Does anyone remember the game show that was on about a decade or so ago called Street Smarts? The basic premise was that they’d randomly ask people on the street questions and the contestants in the studio had to determine whether or not the person answered correctly.
You’ve seen late night talk shows do something similar. They’ll go out, ask people on the street questions (usually things that should be common knowledge) and usually what ensues is absolutely hilarious because it showcases how ignorant much of our society is with the most basic of facts.
Well, one night while watching that show they asked three different people who fought in the Civil War – only one of the three answered correctly. How the hell does that even happen? This is something that’s taught all throughout school, has been featured in movies, countless documentaries and is often a common subject matter between peers.
How in the hell could someone be a grown, American adult and not know who fought in the Civil War?
Maybe some of you read the article I wrote a while back about the poll that was done in Louisiana asking conservative voters who was to blame for the response to Hurricane Katrina. Well, in that poll one-third of those who responded blamed President Obama – not President Bush. In fact, within that poll a higher percentage of conservative voters blamed President Obama than President Bush.
Even though Hurricane Katrina happened over three years before President Obama became president. Meaning that either these people had no clue what year it was, they had no idea how long President Obama had been in the White House or they had no idea when Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana.
Well, a new poll done by the National Science Foundation trumps all of that. In their poll of 2,200 Americans, twenty-five percent weren’t aware that the Earth revolves around the sun.
Just let that sink in for a moment. One in four respondents weren’t aware of a basic, common and indisputable scientific fact.
Which means that out of the 2,200 people they polled, 550 weren’t aware that the Earth revolves around the sun.
That. Is. Shocking.
What do these people think then? That the sun rotates around the Earth? Do they still believe the Earth is the center of the universe? Hell, do they still think the Earth is flat? Or do they just not think at all?
I’m going with that last part.
Now in less “indisputable” territory (though still widely scientifically accepted) only 39% said the universe started with a huge explosion. Only 48% believed that humans evolved from another species and only 51% knew that antibiotics don’t kill viruses.
In more positive news, 90% were actually enthusiastic about science and 1 in 3 believed science needs more government funding.
But the fact that 25% of Americans apparently aren’t aware that the Earth revolves around the sun is just something I can’t wrap my mind around. I get people can be very ignorant at times, and that our educational system is in dire need of repair, but something as simple as Earth’s rotation around the sun is a “question” I thought we had put to bed a long time ago.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go make a stiff drink. After writing this article, I desperately need one.