When you think about how we teach science in schools – and whether we've struck the right balance between catering for those children who will become tomorrow's scientists and engineers (and how would we know?), and those who don't believe they have a natural aptitude for science or are simply more interested in other subjects.

The problem extends beyond deciding which science topics to teach and in what detail.

After all, science isn't just a collection of world facts. That is simply referred to as "knowledge." Science, on the other hand, is a method of thinking and making sense of the universe that leads to new knowledge. This is a crucial distinction to make. We've all heard it said that we should educate kids how to think rather than what to think. This is a noble sentiment, but how would it be implemented? Why spend so much of the school science curriculum cramming knowledge about the world into children's heads that they can look up anyway?

Isn't it more valuable to teach students how to locate credible scientific knowledge – which these days almost always means online rather than in books – as well as how to evaluate, critically analyse, and assimilate that knowledge when it's needed?

Experts may argue that we still need to teach the scientific nuts and bolts - chemical formulas, human bones, Newton's law of gravitation, electricity and magnetism, and so on – especially to students who plan to study their topic in greater depth at university and pursue science as a career.

What about the rest of the population? Everyone, without a doubt, requires a basic comprehension of science.

A scientifically literate society can perceive the world more clearly and make better judgments about major issues that affect all of us. However, it appears that today there is a lack of comprehension of how we come to this scientific understanding of the world. And, yes, you may be asking yourself, "So what?"

Adopting the scientific approach could help us all become more accepting and less polarised in our opinions, allowing us to differ without being disagreeable, especially online. No one can disagree that the internet is a miraculous invention that has completely transformed our lives over the last three decades. Even social media, the most convenient scapegoat for all of society's woes, has played an important role in sharing and democratising information.

However, far too many people use Facebook not as a beneficial tool, but as a platform for disseminating misinformation and ill-informed, frequently nasty beliefs. However, the internet and social media have merely served to amplify societal issues that have always existed. Furthermore, our attention spans are inevitably shortening, and we don't take the time to evaluate our biases or inquire about the reliability and trustworthiness of the information we get.

Even in our increasingly complex and perplexing world of human affairs, using some of the lessons learned from scientific development can be uplifting and liberating. Scientific thinking entails much more than simply memorising facts. It allows us to see the world in ways that go beyond our restricted senses, preconceptions and biases, anxieties, insecurities, ignorance, and shortcomings.