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Canada Education Science

Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries 221

Posted by timothy
from the one-end-of-the-moose-has-more-gravity dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A recent survey of scientific education and attitudes showed the Canadian population to have the highest level of scientific literacy in the world, as well as the fewest reservations about the direction of scientific progress (full report). A key factor is a high level of scientific knowledge among the general population (despite comparatively low numbers of people employed in STEM fields). Another is a higher level of comfort with choosing rationality over religious belief — only 25% of Canadians surveyed agreed with the statement "We depend too much on science and not enough on faith", as opposed to 55% in the U.S. and 38% in the E.U.

I also wonder if the vaunted Canadian healthcare system plays a role. When advances in medical science are something you automatically expect to benefit from personally if you need them, they look a lot better than when you have to scramble just to cover your bills for what we have now."
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Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

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  • by RichMan (8097) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @06:18PM (#47780043)

    I am canadian, and if we are the most scientiically literate. I really pity the rest of you.

  • Biased (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShakaUVM (157947) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @06:43PM (#47780237) Homepage Journal

    "[O]nly 25% of Canadians surveyed agreed with the statement "We depend too much on science and not enough on faith", as opposed to 55% in the U.S. and 38% in the E.U."

    Seriously? I was expecting a survey of scientific literacy to be about, you know, scientific literacy, not asking people the relative merits, as it were, between science and religion.

    I'm not sure how this proves, quote, "Canada is a nation of science geeks." It's a complete non-sequitor. It doesn't even match the data, in which 58% of Canadians couldn't understand basic science concepts from newspaper stories, and in which Canada ranks 19th out of 29th in science degrees (by percentage).

    Contrawise, Americans, sure, value religion probably more highly than other countries, and might even think that we could use more religion, but that is not a question of scientific literacy or attitudes towards science in and of itself. It seems to presuppose the long-discredited Conflict Thesis, which states that religion and science are inherently always in conflict.

    The clincher for me - which indisputably shows the authors' bias - is that Canada ranks #1 in people protesting GMOs and nuclear power, and the authors consider this a good sign that their population is scientifically literate!

    The authors should get back to euphorically sniffing their own armpits, and stop pretending to be scientists. Or whatever you call the people that work at science museums.

  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @06:54PM (#47780325)

    I am canadian, and if we are the most scientiically literate. I really pity the rest of you.

    I don't think this poll was really measuring anything. Asking people if they believe in the statement "We depend too much on science and not enough on faith" is not measuring their knowledge of science at all. Someone that has no scientific education could disagree, while a PhD in astrophysics may think otherwise. It is also implying a conflict between faith and knowledge. Through history, most scientists have also held religious beliefs. Isaac Newton was a devout Christian. Does that mean he was "scientifically illiterate"?

  • by quantaman (517394) on Friday August 29, 2014 @12:32AM (#47781951)

    I am canadian, and if we are the most scientiically literate. I really pity the rest of you.

    I pity us also. Does Canada have lots of relatively successful* politicians with whackadoodle opinions on climate change, Earth's age, and female reproductive biology?

    * In terms of votes, not intelligence ranking.

    True but it's much more a piece of trivia than a politically relevant fact.

    A few years back I remember an article about Stephan Dion and Jack Layton (the then leaders of the 2nd and 3rd largest parties in a minority Parliament) claiming they were both atheists.

    I don't know if it was true or not, I honestly didn't care that much. The astounding thing was that was the opinion shared by the overwhelming majority of online comments on the website of what I recall was a right wing paper. A few engaged in mild speculation but no one really cared enough to even dig or get emotional.

    These were the 2nd and 3rd most important politicians in the country and the topic of their religious affiliation was so irrelevant people scarcely bothered to investigate.

    By contrast the US is so obsessed with religion that congress doesn't have a single open atheist [freethoughtblogs.com]. Not to mention the massive religious examinations of presidential candidates.

    Sure this stuff does become relevant, particularly with regards to climate change, but we have nowhere near the culture wars that are going on in the US.

  • by Gavrielkay (1819320) on Friday August 29, 2014 @01:40AM (#47782175)
    I shouldn't respond to a troll... but how about ban abortion until men suffer the exact same social disgrace as women for having children out of wedlock. Or suffer the same career setbacks, the same physical burden, the same social expectation of putting all of your dreams aside to raise a kid. There is no male equivalent to carrying a developing child around inside you for 9 months and therefore I see no reason why the law should treat them the same.

    If you are a man who absolutely does not want a child, then you'd best find a woman who agrees with you. And if you're a man who absolutely couldn't bear to have your child aborted, then again, you'd best find someone who agrees with you. Using the law to force a woman to carry your child around for 9 months is horrible, as is forcing her to abort because the man doesn't want it.

    It's the woman's body and it should be between her and her doctor what happens to it.

Moneyliness is next to Godliness. -- Andries van Dam

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