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Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

timothy posted about three weeks ago | from the one-end-of-the-moose-has-more-gravity dept.

Canada 221

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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Could have fooled me (5, Insightful)

RichMan (8097) | about three weeks ago | (#47780043)

I am canadian, and if we are the most scientiically literate. I really pity the rest of you.

Re: Could have fooled me (3, Funny)

itsenrique (846636) | about three weeks ago | (#47780085)

There are cynics everywhere...

Re:Could have fooled me (4, Interesting)

Tablizer (95088) | about three weeks ago | (#47780181)

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.

Re:Could have fooled me (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47780263)

Stephen Harper fits that bill... as do a number of people in his cabinet.

Stuff like that tends to float to the top.

Re:Could have fooled me (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47780409)

There is no such thing as "female reproductive biology". Mammal reproductive biology use two sexes.

Giving female privileges over reproduction is giving them control of the other part of the biology. eg; the men.

If women do not like when men 'legislate their uterus' then women should not impose fatherhood upon men. If men should have just 'think about it before fucking' then women should just think about it before fucking as well. Ban abortion until everyone has the same right to reject fatherhood/motherhood.

Re:Could have fooled me (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47780535)

Fix the mod system. Add a comment field. Mod with no valid reason should be cancelled and karma purged.

Why is the above comment moded down? Do you disagree with equal rights? Are you a fascist? Please enlighten me, do not just moderate in silence.

Re:Could have fooled me (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about three weeks ago | (#47780863)

It's offtopic? It's flamebait?

Re:Could have fooled me (1)

scarboni888 (1122993) | about three weeks ago | (#47781217)

Correct!

Re:Could have fooled me (4, Interesting)

radtea (464814) | about three weeks ago | (#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.

Re:Could have fooled me (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about three weeks ago | (#47781375)

Funny, I bet you weren't complaining when the liberals held a government with a "small minority of the electorate" from 1993 to 2006. But held a majority in parliament.

Re:Could have fooled me (1, Funny)

supernova87a (532540) | about three weeks ago | (#47780191)

I am canadian, and if we are the most scientiically literate. I really pity the rest of you.

If this is what passes for grammar and sentence construction in the most scientifically literate country, I really do pity all the rest of us.

Re:Could have fooled me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47780251)

this is slashdot, not a dissertation.

  who cares.

Re:Could have fooled me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47780333)

It's kind of amusing, when the topic is education related...

Re:Could have fooled me (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47780709)

Indeed, why worry about scientific illiteracy when humanity is threatened by typos?

:s/\./,/

Do you feel safer now? Or are you objecting even to the first comma?

Re:Could have fooled me (3, Funny)

phrostie (121428) | about three weeks ago | (#47780273)

well, for what it's worth, you have the best SciFi.

Re:Could have fooled me (5, Interesting)

Beck_Neard (3612467) | about three weeks ago | (#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...

Re:Could have fooled me (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47780309)

Thanks Bob McDonald and David Suzuki!

Re:Could have fooled me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47780437)

Also thanks Quebec for raising the Canadian average on science literacy and scepticism of religion.

Re:Could have fooled me (1, Offtopic)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about three weeks ago | (#47780445)

Suzuki is a tree hugging hippie. He jumped the shark a LONG time ago.

Re:Could have fooled me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47780705)

Hugging trees is a bad thing? Or is that code for "he dares to speak against the unbridled amassing of profit at the expense of the health of the environment and people, and therefore must be discredited"? I'd be interested to hear your justification for claiming that he jumped the shark. You may be right... but at the moment I'm doubtful.

Re:Could have fooled me (3, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about three weeks ago | (#47780325)

I am canadian, and if we are the most scientiically literate. I really pity the rest of you.

I don't think this poll was really measuring anything. Asking people if they believe in the statement "We depend too much on science and not enough on faith" is not measuring their knowledge of science at all. Someone that has no scientific education could disagree, while a PhD in astrophysics may think otherwise. It is also implying a conflict between faith and knowledge. Through history, most scientists have also held religious beliefs. Isaac Newton was a devout Christian. Does that mean he was "scientifically illiterate"?

Re:Could have fooled me (2)

evenmoreconfused (451154) | about three weeks ago | (#47781123)

According to TFA, there are several different sections. The statement about depending on science was from a portion designed to clarify prevailing attitudes towards science in general. It was separate from the part evaluating scientific literacy.

[The report] contains the results of a new public survey that assesses Canadians’ science attitudes, engagement, and knowledge. The report reviews data on Canadians’ science skills and the current peer-reviewed literature on science culture. It also features an inventory and analysis of the organizations and programs that support and promote science culture in Canada, particularly among youth.

