of Science Education.Michael Martin - 1972 - Glenview, Ill., Scott, Foresman.


Added to PP index

Total views
1,252 ( #2,552 of 2,344,080 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
44 ( #14,685 of 2,344,080 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes