America has a problem -- a scientific-literacy problem. You don't have to know what the Krebs cycle is in order to have a good life, but your ability to discern true from false in the health sciences can have a real impact on your quality of life. And, unfortunately, there are several reasons why pseudoscience, and belief in it, is on the rise.
First is the fact that it's more likely for present-day Americans to have a college degree than generations past. This sounds like it should be a protective factor, but the fact is, curriculum in the arts and humanities (business, architecture, literature) is strong on teaching argumentation skills, and weak on teaching critical thinking skills. For this reason, educated people are often very good at defending what they believe, and not very good at examining why they believe it, and whether it's really true. Besides which, they're inclined to think, "How can I not be a good thinker? I have a college degree!"
Then there's "backfire effect." Believe it or not, presenting people with facts that contradict their preferred beliefs actually causes them to dig in deeper. People respond with knee-jerk defenses like "So what?" to "That's not the point" to "I'm sure that study was paid for by [insert Corrupt Powerful Lobby here]."
Is there any help for this conundrum? Will we ever dig our way out of this hole? Be a part of the solution -- take our quiz now!
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