However, it turns out the survey was commissioned by a number of Canadian agencies. It was performed internationally, but a Canadian report saying Canada is number one in science is at best somewhat suspect.

More useless statistics... (1)

s.petry (762400) | about three weeks ago | (#47780327)

No offense intended to any Canadians, I spent a good amount of time in Windsor when I lived in Michigan and long time family friends are from Windsor. Better beer than the US, and not much different than folks in the US (minus the "aboot time" and "eh", but we have people in the US with their own quirks).

The study is by the Council of Canadian Academies. An immediate question of bias should pop into your head with that little fact. There was exactly one person on the council not from Canada, who happened to be from London.

Where did Canada really rank #1 (p19)? 93% said they were interested in scientific discoveries and technological developments. Big whoop to that, I know lots of people believe "The Big Bang Theory" is where they should learn science. Interest levels help for sure, but if there is no market for scientists then they will have Big Bang for entertainment and learn jobs that are actually available. This brings us to their other number one.

#1 with tertiary education. Considering that they rank 22nd with the percentage of population working in science and technology, most of that tertiary education is _NOT_ in science or technology.

There are some very questionable measures overall, but we can skip those for now. I think the most telling is that the numbers they are comparing are to other countries from 2005 answers to similar questions. Discussing GMO today compared to 9 years ago is going to provide drastically different results in all countries (one example of a bad statistic). If you are doing a study and claiming you are now smarter than someone, at least test them at their current level too.

Re:More useless statistics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47780547)

Windsor is well known as the rectum of Canada (by the US comedian we are most jealous did not come from our soil).

https://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/dailybrew/stephen-colbert-takes-another-poke-windsor-calling-earth-155642160.html

Please don't judge all Canada based on it's worst part. We don't all assume you all hail from the boot hills of Missouri (well, ok, maybe the scientific parts)

Re:More useless statistics... (1)

s.petry (762400) | about three weeks ago | (#47780657)

I don't judge Canada poorly by people from Windsor, those were the people I referred to as mostly like Americans. IMHO the worst part of Canada is in French Quebec, and not because of guns or violence but because the people there hate anyone that's not a French speaker from Quebec (and have no problem spitting on people and telling them to get the fuck out of Quebec).

My family is mostly blue collar workers from Detroit, and most people in Windsor are similar blue collar types.

Re:More useless statistics... (1)

master_kaos (1027308) | about three weeks ago | (#47781085)

yes worst part in Canada is definitely Quebec, but Windsor is really a shit-hole. Everyone hates Windsor.

Re:More useless statistics... (1)

Skarjak (3492305) | about three weeks ago | (#47781247)

Almost every single article anglophones write about Quebec serves to bash the province. Seriously, compare the anglophone press to the francophone press. The propaganda campaign form the english side is ridiculous, and then they have the gall to project their xenophobia onto quebecois and make claims about how racist we are. I'm glad that we are taking the high road on this, but the baseless accusations levied at us from anglophones only serves to strenghten the anti-Canada sentiment here. But by all means, please use this discussion on Canada to inform us of your dislike for Quebec, it's not like that's particularly uncommon.

Re:More useless statistics... (1)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | about three weeks ago | (#47781423)

they have the gall to project their xenophobia onto quebecois and make claims about how racist we are...

I'm Canadian, I like Quebec, and I've met some fine, fun people in Montreal, which is mostly pretty welcoming to Anglophones like me. But more than once I've gotten a surly "maudit Anglais" attitude from people in less populated areas when I stop at a gas station or a depanneur.

Bill 101 and its revisions, (Bill 14 in particular), can also be a sore point, especially when taken to the extreme of ordering businesses to translate English Facebook pages into French [huffingtonpost.ca] .

Re:More useless statistics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47780619)

You think people get educated from their job? That is truly hilarious.

Re:More useless statistics... (1)

s.petry (762400) | about three weeks ago | (#47781119)

What is more hilarious is your ignorance regarding education required for a job(feigned or otherwise). If you have a mechanical engineering degree, you are not going to go out and be a plumber (at least legally in most places). Plumbing requires trade school and certification, not a mechanical engineering degree. As with college, that requires money and time to achieve.

After you get your apprentice certification, you will work on your Journeyman certification, then you will be working toward master certification. None of this will be applied to a PHD.

The hype about STEM is mostly just hype. Society can not function if everyone is a brain surgeon, ever. You need plumbers, welders, mechanics, farmers, textile industry, etc.. etc... and the education for those types of jobs is very different from that of a nuclear physicist.

