The National Science Teachers Association (NTSA) Recommends Unscientific America

By Chris Mooney | December 31, 2009 12:18 pm

See here. Their reviewer calls our book a “tour-de-force statement about the current state of science in America,” continuing:

The writing is engaging and should find an important audience. As opposed to many science-centered books, this book will appeal not only to teachers, but, more importantly, to undergraduates who are slowly becoming aware of political issues. This book should therefore find readership beyond just science students to all students interested, or becoming interested, in current issues important to politics, education, and the general state of our nation.

You can read the full review/recommendation here. We are also of course psyched that our fellow Discover blogger Phil Plait also recently gave Unscientific America an Xmas-time plug, observing,

This book doesn’t complain about how the public doesn’t get science, it actually has advice — good advice — for how people can take up this charge.

You can read Phil’s full take here. We’re very gratified by the new wave of attention the book is receiving this holiday season, and are just about to begin updating it for the paperback due out next summer. So, more soon….

Comments (6)

  1. Thomas L

    Unfortunately I don’t think it is science itself that is the problem; rather it is the general inability to deal with math (which results in an inability to deal with science, for obvious reasons). I can attest that the problem pointed out in the below report in regards to teachers and math is all too real – ran into it in my Grad program. Most my fellow students hated math and were outright afraid of it. To be honest it was rather scary how deep it ran (and this was primary education – we were not dealing with advanced mathematics!). While there are, obviously, very good teachers out there, they are, unfortunately, not the majority.

    http://redtape.msnbc.com/2009/12/when-i-published-gotcha-capitalism-two-years-ago-i-was-in-for-a-big-surprise-as-i-talked-about-systemic-hidden-fee-fraud-al.html:

    “In 18 U.S. states, not even one elementary math class is required for certification.

    Some teaching colleges allow admittance as long as students have math skills equal to their future students — that is, as long as they could pass a 5th grade math test.

    Teachers seem to be math-averse from the start. College bound seniors headed for elementary education have math SAT scores significantly lower than the national average (483 vs. 515)…”

    After working on an advanced degree in education I no longer wonder about what has gone wrong with our educational system – it is truly broken, and until we enact a system that demands both accountability and actual skill ability I’m not sure anything is going to change. Standardized testing is not going to “fix” anything – it’s getting teachers that actually know the subject matter better than those they are supposed to be teaching.

  2. bilbo

    Chris and Sheril didn’t argue that science was “the” problem, Thomas. They said it was one of them – just like education, politics, religion, etc. etc. etc.

    I highly doubt Sheril was lying when she talked about how ill-equipped scientists are, as a whole, when it comes to dealing with people like politicians (versus people like AGW denailists and creationists). She’s seen that kind of thing firsthand – denying that it’s a problem is being willfully ignorant or reality and wanting to throw blame off onto someone else.

    People need to stop trying to pin the problem on one group by itself – like education alone – and focus on this from a pluralistic perspective…and stop getting so peeved when their profession gets called out. I don’t how many people I’ve seen comment on this blog with something like “hey1 I’m a scientist, and I do outreach! How dare you criticize me?!”

  3. dixon steele

    Chris,

    I read your recent piece in WaPo. If you genuinely believed in science you wouldn’t link disbelief in the theory of evolution to disbelief in AGW. There’s no correlation between the two. You won’t find many people with science degrees questioning evolution but there are tens of thousands of scientists who have serious doubts about the credibility of AGW.

    Watching the Intelligent Designer crowd go after evolution is like watching Michael Mann go after the Medieval Warm Period. Both are motivated by fear of some well establibsed scientific fact that threatens their beliefs

  4. John Kwok

    @ dixon steele -

    Unfortunately those who tend to be evolution denialists also tend to dismiss AGW. While I may agree with you in recognizing that the scientific support for biological evolution is substantially far more robust than what exists for AGW, I might also add that, having seen the data over the years, the case for AGW is also quite compelling (though I don’t subscribe to Al Gore’s “doomsday” scenarios, and, incidentally, am a registered Republican who received some training in paleoclimatology both in college and graduate school at two major centers for paleoclimatological research). I think Chris’s points in his Washington Post essay were quite valid and to the point (though I might also note that I remain skeptical regarding the usefulness of much of what he and Sheril wrote in their book “Unscientific America”, starting with their emphasis on the Pluto “controversy” and their adulatin of Carl Sagan).

  5. John Kwok

    @ dixon steele -

    Unfortunately those who tend to be evolution denialists also tend to dismiss AGW. While I may agree with you in recognizing that the scientific support for biological evolution is substantially far more robust than what exists for AGW, I might also add that, having seen the data over the years, the case for AGW is also quite compelling (though I don’t subscribe to Al Gore’s “doomsday” scenarios, and, incidentally, am a registered Republican who received some training in paleoclimatology both in college and graduate school at two major centers for paleoclimatological research). I think Chris’s points in his Washington Post essay were quite valid and to the point (though I might also note that I remain skeptical regarding the usefulness of much of what he and Sheril wrote in their book “Unscientific America”, starting with their emphasis on the Pluto “controversy” and their adulation of Carl Sagan).

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

About Chris Mooney

Chris is a science and political journalist and commentator and the author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science--dubbed "a landmark in contemporary political reporting" by Salon.com and a "well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right wing's assault on science and scientists" by Scientific American--Storm World, and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum. They also write "The Intersection" blog together for Discover blogs. For a longer bio and contact information, see here.

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »