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Angela
29-02-16, 17:06
See:

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2014/02/14/277058739/1-in-4-americans-think-the-sun-goes-around-the-earth-survey-says

"A quarter of Americans surveyed could not correctly answer that the Earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around, according to a report out Friday from the National Science Foundation (http://www.nsf.gov/)."

"In the same survey, just 39 percent answered correctly (true) that "The universe began with a huge explosion" and only 48 percent said "Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals."


"As alarming as some of those deficits in science knowledge might appear, Americans fared better on several of the questions than similar, but older surveys of their Chinese and European counterparts.

Only 66 percent of people in a 2005 European Union poll answered the basic astronomy question correctly. However, both China and the EU fared significantly better (66 percent and 70 percent, respectively) on the question about human evolution."

I guess the answer is yes.

bicicleur
29-02-16, 19:35
yes, and I don't see any improvement coming

Fire Haired14
29-02-16, 23:11
The lingua of evolution is hard and the suvrey question is an example of this. Animals and humans are two separate categories in English language. In evolution human is a type of animal, but it's difficult to express that in English words. So, when you say humans evolved from earlier animal species that doesn't sound right. In English that sounds like "Humans evolved from dogs and cats". Like humans evolved from living animals today.

DuPidh
01-03-16, 00:35
See:

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2014/02/14/277058739/1-in-4-americans-think-the-sun-goes-around-the-earth-survey-says

"A quarter of Americans surveyed could not correctly answer that the Earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around, according to a report out Friday from the National Science Foundation (http://www.nsf.gov/)."

"In the same survey, just 39 percent answered correctly (true) that "The universe began with a huge explosion" and only 48 percent said "Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals."


"As alarming as some of those deficits in science knowledge might appear, Americans fared better on several of the questions than similar, but older surveys of their Chinese and European counterparts.

Only 66 percent of people in a 2005 European Union poll answered the basic astronomy question correctly. However, both China and the EU fared significantly better (66 percent and 70 percent, respectively) on the question about human evolution."

I guess the answer is yes.

Americans are not stupid! They have asked the wrong question! Ask the question where is the nearest welfare office and 100% will respond correctly. Most Americans think that rotation of Earth is a government issue thats why they dont know.

Boreas
01-03-16, 11:36
A society which was druged by popular cultural. I wish I could say different things for Turkey

Maleth
01-03-16, 18:34
We are not doing too bad when one considers that the information age is such a recent happening. May the whole world catches up pretty soon as free information is not yet available for the whole world.

arvistro
01-03-16, 23:24
Sign me in for that 1 quarter :)

As a side note, how many of us actually understand why, what is the scientific background based on what the THEORY of big bang is the most popular and widely accepted by academics?
And how many of us just know that this is what some smartpants came up with and have no clue as to why and how.
I belong to those having very little clue on the subject, despite reading several Hoking's (?) books on the subject I would not be able to explain how scientists had arrived at that theory and what are the proofs/ evidence that speaks in favor.

Also, this is just a theory. Most likely the best and correct one.

p.s.
also I am not sure I would be able to explain why Earth revolves around the Sun and not vice versa? Have we observed this by watching other celestial bodies and their movements does not fit the Sun around Earth explanation?

Angela
02-03-16, 00:33
I think you're playing devil's advocate. :) They weren't asked to explain these theories, after all.

I think I could make a stab at explaining the second.* The first would be more difficult, I confess. That doesn't mean I'm not convinced by the arguments. As for evolution, honestly, imo, all you need to do is go to a natural history museum, especially the floors devoted to our immediate ancestors.

Most of these basic theories have been taught by the end of middle school. I think what surveys like this prove is that a lot of kids sit in the classroom, listen to lectures, even take a test on a subject, and then as soon as they leave the classroom it just leaks into the ether and they totally forget it.

