In my talk I explained that I preferred a broad definition of science, one that emphasizes science as a way of knowing. My definition encompasses the activities of everyone who seeks knowledge and that includes people working in fields outside of the traditional science disciplines.
Eugenie Scott prefers a more restricted definition of science, one that refers to the activities of biologists, chemists, physicists, and geologists. Eugenie thinks there are other ways of knowing and she supports the idea that the actions of scientists are constrained by the rule of methodological naturalism.
When it comes to science education, I think it applies to all students in all disciplines. In fact, I would concentrate my efforts on humanities students in universities—if I had my druthers—in an attempt to enhance science literacy. My goal is to teach everyone how to seek knowledge using science as a way of knowing.
The goal of American educators these days is to improve science education along with several related disciplines (STEM: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). The target is those students who want to make careers in those fields and the strategy is to get more kids interested at a young age in pursuing STEM jobs. I think Eugenie Scot broadly supports such a strategy.
This difference in definitions and long-term goals led to the only disagreement during the panel discussion.1 I said that using advances in modern technologies as a way to get students interested in science is counter-productive because it plays right into one of the major misconception in the public mind; namely, that science is only relevant when it can be used to improve our lives in some way. It's hard to get students interested in the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake (i.e. science) when the distinction between science and technology/engineering is blurred.
It also isn't a very good way to enhance science literacy among students who have no intention of ever getting a job as a scientist, technologist, or engineer. Science literacy means that we need to be educating future citizens of all kinds about science reasoning. We need to be teaching every student ways to figure out why it's important to vaccinate your children, why trickle-down economics may be bad, why universal health care isn't evil, and why global warming is real. Most of these students aren't necessarily interested in how an iPad works or what new anti-cancer drugs have been developed.
Eugenie Scott didn't see anything wrong with using technology and innovation as a "hook" to get students to pursue jobs in STEM fields. That's because she sees the goal of science education differently than I do. She sees it as a way to train more scientists.
PZ tried to take a middle ground but ended up pleasing no one.
1. Aside from the fact that the discussion was all about science education in America where local school boards control curriculum. We hardly talked at all about science education in Canada or any other country.