Re:Could have fooled me (1)

Krishnoid (984597) | about three weeks ago | (#47780345)

Well, the survey really only considered scientific literacy in moose and beavers. I think that was mentioned in a footnote.

Re:Could have fooled me (1)

dlingman (1757250) | about three weeks ago | (#47781401)

No, that's Moose and Squirrel...

Re:Could have fooled me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47781043)

I am canadian, and if we are the most scientiically literate. I really pity the rest of you.

Oh shut the hell up. I couldn't make it past the 55% statistic. If you think being scientifically challenged is bad, try mass ignorance.

Re:Could have fooled me (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about three weeks ago | (#47781315)

No kidding. One of the scariest quotes of the article: "42 per cent of Canadians are able to read and understand newspaper stories detailing scientific findings."

The scary part is Canada is ahead of everyone else on that stat. Newspaper stories are not exactly deep in scientific detail and hard-to-understand words.

Re:Could have fooled me (1)

Bodhammer (559311) | about three weeks ago | (#47781479)

Eh?

Those stupid Canadians! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47780047)

They think maple syrup grows on trees!

Re:Those stupid Canadians! (2, Informative)

vux984 (928602) | about three weeks ago | (#47780095)

They think maple syrup grows on trees!

No they don't. It grows IN trees not on them; that's why you need to install a tap.

Re:Those stupid Canadians! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47780153)

Ya, that one just flew right on over your head eh?

Re:Those stupid Canadians! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47780319)

actually i'd say his comment was both funnier and whittier

Re:Those stupid Canadians! (2)

cyberchondriac (456626) | about three weeks ago | (#47780825)

They think maple syrup grows on trees!

No they don't. It grows IN trees not on them; that's why you need to install a tap.

This is a whoosh, but even more of a whoosh to whomever modded it informative.

Re:Those stupid Canadians! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47780199)

They think maple syrup grows on trees!

The translation from Quebecois to English caused your confusion. Ha! Ha!

Re:Those stupid Canadians! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47780645)

Ah, karma whores always going for the low hanging fruit.

I find this hard to believe.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47780077)

... when our government frequently tries neuter science in the name of their own personal beliefs:

http://www.academicmatters.ca/2013/05/harpers-attack-on-science-no-science-no-evidence-no-truth-no-democracy/

Re:I find this hard to believe.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47780097)

... when our government frequently tries neuter science in the name of their own personal beliefs:

http://www.academicmatters.ca/2013/05/harpers-attack-on-science-no-science-no-evidence-no-truth-no-democracy/

Maybe it proves the populace is smarter than the prime minister thinks or is willing to admit.

Re:I find this hard to believe.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47780307)

Canuck secret: "Prime Minister" is our way of saying "village idiot". Never did the best or brightest ever gravitate to Canadian politics. On the plus side at least he isn't a trigger-happy nutter [slashdot.org] with a zoophilia fetish... [youtube.com]

Re:I find this hard to believe.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47780411)

Unfortunately, the prime minister is in the driver's seat, not the populace.

Re:I find this hard to believe.. (1)

MIchael Vester (2855763) | about three weeks ago | (#47780211)

... when our government frequently tries neuter science in the name of their own personal beliefs:

http://www.academicmatters.ca/2013/05/harpers-attack-on-science-no-science-no-evidence-no-truth-no-democracy/

Our prime misiter is a bat shit crazy fundementalist Christian, a member of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. He has done a pretty good job keeping his craziness to himself. He did bring up Canada's legalization of gay marriage as an open vote in parliment. The law stood and that was it. He has set out little feelers to see if he can make abortion illegal. I think he realizes he would never get re-elected if he really tried.

Stephen Harper doing his best to change that (5, Informative)

jblb (2639331) | about three weeks ago | (#47780105)

The current regime seems pretty anti-science though, unless it is directly related to increasing tar sands oil extraction efficiency? http://science.slashdot.org/st... [slashdot.org] http://news.slashdot.org/story... [slashdot.org]

Re:Stephen Harper doing his best to change that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47780205)

Ooga booga boo! Stephen Harper!

I'm going to make a Harper scarecrow and put it on my front yard. Should keep the liberals away.

The problem with beaurocrats. (-1, Troll)

jedidiah (1196) | about three weeks ago | (#47780111)

Before you can pay for it or get it for free it's got to be authorized first. While actually being responsible for yourself can be a burden it also allows you to take command of the situation. That's something that is typically overlooked by people rushing to worship nanny state polices.

See the VA.

