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I've heard intelligence and cynicism go hand in hand, and I agree with that. Science is wonderful, but the moment you learn about how unscientific your country or the world is, you instantly feel alone and as if science isn't important to the majority.And you SEE it, too! A site like this one (while I think it's great how populated it is) could be WAY bigger if people were more interested in science.But what if most people actually are, but were like me a few months ago and didn't know sites like this existed? I'm as cynical as a semi-suicidal holding on to life because maybe I'm wrong about my country and this world being doomed to every degree. I saw that recent video of Bill Nye (the Science Guy!) commenting on my country (the US) being very anti-science, and I've known this for a while now. It's depressed me to no end, as I'm sure it would anyone on this site.But recently I've had this question in my head that will not go away: 'All those statistics that say the majority of this state/country/world don't value science-- Where the HELL do they come from?'I have NEVER been 'counted' for any statistic. How many people can say the same thing? Or if most of it is voluntary, how many people just don't contribute to statistics? And the statistics that you see--How many of those have been bought and paid for to not be accurate? I could be depressed about nearly every person in my country (especially in the south) being a reality-ignorant bigot with no interest in improving the world-- When the real numbers would actually make me feel a little bit HOPEFUL for a change! And even more important, the young people who HEAR that the majority thinks science isn't important won't have to grow up believing it when the real stats say most people think every day is going to be our greatest adventure for science pretty soon.I was tempted to post this somewhere with a political theme, but I think statistics have more to do with math than politics. That and I think there be less trolls in these waters.Help me out, here. Main questions:- How is most statistic information about ANY detail about a population obtained?- Is there a statistic for people like me--the people who AREN'T counted? So if a statistic says 'x of all Americans are religious,' remove 30% of that because there are a LOT of uncounted atheists?
Statistics get a good rap because they are used by scientists to extract the true data from the noise. They get a bad rap because they are used by politically biased groups to extract the results they want by not allowing for the biased noise (propaganda, religious and political psychological manipulation of the populace, censorship).
I guess being a member of this site, I am biased, but I don't see that attitudes of science has reached the level of apathy that confusedhermit is concerned about. Of course I have no statistics to back me up I think science has definitely changed and we live in a society where incredible breakthroughs in thinking by individuals such as Newton, Einstein etc. are not the way science moves forward. I think that because science is so integrated in everything we do and so many more people are working in research, the "breakthroughs" have fizzled down to very specific applications, and therefore the media doesn't really care as much.I think science is taken for granted rather than shunned.I'm concerned about William McCormick's attitude to what science is. To me, the wonderful thing about science is that it is completely open minded. The only limitation that a (true) scientific mind should apply to the world is based on what is observed. Science loves proving itself wrong, because you can never really prove a theory correct, you can only fail to disprove it. And if the observations don't match up with current theories, then BAM! Current theories are thrown out the door and new theories are proposed in their place.I also like the whole concept of peer review which allows an individual's research to be cross-examined by the scientific community to ensure that it is robust enough to stand up.So anyway William McCormack, ironically perhaps I think you're wrong. I think that science is not about what is right and what is wrong, but about finding the most accurate match to the observations. You need to keep an open mind to the fact that you may be wrong, and with enough evidence, be willing to change your mind.Ahhh Science!