Comedy shows and even news programs often feature "the man on the street" being asked these kinds of questions. Young people, in particular, are ignorant not only of science, but of the simplest facts about their country's history. These kids can't answer questions like what country did the U.S. fight for independence in the Revolutionary War. You'd think anyone raised in this country who has a pulse should be able to answer that question, but a good percentage can't. Yet they know what Beyonce wore last week. Maybe Boreas is right and it's all the drugs, or there's so much crap filling their heads that there's no room for actual intellectual content.

It's very disheartening.

*http://io9.gizmodo.com/5464810/the-earth-revolves-around-the-sun--prove-it

arvistro
02-03-16, 23:20
*http://io9.gizmodo.com/5464810/the-earth-revolves-around-the-sun--prove-it
Nice article. I like it.
To continue playing the Devil's advocate I have seen some Medieval (or maybe Classical?) model - a very tricky machine where some genius put all the star movements taking into account so that Earth was in the middle. They were of top quality in prediction power etc. Just shows how far one can go if he has wrong premises. They even can make things that actually work to a certain point.

The stupidity or rather ignorance is there. Even given well educated PhD men argue till this day on most of those (creationists vs evolutionists, or big bang vs more exotic ideas, etc), people should at least know there is such a thing and this is the best theory today.

I can only hope to teach my own kids into reading and educating classical style. Will try to sell Greek Mythology to my 7 years old. Hope he likes it at least 10% as much as the Bayblade(?) shit he is into lately.

But then - hmmm. This world is about specialization. When I go to doctor I could care less if he knows Latvian independence day or capital of America :). I want him to know deeply how to treat my case. My mom knows neither history nor geography, even to the point she once told me re poor Israeli Christian State among those Muslims. But I would not call her stupid because of that, she has a lot of knowledge in maths, IT and other subjects requiring quite some intellectual capabilities. I could also bet among Nobel prize winners there are at least a few that don't know basic facts outside their very field. I don't know about all of them, but I suspect some of them live inside their own world. They are not stupid.

But ok, that is another category. And then there is for example folk that beats me in practical fields. Like he might not know countries Latvia has border with or what "Indo European" means, but if I need advice re cars... and so on, and so on.. If I call him stupid, then who am I if I can't tell auto model in 3 seconds?

To conclude my very long and controversial speech however I must note that me knowing all those things (history, geography, cultures, what not, etc) helps enormously with creativity and decision making and being competitive in this very global world. So, my poor boy will just have to read (and enjoy!!) classical Greek myths :D

Promenade
03-03-16, 00:00
See:

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2014/02/14/277058739/1-in-4-americans-think-the-sun-goes-around-the-earth-survey-says

"A quarter of Americans surveyed could not correctly answer that the Earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around, according to a report out Friday from the National Science Foundation (http://www.nsf.gov/)."

"In the same survey, just 39 percent answered correctly (true) that "The universe began with a huge explosion" and only 48 percent said "Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals."


"As alarming as some of those deficits in science knowledge might appear, Americans fared better on several of the questions than similar, but older surveys of their Chinese and European counterparts.

Only 66 percent of people in a 2005 European Union poll answered the basic astronomy question correctly. However, both China and the EU fared significantly better (66 percent and 70 percent, respectively) on the question about human evolution."

I guess the answer is yes.

Well Angela, I'm not sure what you were trying to prove here, seems like a cynical and somewhat juvenile comment about humanity but specifically America... I'm sure you are bright enough yourself to realize that many Americans do no not recognize the Big Bang and evolution not because of their stupidity but because of their selective ignorance brought on by their religious beliefs.

In a large part of the country, mostly in the deep south, people have a hard time reconciling religious views with scientific ones. They may understand the processes and arguments but choose to completely ignore them because of their beliefs. It is ingrained in them and part of their culture, they will not always view the world as objectively and scientifically as you do in some areas because it comes in conflict with what their religion has taught them. It makes them ignorant but no stupid. I'm sure you have problems overcoming some deep socialization ingrained in you as well but in different areas, we all do.

