In his commentary on science and the global agenda,1 Bruce Alberts pointed out the distressing disregard for science prevalent in many parts of the world in relation to evolution, genetically altered foods, and AIDS. He emphasized that to counter these anti-scientific attitudes and contribute to solutions for the serious problems associated with rapid growth of the world population, scientific societies "must take a more active role in helping political leaders and the public make informed decisions." His proposal that scientists "must take action to ensure that policymakers and the public make their decisions based on the best available [scientific] information" should be supported enthusiastically by the entire scientific community.

The question of why these anti- scientific attitudes are so widespread when the immense technological advances that have arisen from scientific research are so widely accepted, was not raised by Alberts. Why, as he noted, are so many public school...

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