Why science literacy is in trouble

The signs are all over, but here is a particularly insidious one from Canada. Woo Fighters points to a review of a book on evolution for children in a publication of the Manitoba Library Association. The review, by no less than an Assistant Professor of Science Education, includes this paragraph:

Although the text is very good in describing the theory of Evolution, there are points in the book where the author makes comments that could imply that Evolution is more than a theory. For example, “…Charles Darwin revealed the solution to the mystery of evolution” (p. 7). He also makes the comment that Evolution is the most important idea in all of biology (p. 7). Such phrases may lead the reader into thinking that scientists completely understand the theory of Evolution which would be incorrect, else Evolution would be a principle or a law and not a theory. As well, it is a bit bold to claim that evolution is the most important idea in all of biology - biology is a huge field of study with other key discoveries.

Read it and weep. That reviewer, who seems to specialize in mathematics, physics, and chemistry education, is busily teaching Canadian college students about science education at a university that advertises itself as “one of Canada’s Best Universities.” Since she’s on the physics side of things, someone might mention to her that Einstein’s theory of relativity has not yet been ‘promoted’ to a principle or law.