Despite this, I agree it is startling how misinformed and uneducated people seem to be... I remember News reporters doing interviews at Jones beach on the fourth of July to supposedly average people. These American citizens didnt even know what the American Revolutionary war was nor the American Civil war, I found that almost insane myself but these are learned facts and ignorance shouldnt be blamed on stupidity, especially when people may be indoctrinated to believe something else from a young age.

I hope it doesnt seem like I'm defending the beliefs and ignorance of these people but it is wrong to call them stupid.

LeBrok
05-03-16, 00:23
I hope it doesnt seem like I'm defending the beliefs and ignorance of these people but it is wrong to call them stupid.Sometimes it is just a way we find a catchy titles for our treads, nothing more.
The problem we are facing with modern society is that most of us are hardwired to like what our hunter gatherer ancestors liked, food, sex, who is going to sing by fire tonight, what we are going to smoke to get high, what is the trendy colour to paint your face with, who got killed today, and watching a good fight or other game. To be well rounded participant in today's technological and complicated world it takes more knowledge than that. Sadly most people don't have appetite for more general knowledge. What is the solution?

arvistro
05-03-16, 09:40
To be well rounded participant in today's technological and complicated world it takes more knowledge than that. Sadly most people don't have appetite for more general knowledge. What is the solution?
Does it?
I can name professions where either historical or astronomical knowledge is completely unnecessary. Sometimes folk who knows nothing about these subjects is more tech savvy than I am and actually understands all those abbreviations on smartphone descriptions.
Sometimes if you care little of fashion or dress you may not fit in "the team" or you may not be seen as a good manager material.

It is complicated :) Do you need to know Indo-European beginnings to compete with other farmers? (I think you mentioned that was your profession).

bicicleur
05-03-16, 11:45
I think you're playing devil's advocate. :) They weren't asked to explain these theories, after all.

I think I could make a stab at explaining the second.* The first would be more difficult, I confess. That doesn't mean I'm not convinced by the arguments. As for evolution, honestly, imo, all you need to do is go to a natural history museum, especially the floors devoted to our immediate ancestors.

Most of these basic theories have been taught by the end of middle school. I think what surveys like this prove is that a lot of kids sit in the classroom, listen to lectures, even take a test on a subject, and then as soon as they leave the classroom it just leaks into the ether and they totally forget it.

Comedy shows and even news programs often feature "the man on the street" being asked these kinds of questions. Young people, in particular, are ignorant not only of science, but of the simplest facts about their country's history. These kids can't answer questions like what country did the U.S. fight for independence in the Revolutionary War. You'd think anyone raised in this country who has a pulse should be able to answer that question, but a good percentage can't. Yet they know what Beyonce wore last week. Maybe Boreas is right and it's all the drugs, or there's so much crap filling their heads that there's no room for actual intellectual content.

It's very disheartening.

*http://io9.gizmodo.com/5464810/the-earth-revolves-around-the-sun--prove-it

it is the crap filling their heads and it is the schools
30 years ago, school was a place where you were gathering knowledge and education was done by your parents who told us school was important
now school is for education, and gathering knowledge comes second
that is how it is here anyway

LeBrok
05-03-16, 16:13
Does it?
I can name professions where either historical or astronomical knowledge is completely unnecessary. Sometimes folk who knows nothing about these subjects is more tech savvy than I am and actually understands all those abbreviations on smartphone descriptions.
Sometimes if you care little of fashion or dress you may not fit in "the team" or you may not be seen as a good manager material.

It is complicated :) Do you need to know Indo-European beginnings to compete with other farmers? (I think you mentioned that was your profession).
The word Complicated meant many more things. For example, political knowledge helps us to chose better leaders, financial knowledge helps us to secure and invest our money, economic knowledge helps us to create and operate better in economy, general knowledge of many fields helps us do any job more efficient and to be in a position of getting a better job, etc.

