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Resources,  July 13, 2009

A Perspective on Why America is flunking science

Writing in Salon.com, authors Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum assert: Science "is simultaneously admired and yet viewed as dangerously powerful and slightly malevolent an uneasiness that comes across repeatedly in Hollywood depictions. As science-fiction film director James Cameron ('Aliens,' 'Terminator,' 'Titanic') has observed, the movies tend to depict scientists 'as idiosyncratic nerds or actively the villains.' That's not only unfair to scientists: It's unhealthy for the place of science in our culture no small matter at a time of climate crisis, bioweapon threats, pandemic diseases and untold future controversies that will surely erupt as science continues to dramatically change our world and our politics. To begin to counter this problem, though, we need to wake up to a new recognition: Fixing the problem of science education in our schools, although very important, is not the sole solution. We also have to do something about the cultural standing of science heavily influenced by politics and mass media and that's a very different matter.

There can be little serious doubt that entertainment depictions have consequences. Entertainment industry expert Marty Kaplan, director of the Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication, perhaps puts it best when he describes Hollywood films as the 'unofficial curriculum of society.'"

URL: http://www.salon.com/env/feature/2009/07/13/science_illiteracy
Posted by wrivenburgh on July 13, 2009 | Resources
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