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Quote of the Day: Science Literacy is the Cure for the Recent Measles Outbreak


While the measles outbreak in Brooklyn is the worst in decades, it’s only the latest in a long line of crises that can be traced to a lack of science literacy and quality education.

Our public health and children’s lives are at risk because so many parents, community leaders and policymakers lack the science literacy and critical-thinking skills to decipher fact from fiction.

This widespread dismissal of science is a pandemic, and with each new crisis, it becomes clearer that we are treating the symptoms instead of the underlying disease. From vaccine skepticism to climate-change denial, ignoring proven science could have life-threatening or even catastrophic results.

We must address the root cause and support and invest in STEM education and public science literacy before the damage is irreversible. The health and safety of our communities and future generations depend on it.

— Maya Ajmera, president and chief executive of the Society for Science & the Public and the publisher of Science News, New York Times

Further Information

Please read an excellent article on the subject by Annie Laurie Gaylor titled, Is it a Measles Pandemic or is it Really a Crisis in Critical Thinking Skills?


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    Excellent article.

    But is it so unexpected?
    Any nation that allows someone such as Ken Ham and his ilk free reign, or a bunch of radical Rabbis access to the foreskin of baby boys should not really be that surprised at such aberrant behaviour.

    I’ll venture that there are also plenty of non-religious people who have jumped aboard the anti-vaccine bus.
    And to think, Kennedy organised for men to walk on the moon back in the sixties.
    Unless of course it was all staged in a Hollywood studio?
    It wasn’t, was it?

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    I had to learn about evolution as an adult because the fundamentalist Christian school I attended didn’t teach it – or rather, they taught us puerile rebuttals to what they inaccurately portrayed evolution to be. When my older kid took honors biology in a highly ranked public high school, I asked her about what was taught about evolution. It was rudimentary at best, a brief history of Darwin’s study on natural selection. With such basic exposure, is it any wonder that kids raised religious still believe the fairytale of creationism? They didn’t learn anything about the science behind vaccines, just the fact that the polio vaccine was developed by Jonas Salk and that it eradicated a prevalent disease. Math and literature classes are often where critical thinking skills are acquired as well, but not everyone learns those skills there either. Even in college, a liberal arts school requires a broad base of study across disciplines, but one doesn’t drill down on particular topics unless they are majoring in the topic. I am not surprised people believe ridiculous things – plus, there’s so much information online that it’s difficult to discern fact from fiction.

    It isn’t just fundies who fall prey to misinformation either. I have a coworker who is anti-vax, and he has a degree from Northeastern and is a well-read individual. Fortunately he doesn’t have kids.

    A math teacher with whom my husband used to teach is an evangelical Christian who believes in creationism. He posted an AIG article recently about the eye and how mathematically it must have been designed. My husband tried to engage him by saying you can still believe in God and evolution and that the mathematics presented in the article were incomplete. He wanted to have a discussion but the friend, as a biblical inerrantist, refused.

    A former classmate from fundy Christian school is a pediatrician who is constantly trying to inform his mostly evangelical client base that God isn’t opposed to vaccines; that they’re safe AND effective; that vaccines save lives.

    I don’t have the answers, but a lot of people believe a lot of ridiculous things.

  3. Pingback:Oh, Jesus …. I’m coming! When a prick is all you need. – A Tale Unfolds

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    I am so enraged that my 6-month-old grandson could be infected by being exposed to someone who was not vaccinated, as he is not able to receive the measles vaccine until the age of 1 year. People should not be able to withhold vaccines from their children, only from themselves. But when their actions cross over into the territory of exposing random people – especially children – the decision should be taken out of their hands. Measles CAN be fatal.

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    Ironically, people who claim to be “pro-life” are sometimes also wacky enough to be anti-vaxers. Of course by immunizing you’re helping yourself, but you’re also preventing the most vulnerable people who can’t be immunized because they are too young or immune compromised to get vaccinated.

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