Neil deGrasse Tyson explains it as well as anyone could. Hint: it's not about knowing the names of the planets, the valence of oxygen, or the enzymes of glycolysis.
Chad Orzel is as excited about this video as I am—and for the same reason [Neil deGrasse Tyson Agrees With Me About The Innumeracy of Intellectuals]. It's bad enough that so many people are scientifically illiterate but even worse is the fact that many of our so-called "intellectuals" are actually proud of the fact that they are stupid about mathematics and science. Last year I went to a conference on The Two Cultures where many people were trying to convince me that the problem was solved. They were wrong and I'm glad to see that Tyson agrees.