Re:The problem with beaurocrats. (0)

PPH (736903) | about three weeks ago | (#47780193)

worship nanny state polices.

That's their religion. The 25% who rely on faith are praying they don't die before they get to the head of the queue*.

It looked like a pretty good summary until our fearless editor had to pull that healthcare stuff out of his ass.

*I live near the border and I can see all the wealthy Canadians bypass the socialized system by coming down here with cash.

Re:The problem with beaurocrats. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47780485)

*I live near the border and I can see all the wealthy Canadians bypass the socialized system by coming down here with cash.

Canada is not a jail. Rich fucks are free to spend their money on luxurious hospital. Canadian hospital are plain, but get the job done for everyone. Including the middle class, not just a rich fuck that travel in fascist* jet.

* Notice how I use a derogatory term in place of 'private' the same way you use 'socialized' instead of 'public' like any sane person would.

Re:The problem with beaurocrats. (1)

dryeo (100693) | about three weeks ago | (#47780813)

Our health care system is pretty stressed out by all the average Americans sneaking up here and pretending to be Canadian so they can get some treatment. I pity the poor American who can't even afford to come up here.
Of course the wealthy people go to Cuba, India, Thailand or such for inexpensive medical care.

Re:The problem with beaurocrats. (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | about three weeks ago | (#47780841)

Life expectancy in Canada(82.5) is longer than in the USA(79.8), so apparently those health care queue's aren't that lethal. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L... [wikipedia.org]

Re:The problem with beaurocrats. (4, Informative)

CanadianRealist (1258974) | about three weeks ago | (#47780991)

I live near the border and I can see all the wealthy Canadians bypass the socialized system by coming down here with cash.

Now look across the border and see the non wealthy Canadians who still get treated* without going bankrupt just because they got sick. Who don't have to worry about what a trip to the doctor will cost when they need treatment. (*Get treated, including preventative care, without having to wait until problems become serious enough to justify a trip to the emergency room.)

The US health care system may be really good for the wealthy, but it really is not so good for the non wealthy people who can't afford it. We socialist Canadians think everyone should have health care.

Re:The problem with beaurocrats. (1)

Anon-Admin (443764) | about three weeks ago | (#47780221)

Wait, you mean the VA is not one of the best health care systems in the world?

I just watched the president on TV say that the "VA was one of the best healthcare systems in the world for those who can get in."

ROLF! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47780161)

" the vaunted Canadian healthcare system"

- 17 hour average wait time in the Emergency Room
- Months on waiting lists to be seen by a specialist
- Many more months to start receiving treatment
- Years on the waiting list for things like knee, hip replacement

A 60 year old Canadian who has been waiting for years to be assigned a family doctor, who has to reserve an appointment 3 months ahead of time to see a cardiologist

You gotta be shitting me with your "vaunted Canadian healthcare system"

Re:ROLF! (0)

maliqua (1316471) | about three weeks ago | (#47780335)

yes that's a pretty accurate summary of our healthcare system.

At one point our healthcare was actually quite good, but that was some time ago. The government seems to think as long as it has a good reputation internationally its not really worth fixing.

Re:ROLF! (2)

Livius (318358) | about three weeks ago | (#47780337)

Canadian health care has its problems, but it's still better than most of the alternatives.

However, the problem with public health care is that Canadians generally do not think about how their medical services are provided, and thus they are unaware of how much they cost, whether they are cost effective, and whether they represent the latest technological advances. The last point is why the summary's suggestion is laughable.

Re:ROLF! (1)

Guy Harris (3803) | about three weeks ago | (#47780383)

Canadian health care has its problems, but it's still better than most of the alternatives.

Better than, say, the health care systems in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Taiwan, etc.?

Re:ROLF! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47780691)

Better than, say, the health care systems in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Taiwan, etc.?

there are a lot of shitty developing countries with healthcare that's much worse, and there's the united states.

There are a good number with better healthcare than Canada no question, but the number of countries with much worse or none eclipses that list

Nice article. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47780173)

An interesting read, but could have done without the flamebait healthcare stuff.

Depend on faith? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47780179)

"Depend" on faith? "Depend" on faith? Do these people not eat food, drink water or drive vehicles?

Words fail me.

Depend on faith? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47780261)

Words fail me.

They certainly did.

Re:Depend on faith? (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about three weeks ago | (#47780305)

I think what the question really shows is that Canadians have a much stronger grasp of the English language, and don't see a few buzzwords and ignore the context. It's one thing to "walk by faith and not by sight" but quite another to think that we depend too much on knowledge (science = knowledge... scientific method or scientists are different kettles of poutine).

