I think the classroom can help. It is up to schools, and to all initiatives that can educate, including reliable Internet sites, to ensure that young people gradually acquire the correct understanding of scientific procedure. A most difficult task, because even knowledge transmitted by schools is often deposited in the memory like a sequence of miraculous episodes: Madame Curie who come home one evening and discovers radioactivity thanks to a mark on a sheet of paper, Dr. Fleming who glances absently at some mold and discovers penicillin, Galileo who sees a lamp swaying and suddenly discovers everything, even that the world rotates. How can we expect schools to provide correct scientific information when to this day many manuals and books – including respectable ones - say that before Columbus people believed that the Earth was flat, when this is a historic fabrication? The ancient Greeks knew it was round; and the sages of Salamanca who opposed Columbus’s voyage had made calculations more accurate than his about the dimensions of the planet. It is the duty of a man of learning not only to do scrupulous research but also to present his knowledge effectively. Scientists sometimes still feel it’s not dignified to take an interest in popularization, although masters in the field include Einstein and Heisenberg and the late Stephen Jay Gloud. But if we are to teach a nonmagical view of science, we cannot expect it to come from the mass media. The scientific community itself must construct it bit by bit in the collective awareness, starting with the young.
Umberto Eco, Turning Back the Clock (September, 2008)