Angela
05-03-16, 16:47
it is the crap filling their heads and it is the schools
30 years ago, school was a place where you were gathering knowledge and education was done by your parents who told us school was important
now school is for education, and gathering knowledge comes second
that is how it is here anyway

It's the same here. In fact, from what I can tell from comparing my children's education to that of the children of my Italian relatives it's worse here. Out of an 8 period school day, one is for lunch, one is for gym, one for the arts (to be clear, I approve of the preceding), one for computer related subjects, which leaves only about 4 forty-two minute segments for "academic" subjects. Then, they're taken out of class for various self-esteem classes (their problem is that they have too much unwarranted self-esteem, not too little), anti-bullying classes, you name it. Then subtract the time spent in disciplining them, taking away their electronics, drugs, etc., and how much time is left? A lot of this should be taught at home, but parents are either too busy working, or they're trying to be a "friend" to their children instead of actually parenting them.

If they're in college prep, upper track classes in good suburban schools, they get a lot of homework to make up for it. If not, they're just free, after sports etc. to roam free, drink, get high, and generally kill their brain cells and get into trouble.

That's why kids can wind up in college needing remedial reading and writing help. It's absolutely insane.

As to why it's important to know the basics of history and science both, I think it's the only way that people can secure their freedoms and their future, as grandiose as that sounds. It may be a cliche, but if you don't know history you're doomed to repeat it. Any political charlatan, as has happened, and as is happening right now, can sell you a bill of goods. How can anyone make an informed voting choice in a modern democracy if they know nothing of history, or basic legal concepts, or economics? The same is true in the sciences. If you don't understand basic scientific concepts and the scientific method, you're prey for any unscrupulous person who comes along. Does anyone really think it's a good idea for society to be divided into two classes, the upper level scientists who control the whole system and the drones doing the menial jobs? Slavery comes in different forms.

I just re-read "Brave New World". I can't believe how prescient he was.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brave_New_World

Combine that with Orwell's 1984, and you have the dangers facing the modern world.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four

Tomenable
05-03-16, 16:51
Just look up statistics on percentage of functional illiterates by country. The last of such studies was in 2013, IIRC.

I don't want to upset Angela, but in 2013 Italy fared badly, with ca. 2/3 of the people classifed as functional illiterates.

By comparison Japan came out on top, with "only" slightly more than 1/4 of the population being functionally illiterate.

In Spain, 72 out of 1000 people got level of literacy "below 1" in that 2013 study.

People at this level of literacy, usually have an 80% chance to find one piece of information in a simple sports article.

Another definition of what people at the level of literacy called "below 1" can do:


Individuals at this level can read brief texts on familiar topics and locate a single piece of specific information identical in form to information in the question or directive. They are not required to understand the structure of sentences or paragraphs and only basic vocabulary knowledge is required. Tasks below Level 1 do not make use of any features specific to digital texts.

Functional illiterates are defined as individuals at "level below 1", "level 1" and "level 2" (most of them are at "2").

On the other hand, people at "level 3", "level 4" and "level 5" are functionally literate.

Angela
05-03-16, 18:35
Facts never upset me. People who trawl data in order to score points against other ethnicities and races and to favor their own, or to interpret data only in ways favorable to their biased perspective on history and ethnicity do.

See, that's why you have to be smarter and more educated: so you can recognize when it's happening.

Tomenable
05-03-16, 21:55
I mentioned Italy & Japan because those were the two extremes (Japan best, Italy worst) among surveyed OECD countries in 2013.

Not for any other reason. However, not all of OECD countries were included in that study.

And Spain - although overall score there was better than in Italy - had the highest percentage share of people "below level 1".

As I mentioned, Spain had 72 out of 1000 "below level 1", compared to 6 out of 1000 for Japan and 55 for Italy.

======================

BTW - I think this functional illiteracy has more to do with quality of education than with things like IQ.

At least I didn't notice any obvious correlation with IQ because some high IQ countries were low in the ranking.

