An investigation of cultural differences in understanding science

"The force of science has always, in modern times, been a major factor shaping social and cultural patterns (Roberts, 1967, p. 247)." The current level of scientific technology enables considerable power over matter and multiplies the conveniences or pleasures of life for most of the United States population. By-products of space technology in medical research, textile development and recycling techniques have directly or indirectly affected everyone. The multi-billion dollar automobile industry influences the unemployment rate, social patterns dependent on personal mobility, traffic congestion, and air pollution. Computers check newborn infants' blood for genetic defects, program students into their classes, bill credit card users, and calculate social security payments to the aged. From advances in standard of living to social consequences of technology, science affects everyone. To make intelligent choices in the market place of products or the market place of ideas, science should be understood by everyone. Citizens must be scientifically literate in order to make decisions about national and personal goals.

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