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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 Tablizer (95088) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @07:36PM (#47780181) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by Beck_Neard (3612467) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @07:48PM (#47780299)

    As someone who is not Canadian but has lived in Canada... whoo boy, you have no idea. I'm not surprised by this article in the least. Now if only it weren't so cold...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28, 2014 @07:51PM (#47780309)

    Thanks Bob McDonald and David Suzuki!

  • by radtea (464814) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @09:03PM (#47780811)

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

    We are having a bit of a moment with some wack-jobs in the "Conservative" Party of Canada at the moment, which is actually a radical populist party that is opposed to everything conservatism in this country has ever stood for (fiscal probity, institutional stability, Westminsterian democracy...)

    A few of the loonier tunes, like Justice Minister Peter McKay, seem to believe that women have no agency (or at least that's what one infers from his attempts to push a "Swedish model" prostitution law through the system) and I believe former party leader [*] Stockwell Day is on record for a Young Earth.

    This has more to do with the wonderful (and I do mean that seriously) randomness of our electoral system, which is capable of electing a majority government with 35% of the vote, as well as the institutional disarray of the Liberal Party in the past decade. We're reasonably likely to throw the bastards out next year, although the Liberals have more than a few loonies of their own.

    [*] The history of the CPC is complex, but Day was the leader of one of it's fore-runners about ten years ago.

  • by Skarjak (3492305) on Friday August 29, 2014 @12:37AM (#47781753)

    Bill 101 is necessary to preserve French in a sea of anglophones. Look at francophone communities outside of Quebec. Their numbers are diminishing. Unfortunately, we have to impose regulations to protect our language. You also have to remember that not long ago, almost all of the wealth of the province belonged to anglophones. People think that stuff is ancient history, but my grand-parents can tell you about living in a Quebec dominated by an english minority. Bill 101 exists in part to ensure that francophones will never again be second class citizens. They can get overzealous at times, but if you spend any amount of time on slashdot, you know government fuck ups are a reality. The bill does a lot more good than harm. I am disappointed that so many anglophones seem to think Quebecois are some kind of strange animal, that we act irrationally, when if you understand where we're coming from and what our values are, our actions make perfect sense. I think if bilingualism was more common in the country, then people could read french media for themselves and realize that we make a lot of sense, rather than getting second hand information with some bias thrown in. That would solve a lot of issues.

    As for the attitude you got, that's a pretty unfortunate reality of a polarized country. There's generally more resentment amongst the older folks or the less educated, or those who are less in contact with anglophones. We're like 2 generations away from having taken control of our province, so it'll take a little while for that stuff to die down. The important thing is that these people are not given a podium and do not have an opinion that is considered mainstream, so their ignorance will disappear with them. Reading newspapers from other provinces, and having lived in Toronto for a while, the anti-Quebec sentiment, while not shared by every Canadian, seems a lot more mainstream...

    Anyway, I'm sorry people treated you badly, but I thought the comment I was replying to was an all too common gratuitous attack. When people start talking about which region of a country is "the worst", you know that this way lies terrible generalization. You don't add to it by bashing your favourite target...

  • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Friday August 29, 2014 @03:35AM (#47782351) Homepage Journal

    More fun statistics, from Wikipedia:

    • - Canada has 67% Christians and the United States has 73%
    • - 24% of Canadians and 20% of Americans declare no religious affiliation.
    • - Only 7% of Canadians are Evangelicals compared to the US's 30-35%.

    ...I was going somewhere with the Evangelicals stat, since they're generally the most fervent, but then I realised that there are plenty of insufferably stolid palaeoconservative Anglicans in the UK and it wasn't really a point worth making.

    It really comes down to the fundamental collectivist-vs-individualist difference between the Canadian and American cultures, I think; despite Stephen Harper's best efforts to destroy the country, our charter of rights and freedoms was still a missive about how we were free from harassment by peers (thus sending the message "we are all siblings"), as contrasted with the American declaration of independence's emphasis on being free from harassment by authority (thus sending the message "you are free to do as you please"). Interestingly, a hundred years ago you would not really find this; Canada was just as much of a racist hellhole as the US at the time, although as there were practically no black people we could only complain about other European ethnicities. It was only as our population and economy fell behind, and we started accepting in huge numbers of immigrants following World War II, that this really started to take shape.

    I'm sure the relatively weak levels of religious conviction help too (only 25% of Christians attend church regularly in Canada; above the rates of Northern Europe but far below the rate in the US) and that is doubtlessly a function of what flavour (can we call them 'distros' yet?) of Christianity is in question, too, since many Anglican ministers now preach actual biblical scholarship (my favourite quote, heavily paraphrased, is "Hell (as a threat) was invented in the Middle Ages") rather than what most think of as the typical naive system of "swallow-and-enjoy-your-life-textbook-with-no-critical-thinking" morality. Whatever the exact impact of each component is, it doesn't really jive with the idea of excluding us poor little minority atheists.

    ...except maybe in profoundly Catholic areas. I bet they care more in Newfoundland and Quebec. British Columbia is barely half Christian (54.9%) so you can bet they sure don't.

  • by MouseR (3264) on Friday August 29, 2014 @09:30AM (#47783763) Homepage

    Nobody asked me if I wanted to be baptized. They do this at a young enough age you have no idea whats going on.

    Couldn't give a hoot if they splashed water on me.

    Born Christian, soon realized it's all hogwash.

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