Biased (4, Insightful)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about three weeks ago | (#47780237)

"[O]nly 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."

Seriously? I was expecting a survey of scientific literacy to be about, you know, scientific literacy, not asking people the relative merits, as it were, between science and religion.

I'm not sure how this proves, quote, "Canada is a nation of science geeks." It's a complete non-sequitor. It doesn't even match the data, in which 58% of Canadians couldn't understand basic science concepts from newspaper stories, and in which Canada ranks 19th out of 29th in science degrees (by percentage).

Contrawise, Americans, sure, value religion probably more highly than other countries, and might even think that we could use more religion, but that is not a question of scientific literacy or attitudes towards science in and of itself. It seems to presuppose the long-discredited Conflict Thesis, which states that religion and science are inherently always in conflict.

The clincher for me - which indisputably shows the authors' bias - is that Canada ranks #1 in people protesting GMOs and nuclear power, and the authors consider this a good sign that their population is scientifically literate!

The authors should get back to euphorically sniffing their own armpits, and stop pretending to be scientists. Or whatever you call the people that work at science museums.

Re:Biased (1)

m00sh (2538182) | about three weeks ago | (#47780723)

"[O]nly 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."

Seriously? I was expecting a survey of scientific literacy to be about, you know, scientific literacy, not asking people the relative merits, as it were, between science and religion.

I'm not sure how this proves, quote, "Canada is a nation of science geeks." It's a complete non-sequitor. It doesn't even match the data, in which 58% of Canadians couldn't understand basic science concepts from newspaper stories, and in which Canada ranks 19th out of 29th in science degrees (by percentage).

Contrawise, Americans, sure, value religion probably more highly than other countries, and might even think that we could use more religion, but that is not a question of scientific literacy or attitudes towards science in and of itself. It seems to presuppose the long-discredited Conflict Thesis, which states that religion and science are inherently always in conflict.

The clincher for me - which indisputably shows the authors' bias - is that Canada ranks #1 in people protesting GMOs and nuclear power, and the authors consider this a good sign that their population is scientifically literate!

The authors should get back to ...

Well, Canada is top of the science-something from the data.

For the purposes of the study, science-literate is a new term which means tops in those criteria studied.

For the matter of however it correlates to whatever way you define literacy is not the author's problem. They collected the data and Canada is at the top in the data they collected. Science-literacy is not laid out, well defined term so you go

euphorically sniffing their own armpits, and stop pretending to be scientists. Or whatever you call the people that work at science museums.

Re:Biased (5, Informative)

radtea (464814) | about three weeks ago | (#47780761)

The clincher for me - which indisputably shows the authors' bias - is that Canada ranks #1 in people protesting GMOs and nuclear power, and the authors consider this a good sign that their population is scientifically literate!

The report says nothing of the kind. Did you read it? GMOs and nuclear power are mentioned as divisive issues, but there is no data on the ranking of people against them.

The Globe and Mail article says, "Canadians also expressed the lowest level of reservation about science and its impacts. Compared with the U.S., Europe and Japan, far fewer Canadians said that they thought science is making our way of life change too fast."

Sounds about right.

Canadians are generally very aware that our lives would be miserable if it weren't for science and technology keeping us safe and warm and fed. We have our tree-hugging reactionaries, of course, but they have far less influence than you might think despite the vast amounts of noise (and I do mean "noise" in the information theoretic sense) they generate.

Re:Biased (1)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about three weeks ago | (#47781427)

The clincher for me - which indisputably shows the authors' bias - is that Canada ranks #1 in people protesting GMOs and nuclear power, and the authors consider this a good sign that their population is scientifically literate!

The report says nothing of the kind. Did you read it? GMOs and nuclear power are mentioned as divisive issues, but there is no data on the ranking of people against them.

Well, for some reason the CBC's coverage of this [www.cbc.ca] seems to think that Canada is 3rd out of 33 countries in having high numbers protesting nuclear power. I haven't read the full report, but either (1) the CBC is wrong, (2) you're wrong, or (3) the CBC is reporting based on true information that isn't in the report you read.

Regardless, it sounds like SOMEBODY did a survey comparing attitudes about at least nuclear power and found Canadians were near the top in terms of objecting and protesting.

Reading comprehension. Do you have it? (1)

pavon (30274) | about three weeks ago | (#47780815)

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

They measured multiple things! The statement "We depend too much on science and not enough on faith" was measuring attitudes about science, and neither the article nor the report present it as an example of scientific literacy. Here is what the article stated as proof of scientific literacy from the article:

Among the most striking results from the survey is that Canada ranks first in science literacy, with 42 per cent of Canadians able to read and understand newspaper stories detailing scientific findings.

