Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum, authors of the recently-released book, Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our Future, have been traveling to bookstores across the country and stopped last night in Washington, DC at Politics and Prose. Their talk on the divides between the science and the public was introduced by Jonathan Moreno of Science Progress, where Chris Mooney is a contributor, and Mary Woolley, president of Research!America.
“This is a book that we’ve been waiting for,” said Woolley, and noted that Research!America provides many tools and resources to put the ideas in Unscientific America into action. In fact, action was one of Mooney and Kirshenbaum’s motives for writing the book after hearing a recurring question from scientists, “What can I do?” They also discovered a growing trend of young scientists wanting to use their talents in ways other than filling a dwindling number of tenured faculty positions at universities. Audience members, from teachers to professors to bloggers, also wanted to know what they could do to bridge the scientific literacy gap.
“We do want to get past the idea that the knowledge deficit is what’s holding us back,” warned Mooney. “We should be thinking about building bridges to folks that we’re not reaching in the right way.” Mooney and Kirshenbaum got us all re-thinking the ways that we face the scientific challenges of the 21st century.
Earlier that day, Mooney and Kirshenbaum joined a group of our New Voices, young advocates and communicators, for a lunch and discussion. Check out their blog, The Intersection, for their thoughts on the day and keep an eye on New Voices for more on Unscientific America.