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The sun revolves around the earth?
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Posted 2/17/14
I think the foundation really just proved that 1 in 4 Americans thought their poll question was too long and didn't read. So they chose the cheeky option.

That, or 1 in 4 can't be bothered to or are incapable of reading.

How scientific was this polls methodology? That's a very important question. Who was sampled? Teenagers? (What kind of answer would you give a stupid question?)

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Posted 2/18/14 , edited 2/18/14

dankuuwut wrote:

U.S.A.?

Doesn't surprise me.


This. ^

I've been living in New York for little under 4 years now, and I'm amazed at how lacking general knowledge among people here is.
I've tutored various age groups from high-schoolers to graduates and it's apparent that the education system in the country needs to be reworked to address fundamentals which will carry over to higher education.

Also, too many people aspire to pursue college when it really isn't their vocation. Acquiring large debt from college loans to pay for mediocre education in a field which barely will guarantee future employment over work experience is really not worth it; especially when students feel pushed and socially pressured to do so, rather out of academic interest or genuine enthusiasm for academics.
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Posted 2/18/14 , edited 2/18/14

Holofernes wrote:

I think the foundation really just proved that 1 in 4 Americans thought their poll question was too long and didn't read. So they chose the cheeky option.

That, or 1 in 4 can't be bothered to or are incapable of reading.

How scientific was this polls methodology? That's a very important question. Who was sampled? Teenagers? (What kind of answer would you give a stupid question?)



Exactly. While I do think the American education system is too lax, no where do you learn the earth is the center of the universe.

What you can be sure about is that poll responses change massively depending on how they are worded. Scientific polls are hard, media polls made to generate "headline" grabbing results are common, and follow up stories with Max Headrooms clucking their tongues are common.

Many Americans are creationists or climate deniers or otherwise quirky thinkers, but most aren't. Almost none of them are flat earthers. This is just another story hopping the bandwagon of "science is in danger in the USA". This true, but Peter and the Wolf stories like this don't help the case.

If you are responding quickly ad hoc, you might mistake the question. If you followed up with the question, "Does the earth go around the sun?" people would probably say "Yes", if you then asked "So, the earth goes around the sun and the sun goes around the earth?", and they would say "ermmm... ahhh.. yes?"

Squid Girl example:

Three stooges from MIT: "Repeat these words ten times: You are an alien."
SG: "You are an alien." x10, rapidly.
TS: "You are?"
SG: "Alien!"
TS: "Woohoo! We've finally achieved something great!"

Substitute media companies that don't want to pay for depressing news from other countries that is expensive and risky to get, or in depth reporting on serious issues with voting machines that might be politically divisive or the like, and you have the stupidity that is these polls reported as if it was 'news'.

Is science in trouble in the US? Sure. Is this a sideshow that plays into the ego of the reader because 99% of them now think they are smarter than the average person? Definitely. Are some of those people thinking they are "at least not as dumb as these bozos" the same people who answered "yes" over the phone to a poorly worded question without good follow up? Almost without question.

Will "news" companies do this sort of thing as long as they can get away with it, and it generates interest? Sure. They'll stroke egos until forever. They are entertainment companies now.

So, who is really illiterate here, and about what kind of science?

Addendum: The NSF generally does great work, and I applaud the effort at science communication in general, but I find these alarmist polls unhelpful, and ironically unscientific. I'm assuming they let the PR machine drive this effort. Of course, you could say this is getting more press, but I say that doesn't equate to good results either.
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Posted 2/18/14
Sadly, I'm not surprised that 1 in 4 in America believes the sun revolves around the Earth. There are a lot of places in the US where being educated is looked down upon. I grew up in rural Pennsylvania, which is one of these areas. Educated people get strange ideas, think the are better than everyone else, question common sense and even God's own truth. *Shakes his head* I am so glad I went to college and moved away from Pennsylvania.

We also have colleges that cater to people who want a degree, but don't want any of their religious or cultural views challenged. How many of you have seen the adds for Liberty University where they educate warriors for Christ. I have a couple of cousins who went their and lets just say that their education experience is designed to be inline with Christian hardcore fundamentalism. Evolution is not a concept taught at Liberty. Seriously, how do universities and colleges like this get and maintain accreditation!?

I think some of this backlash against science and education come from the world changing at such a fast pace today. The past twenty years have include gigantic technology changes like the Internet, computers being used at the home and in most work areas, and automation of many tasks that used to be done by hand. It has also brought along cultural changes like the acceptance of interracial marriage, the growing acceptance of same sex marriage, exposure to information on very different sub-cultures that are different from the norm, a growing immigrant population that changes the make-up of many rural areas, and a decline in religion. A lot of people, especially older (by older I mean mid-50's and above) people, have had their world view rocked over the past two decades and they are resentful and scared. They also see science and people who are educated as the underlying causes for these scary changes they don't understand.

Come on Americans, the Earth revolves around the sun, Evolution is the best explanation out there for how the life that exist today came into existence, and climate change is a real and dangerous thing. Oh, and smoking is bad for your health as well.
Posted 2/18/14 , edited 2/18/14
wow, reading way to far into the poll itself. Of course such things only represent a small fraction of the entire population. No one said this was scientific research to determine how intelligent the US population is. People all over the world will get this questions wrong.

The point here was that even in a small sampling of people they still answered the question wrong. Unless you are mentally challenged and incapable of learning or didn't go to school at all this is a simple fact that people should know without excuse. This is in the same category of people that believe Europe is a country.

The poll itself wasn't supposed to be over analysed. This just brings up the question, of what should be analyzed, is there a failure in the education system to allow people to get such a simple questions wrong. Why were Americans singled out? Because those were the people asked, it's not picking on American, leave your patriotism out of this. To me it's disconcerting that anyone could get this question wrong.

