There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.
― Isaac Asimov
I will add a second one by Walter Isaacson from his excellent book Einstein:
A popular feel for scientific endeavors should, if possible, be restored given the needs of the twenty-first century. This does not mean that every literature major should take a watered-down physics course or that a corporate lawyer should stay abreast of quantum mechanics. Rather, it means that an appreciation for the methods of science is a useful asset for a responsible citizenry.
The theme is clear: The lack of not only scientific understanding, but of basic respect to science is commonplace in the United States. Issues such as global warming are debated and questioned by politicians, media, and the general public on a daily basis in spite of there being near complete agreement among scientists about it. I think that this attitudes will cost the U.S. its scientific leadership unless it is reversed.