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Hastings Center Report

Trust: The Need for Public Understanding of How Science Works

Abstract: General science literacy contributes to good public decision-making about technology and medicine. This essay explores the kinds of science literacy currently developed by public education in the United States of America. It argues that current curricula on “science as inquiry” (formerly the “nature of science”) need to be brought up to date with the inclusion of discussion of social epistemological concepts such as trust and scientific authority, scientific disagreement versus science denialism, the role of ideology and bias in scientific research, and the importance of peer review and responsiveness to criticism.

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