The executive summary of the report goes on to list some tests as an additional assessment:

Average score on OECD PISA 2012 science test: 525 (10th out of 65 countries)
Average score on OECD PISA 2012 math test: 518 (13th out of 65 countries)

Re:Biased (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47780823)

It doesn't even match the data, in which 58% of Canadians couldn't understand basic science concepts

But if you put that in context our 42% is ranked #1 out of 29

The clincher for me - which indisputably shows the authors' bias

Is when he misrepresented a stastic favorable to the authors point by not providing context, then following it with a fully qualified negative statistic in context.

and in which Canada ranks 19th out of 29th in science degrees (by percentage).

Re:Biased (4, Informative)

CanadianRealist (1258974) | about three weeks ago | (#47780871)

The linked article is not very clear. There's much better coverage on the CBC site. [www.cbc.ca]

The study considered two different things, scientific literacy, and level of reservations towards science.

The "we depend too much on science..." was from the second part - about reservations towards science.

The science literacy part asked questions like:
Does the sun go around the earth or does the earth go around the sun?
Human beings as we know them today developed from earlier species of animals. True or false?
Electrons are smaller than atoms. True or false?

Re:Biased (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about three weeks ago | (#47781319)

Does the sun go around the earth or does the earth go around the sun?

That's a tough question.

Re:Biased (2)

CanadianRealist (1258974) | about three weeks ago | (#47781459)

I guess it was for the 13% of people who got the wrong answer. I liked the following quote in the CBC article:

"While 87 per cent knowing that the earth goes around the sun is pretty good, that still leaves 13 per cent of Canadians that haven't absorbed the scientific knowledge of several centuries ago," Ingram said.

It was also a pretty tough question for the Catholic church for quite a long time. And their top guy is supposed to have a direct line to the guy who created the universe.

And then there are also plenty of people who still have problems with the second question, about humans evolving from earlier species.

Re:Biased (1)

aybiss (876862) | about three weeks ago | (#47781411)

"but that is not a question of scientific literacy"

Yes it is. If you believe you need more reliance on a 2000 year old fairy story in your country you can stay the fuck away from any science I have anything to do with.

The Law of the Jungle (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47780281)

Fact: fewer Negroes, ergo higher IQ.
Fact: Canada = fewer Negroes.
Fact: Canada --> higher IQ
Q.E.D.

Re:The Law of the Jungle (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about three weeks ago | (#47780919)

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_otfw... [blogspot.com]
What does that tell you?
Smart people live in China, parts of Europe and New Zealand.
Canada = Below average.
USA = Below average.

Science is a religion, so this makes no sense (-1, Offtopic)

MatthiasF (1853064) | about three weeks ago | (#47780331)

The fact people are convinced that Science is not a religion is really distressing. I know many people immediately think of religions as being relying heavily on the supernatural, but there are and have been plenty of religions that had no gods or mysticism. A religion itself is simply a set of shared beliefs, rituals and philosophies, just like culture is a shared set of preferences, symbols and styles.

Science itself is just that, a shared set of beliefs as detailed by theories, the Scientific method itself a dogma and there are numerous common philosophies mingled together all rooted in materialism.

The latter, materialism, is why most people do not believe Science is a religion, because most religions over the years always had elements that at face value seemed supernatural and thus non-material. This misinterpretation is mostly because materialists recognize integrated symbols (from the cultures of the people in the religions) or allegories as literal when that is not the case.

And this is also why there is so much of a rift in politics concerning Science, because many people that support it do not realize that the knowledge it presents is not absolute and thus just as fallible as some of the seemingly ludicrous alternatives. Numerous theories are also heavily laced with other religious beliefs and many people do not even see the relationship.

Don't get me wrong, there are numerous aspects to Science that have been a huge help to innovation and progress, such as the requirements of reproducibility, but anyone that thinks that the Scientific method is they ONLY way to discover things needs to spend some time diving into the history of humanity's technological progress.

Re:Science is a religion, so this makes no sense (1)

markringen (1501853) | about three weeks ago | (#47780449)

What complete and utter drivel (why did i have to see this?!?) pokes eyes out...

Re:Science is a religion, so this makes no sense (1)

istartedi (132515) | about three weeks ago | (#47780925)

The one reply to this so far is nothing more than an expression of disgust; but that's better than modding down. Remember, dear moderators, there is no -1 Disagree mod. The other negative mods are not there as substitutes. It was left out on purpose. If you want to refute the parent, put forth an argument.

