That is quite true... but if the subject is scientific literacy is the issue. At least my understanding of scientific literacy, is the actual understanding of the process of science, and the ability to process scientific questions. For simpler analogy lets compare 2 schools of thought for reading literacy.
Joe has litterally memorized and learned every word in the webster dictionary. he can recite and speak every word in the dictionary from scratch, and read entire books this way. However Joe fails to make the connection of how letters work with eachother. If Joe runs into even a simple word that is not in the dictionary, Say he ran into something where they used "confuzzled" as slang, when joe asked 2 different people how to say this word, one said "pork" and one pronounced it as it is written, Joe could not tell who was telling the truth
Tom on the other hand, does not have the words memorized, he only studied the methods words are made. he knows the basics of greek, latin etc... and he knows the variants of how most letter combinations can be said. Now obviously due to english being a clusterfsck of different styles of reading... Tom runs into problems all the time, thanks to so many variants of how different sets of letters can go. But even on the worse imaginable words, Tom always can narrow any word he runs into, down to 2-3 possible ways it can be said"
In this example I would have to say Tom is Literate, Joe is far closer to illiterate. Joe is better than Tom, for dealing with everything that we are familiar with, which is great, but only Tom can be of any use when we hit an undiscovered word, and only Tom can make reasonable choices when we reach these words
Science is like that to, our schools, our society and many other areas, seem to forget this fact. The great scientists weren't great because they memorized all of the facts, they were great because they understood HOW we learned those facts, and extrapolated to make new discoveries, The same goes for scientific literacy in the general public. If someone approaches with say a crystal, that helps asthma patients claiming it helps due to running some force. OK maybe the Joe of science will go no one has determined the existance of auras so that must be wrong, but maybe there is something there, what if there actually was something going on we don't know of. The tom of science would ask, what testing has been done, what phenomenons have we seen, did we compare it to a placebo, etc... etc... follow up with his own experimentation, and possibly make a new discovery, when it does all turn out to be bunk, Tom actually has real grounds to dismiss it, vs Joe, who's only grounds for dismissal are, we don't know about this yet, so it must not be true.
Somebody ought to cross ball point pens with coat hangers so that the pens will multiply instead of disappear.