It turns out that we may read science fiction less thoughtfully than we do literary writing.
According to a paper published in the journal, Scientific Study of Literature, professors Chris Gavaler and Dan Johnson of Washington and Lee University found that when mentally classifying text under science fiction, readers automatically assume the text is less valuable — in a literary sense. For this reason, humans unconsciously put a decreased level of effort into reading works of science fiction than they would apply to literary writing.
In a new video, science educator Bill Nye expressed his frustration over “science illiteracy” and the mistrust of science in the United States, particularly with our nation’s leadership. He contrasted the frantic response to Ebola epidemic to the shrugged shoulders that climate change so often receives.
“People aren’t afraid of dying as much as they’re afraid of how they’re going to die,” he said, “and the ebola death looks horrible… and what’s making it worse––in Africa in particular––is scientific illiteracy, people not realizing that these microorganisms can pass from one to another… By having a population of people who don’t understand germs and how serious they are, a germ gets spread really readily.”