Re:Science is a religion, so this makes no sense (1)

Patent Lover (779809) | about three weeks ago | (#47781057)

But there is -1 overrated which covers pretty much anything the modder wishes. Tough cookies.

Re:Science is a religion, so this makes no sense (1)

istartedi (132515) | about three weeks ago | (#47781467)

Overrated is not Disagree. Read the FAQ [slashdot.org]

Concentrate more on promoting than on demoting. Try to be impartial about this; simply disagreeing with a comment is not a valid reason to mark it down. The goal here is to share ideas, to sift through the haystack and find needles, and to keep spammers and griefers in check.

Sometimes comments are disproportionately up-moderatedâ"this probably means several moderators saw it at nearly the same time, and their cumulative scores exaggerated its merit. (Example: A knock-knock joke at +5, Funny.) Such a comment is Overrated.

Flamebait (1)

TranquilVoid (2444228) | about three weeks ago | (#47780389)

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."

Or conversely, maybe when the government looks after your health you don't need to worry about researching it yourself, and you take it for granted and don't value it as much. But let's stir up a big argument about capitalism versus socialism.

Re:Flamebait (2)

dryeo (100693) | about three weeks ago | (#47780853)

The governments (healthcare is a Provincial responsibility with the feds setting minimum standards and in charge of equalization payments) have an interest in educating the population on health as a healthy population is cheaper.

Is the anonymous reader aware of Europe? (4, Informative)

Guy Harris (3803) | about three weeks ago | (#47780393)

They say

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.

but it sounds as if they're comparing the Canadian system for paying for health care with the US system, as opposed to the systems used in for example, Western Europe.

Re:Is the anonymous reader aware of Europe? (1)

dryeo (100693) | about three weeks ago | (#47780867)

It's what we're most exposed to including lots of ads for insurance if traveling south and scary stories of being denied insurance such as for not mentioning you had a tummy ache 60 years age.

Submitter editorializing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47780399)

I also wonder if the vaunted Canadian healthcare system plays a role.

There's nothing at all in the survey to make that connection.

Re:Submitter editorializing (2)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about three weeks ago | (#47780587)

An actual connection is not required for those that are so defensive about the US healthcare reform failure that they have to make up such ridiculous assertions.

We certainly can't thank Stephen Harper (4, Informative)

sandbagger (654585) | about three weeks ago | (#47780597)

That man ordered irreplaceable scientific records be taken to the dump, destroying generations of scientific data. He's closed musea in order to build up fake War of 1812 war memorials. He's closed the scientific lakes project that was the programme responsible for identifying acid rain thanks to decades of data.

This man has been utterly destructive to Canada's intellectual property, its scientific pedigree and ability to generate new knowledge. Moreover, he's gagged scientists from discussing their own peer-revirewed data. Instead, political interns get to act as mouthpieces.

Anyone in the scientific or technical community can't help but see how destructive Harper-ism is to Canada's ability to create the next generation of knowledge.

Re:We certainly can't thank Stephen Harper (1)

dryeo (100693) | about three weeks ago | (#47780903)

But, but he claims to be the leader of the most scientific government in our history with billions spent on proving that bitumen floats and more billions spent on proving bitumen sinks, not to mention the billions spent proving that bitumen is oil rather then a tar like substance.

From Canukistan (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47780869)

Just a comment that our health care system in Canada is only good if your already poor. Wealthy Canadians keep American health insurance to get prompt treatment if immediate top quality care is ever needed. (vs waiting months for MRI's and other basic testing).

~10% of the sales tax was created for the health care system, it now gets only about 1/3rd of that and with GST etc sales tax is 15%+- depending on province. You can use this figure as an estimation of what health insurance costs in the USA vs Canada.. First most goods are 50-100% more in Canada, then your paying the tax; It would only take someone spending a few hundred dollars a month on 'extras' in the USA to see american insurance isn't all that bad(unless your already sick and have -preexisting conditions).

Several people in my family waited over 6 months for their cancer treatment to begin because of delays in isolating the exact type/scans and other BS that would have been done the SAME/NEXT DAY in an American hospital.

Canada has WMD's, and um, camels and oh!!! OIL!! Liberate the hell out of us PLEASE!

"vaunted" Canadian healthcare system (1)

Prune (557140) | about three weeks ago | (#47780887)

You mean the one that makes me wait months and months any time I need to see a specialist, unless it's an absolute emergency? An informed consumer of healthcare these days hardly benefits from the knowledge a mere GP can offer, which by definition is rather lacking in specificity (all they really bring to the table are the ability to write prescriptions and issue referrals). Think of it this way: you're likely spend a lot more time on the (hopefully small number of) ailments you suffer from, and the amount of research and knowledge you'd acquire would pale in comparison to what a GP is likely to have much practice with. A healthcare system that creates incredible delays when trying to reach a specialist is shit, no matter how "free" it is.

