Saturday, May 11, 2013

Are Americans just plain ignorant?

Here's a theory about why Americans find it easy to accept whatever Rush Limbaugh or Barack Obama tells them: They just don't know very much.

The other day, I noticed this Tweet from Jesse Walker:


So I clicked on the link and took the science quiz from Pew, which turned out to be 13 rather easy multiple choice science questions. I got all of them right. I probably wouldn't have beaten myself up too much if I'd missed a couple; I'm kind of a history and lit guy. You won't find stacks of back issues of "Scientific American" at my house.

But these are easy questions. If most Americans struggle with them, they know rather little about the world they live in.

9 comments:

michael said...

I took that and got all 13 right and knew I had without even checking my score. Only what? 7% aced it? I'm not surprised.

This PEW science poll just seems the latest bit of data to suggest that most Americans are ignorant to an appalling degree. And my sense is that it's made all the worse because they either 1.) don't care; 2.) think they know enough already and it doesn't matter what a dumb poll about molecules and planets and shit says; 3.) are sort of proud they don't know stuff that only geeks or nerds know; or 4.) think that the 13-Q science poll where they only got one or a couple right was filled with liberal secular humanist propaganda anyway, and preferred to believe the truth that God and other Authorities know what's best and to stop tryna be all smart and crap like that; go with the crowd, stop checking into things you were never supposed to know, and be Jesus's humble servant in the eyes of the...you know when Armageddon comes? I'll be saved because...blah blah blah



fyreflye said...

Missed TWO!!! Argh! I bow to my new Discordian masters on RAW Illuminatiion.

michael said...

To quote Marx: "Go! And never darken my towels again!"

No but seriously: which two did you miss?

fyreflye said...

You expect my short term memory to actually function? I'm pretty sure one was the question about the commonest gas in the atmosphere and I fell for (of course) oxygen. Can't remember the other. I really got charged for three because somehow I failed to click to register my selection, but I'm not counting it because the correct answer was the one I meant to give. Missing two isn't all that bad for someone who isn't a science nerd but neither are you two and you both got them all.

fyreflye said...

I just reran the test and found that I'd gotten "Which natural resource is extracted in a process known as “fracking”?" wrong (I chose coal instead of natural gas); and the one I missed answering but knew the correct answer to was the one about the correct way to set up a science experiment.

gacord said...

13. I was certainly worried for a moment, until I actually saw the questions. I have to say, I'm saddened but not overly surprised by the 7%, given some of the stories my kids come home from school with.

gacord said...

Oh, and I guess it's kind of like Uncle George (Carlin) said, "We just need people smart enough to operate the machinery and do the paperwork."

gacord said...

An example of my kids' stories, my high school senior is the teaching assistant for his German teacher. Which means he grades papers and helps kids having trouble in the 1st and 2nd year German classes. He just graded some OPEN BOOK quizzes. While there were more 90s and 100s than usual he still tallied a 5 and a 0. He has also started a spiral notebook in which he tracks general stupid answers. Like basic geography questions (putting Texas, our state, next to Germany on a map...and that's one of the better answers. I don't want to get started on spelling, jumping jesus.)

Sigh.

Eric Wagner said...

I lucked out and got 13 out of 13, thinking about Bob Wilson's comments about 12's and the thirteenth: the disciples and Jesus, the jury and the judge, the constellations of the Zodiac and the sun, etc.