Something can make you think about something else. Just because that thing makes you think doesn't mean you have to take it as gospel. I'm pretty sure I stated in the opening that this was more about how someone could get this question wrong.
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Posted 2/18/14
...and I'm pretty sure most everyone who took it seriously gave a response about how someone could get it wrong. 1/4 of 2200 is 550. That is a decent amount of people, but when faced with many facts that other people have said (such as the comment about rural area people sometimes being looked down upon for being educated), it's not that groundbreaking of a number.

Some people are just that stupid. Even with education.

And as for patriotism... *rolls eyes* Kind of hard not to react that way when it specifically attacks Americans and practically every thing from other countries and even people within the country hate on Americans. The government is bad, that I agree with. But I have not personally met many people who I would classify as fitting into the American stereotype, which makes it hard to take.

Besides, I did find an article pointing out that it's not just Americans who get it wrong. It said that Europeans actually score worse than Americans on quizzes like that. It's in my first post. Which means it's not just the American education system, which I doubt would be the only reason to blame for it anyways, there are teachers who try to teach but kids who just don't want to learn. And I'm sure there are people who lived under a rock who somehow never heard that. Or they're just messing around like other people have suggested.

Or it could be the phrasing of the question as someone else pointed out. It took me a moment to figure out what it meant, I actually thought it meant the earth revolves around the sun, so my automatic answer was yes before I read the first post and went 'wait... I had the wrong understanding of the question.'
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Posted 2/18/14 , edited 2/18/14
When I asked my third grade teacher what the sun was made from, she told me God. Which explains why I didn't see anything wrong with the topic's title before reading OP.

crypticcrunch wrote:
Is science in trouble in the US? Sure. Is this a sideshow that plays into the ego of the reader because 99% of them now think they are smarter than the average person? Definitely. Are some of those people thinking they are "at least not as dumb as these bozos" the same people who answered "yes" over the phone to a poorly worded question without good follow up? Almost without question.Will "news" companies do this sort of thing as long as they can get away with it, and it generates interest? Sure. They'll stroke egos until forever. They are entertainment companies now.
Reminds me of Jersey Shore, people just love seeing stupid people fail
Posted 2/18/14

FlyinDumpling wrote:

When I asked my third grade teacher what the sun was made from, she told me God. Which explains why I didn't see anything wrong with the topic's title before reading OP.


Maybe your teacher thought that you were a pesky little kid and just lied to get rid of you.
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Posted 2/18/14

Sornette wrote:


FlyinDumpling wrote:

When I asked my third grade teacher what the sun was made from, she told me God. Which explains why I didn't see anything wrong with the topic's title before reading OP.


Maybe your teacher thought that you were a pesky little kid and just lied to get rid of you.
and the purpose of this post is...........?
Posted 2/18/14 , edited 2/18/14

FlyinDumpling wrote:


Sornette wrote:


FlyinDumpling wrote:

When I asked my third grade teacher what the sun was made from, she told me God. Which explains why I didn't see anything wrong with the topic's title before reading OP.


Maybe your teacher thought that you were a pesky little kid and just lied to get rid of you.
and the purpose of this post is...........?


Just wondering why you quoted crypticcrunch's post.
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Posted 2/18/14

FlyinDumpling wrote:

When I asked my third grade teacher what the sun was made from, she told me God. Which explains why I didn't see anything wrong with the topic's title before reading OP.


That's a good story. Great example of bumper sticker thinking your third grade teacher had. Any answer like that, one that silver bullets all questions in a sentence, actually answers none of them. It's worse than "because it does" or "special stuff", which is bad enough. The right answer would be "I really don't know" or "It's complicated, so I will tell you later how to find out."

If you learned how to spot people dodging questions in the third grade, she maybe was helpful. Of course the risk would be the kids learned not to ask questions.

“Our everyday life may be a series of miracles.” ~ Kōjirō Sasahara, Nichijou.

Best. Question. Dodge. Ever.

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Posted 2/18/14

crypticcrunch wrote:


FlyinDumpling wrote:

When I asked my third grade teacher what the sun was made from, she told me God. Which explains why I didn't see anything wrong with the topic's title before reading OP.


That's a good story. Great example of bumper sticker thinking your third grade teacher had. Any answer like that, one that silver bullets all questions in a sentence, actually answers none of them. It's worse than "because it does" or "special stuff", which is bad enough. The right answer would be "I really don't know" or "It's complicated, so I will tell you later how to find out."

If you learned how to spot people dodging questions in the third grade, she maybe was helpful. Of course the risk would be the kids learned not to ask questions.

“Our everyday life may be a series of miracles.” ~ Kōjirō Sasahara, Nichijou.

Best. Question. Dodge. Ever.
No, I think she said God because she genuinely believed it.
Posted 2/18/14
Don't all the planets revolve around the sun...?
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Posted 2/19/14 , edited 2/19/14

FlyinDumpling wrote:
No, I think she said God because she genuinely believed it.


So you think she actually believed God was literally powering the sun from moment to moment, and its rays are the direct beneficence of his mind, or that he powered it indirectly the way many religious people believe?

That is, she actually believed it was God's ongoing direct miraculous power, or that it was indirect as in the fire in the fireplace, or lightbulbs and automobiles are also "from God" because everything is from God?

Honestly, I'm curious, people who believe in the Sun as an actual direct manifestation of deity, very very rare. If you don't mind my asking, what religious affiliation did she have, if you know, or if any?

Although I don't think that's dogma for any church I know of today. Maybe Raleians or something... certainly it just might have been something she came up with on her own.

Are there other reasons you believe that? Did she used to talk about other stuff as "from God" or "being God" etc.?

Posted 2/19/14 , edited 2/19/14
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