I knew we were smart (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47781035)

ever since Bob and Doug showed me how to get free beer using only a dead mouse.

Probably going to be a rant: (2)

mewsenews (251487) | about three weeks ago | (#47781161)

I'm Canadian and I'm very pro-science. Not because I'm left-wing or right-wing, but because my mother was a science teacher and I've basically absorbed it. I literally have no personal attributes that I can try to commend regarding my decent scientific knowledge. Regarding the fucking article, I'm Canadian and I have a science education. A bachelors to be technical. I hated science courses in university. They were dry and the instructors had no interest in helping me. It was a night and day difference from my high school experience. Back to the topic of this article, Canadians understand science to be the truth. We've got less religious disruption than the Americans, and probably many European countries. I told my mother a few months ago that "I need to tell you, growing up I didn't realize that scientific beliefs would be repeatedly questioned in front of me as if there were no experimental evidence" and she went off on some other tangent as mothers do, but I was trying to tell her that she is the basis of everything I believe in the world. My parents took me to church and it was obviously bullshit. My mom told me about chemical reactions and it made sense. I hate myself for not being kinder to my mother.

Science and Faith (1)

relisher (2955441) | about three weeks ago | (#47781171)

Though not many are willing to admit it, science is based on faith, and if anyone would say otherwise, they would be lying. Hume's problem of induction really shows this faith we hold well - If I hit an billiard ball and it moves, how do I really know whether it was my hitting the ball that caused it to move? Though it SEEMS to be moving due to my touching it, how are we really sure? We use faith in our senses and assume that the hitting caused the motion. All research is done in this fashion, based on faith in science. I'm not sure how I would have answered the question in it's current form, since it is ambiguous about whether it is speaking about religious faith or faith in action. If it where less vague, and asked that we should depend on religious faith more, though, I would have definitely answered no.

Er... Really? (0)

LanceUppercut (766964) | about three weeks ago | (#47781379)

Imagine that you drew an Euclidean triangle on a piece of paper, measured its internal angles and calculated their sum. And suddenly you obtained 185 degrees as the result! What do you do in such case?

A) Assume that your measurements and/or calculations contain an error
B) Declare to the world that you found an triangle that tops the list of all Euclidean triangles known to man in therms of the internal angle sum.

I hope you have enough scientific literacy to realize that A is the correct answer.

The authors of the above research apparently belong to that peculiar group of people who chose B in cases like that. Sorry, geniuses, when you end up in situations when Canada tops your "list of most science-literate countries", you go back, review your research and find where you screwed up.

The most science-literate countries in the world are Russia and Belarus. Every time you obtain a different result, you just throw your "research methodology" into the garbage can and start over. Yes, it is a s simple as that. Class dismissed.

P.S. LOL! Canada...

Re:Er... Really? (1)

aybiss (876862) | about three weeks ago | (#47781519)

Care to back that up with, say, some research?

Reality.... (1)

resfilter (960880) | about three weeks ago | (#47781393)

I've lived and worked in Canada my entire life, had lots of average friends here, and met a great cross section of canadians.
 
Just because canada has a very high percentage of athiesm, doesn't mean the majority of canadians understand that there are particles smaller than an atom, that the concept of gravity has developed past Newtonian, the flow of electricity in a direct current system, or even the basic laws of energy any better than the average american.
 
Seriously, they don't. This lack of knowledge is apparent in everyday conversations trying to discuss anything in both canada and the usa. It seems most average people in most places don't care to understand that stuff.
 
Our health care system? Oh come on now. Just because everyone recieves equal care doesn't mean anyone benefits from advanced research. Many advanced procedures available in private medical care in the usa are simply not available here, as public funding won't allow for the training or technology. It's not a factor.

A quibble (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47781547)

I found this question on their measure of scientific literacy. See page 77,
"The universe began with a huge explosion".
They marked it as correct if you answered "true".
sigh.

Also, I found a weird one:
"listened to a science program on the radio"
avg. annual frequency: 3.6
% who engaged at least once in the past 3 months: 30

Seriously? There are science shows on Canadian radio that a third of the population listened to?
Why yes, there is and they do.
http://www.cbc.ca/quirks/ [www.cbc.ca]
http://legacy.jyi.org/volumes/... [jyi.org]

Now I'm impressed.

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