Sile
05-03-16, 23:00
Just look up statistics on percentage of functional illiterates by country. The last of such studies was in 2013, IIRC.

I don't want to upset Angela, but in 2013 Italy fared badly, with ca. 2/3 of the people classifed as functional illiterates.

By comparison Japan came out on top, with "only" slightly more than 1/4 of the population being functionally illiterate.

In Spain, 72 out of 1000 people got level of literacy "below 1" in that 2013 study.

People at this level of literacy, usually have an 80% chance to find one piece of information in a simple sports article.

Another definition of what people at the level of literacy called "below 1" can do:



Functional illiterates are defined as individuals at "level below 1", "level 1" and "level 2" (most of them are at "2").

On the other hand, people at "level 3", "level 4" and "level 5" are functionally literate.

Italy Government is based on a centralized "feudal system" where they need uneducated serfs to Govern..................that's why they are also so corrupt

arvistro
06-03-16, 00:54
Just look up statistics on percentage of functional illiterates by country. The last of such studies was in 2013, IIRC.

@Tomenable, can you provide a link or at least the name of the study you are referring so I can google it up.

To me that is more worrying than not knowing big bang theory or historical facts (mostly versions and theories anyway), if you are born van Gogh or Pele you get my signed permission to not care of how your country got independent or quantum mechanics, just work on your genius. If you can't comprehend and analyse written information, now that really is sad, even if you are Pele.

Let's hope this is because of education issues as that is something mankind can control for. If that is genetics though.... Well, then those folk would have to look for things they can do well and succeed anyway.

edit: what is the trend for this?

Tomenable
06-03-16, 01:14
@Arvistro, here is the link (chapter 2): http://skills.oecd.org/documents/OECD_Skills_Outlook_2013.pdf

There were other similar studies before. Maybe Italy fared better in one of earlier (or later) studies?


edit: what is the trend for this?

Depends on country, I guess.

For example I found info that Poland had better scores in 2001 than in 2013, a worrying trend.

Czech Republic and Slovakia had very good scores in 2013. Finland and the Netherlands even better.

Estonia was high in the ranking. There is no info on Latvia and Lithuania. Hungary had good scores.

Germany and Austria had similar scores to Poland (= bad, all 3 countries below OECD average...).

Tomenable
06-03-16, 01:25
I was surprised that Germany was low. And the Netherlands was so much higher than Germany... Surprising. It's no so funny when you think that Merkel, who is partially responsible for the current migrant crisis, was elected largely by functional illiterates... :smile: But the USA was not much higher than Germany (I actually expected it to be lower than Germany in the ranking).

France was even lower.

arvistro
06-03-16, 11:45
Yaay Finland!! They have a great educational system, they say. At 16-24 they are doing even slightly better than Japan.
This is a good news. Means countries should follow Finnish educational system and they are gonna be alright.
http://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/finland-education/

Probably part of it is still genetic. 2-3% are under Level 1 even in Finland, and another ~10% are level 1. Although hmm, Japan has only 0.6% and 4.3%, so with even better education maybe a population can even beat that?
Since Koreans are of Finnish level.

edit: I think Latvians and Lithuanians if included would be as usual slightly or more under Estonians. I could bet on that.

bicicleur
06-03-16, 12:32
Yaay Finland!! They have a great educational system, they say. At 16-24 they are doing even slightly better than Japan.
This is a good news. Means countries should follow Finnish educational system and they are gonna be alright.
http://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/finland-education/

Probably part of it is still genetic. 2-3% are under Level 1 even in Finland, and another ~10% are level 1. Although hmm, Japan has only 0.6% and 4.3%, so with even better education maybe a population can even beat that?
Since Koreans are of Finnish level.

edit: I think Latvians and Lithuanians if included would be as usual slightly or more under Estonians. I could bet on that.

Japan may have a good education system, it seems to me Japanese don't use common sense to take initiatives.
They prefer to hide themselves in the mass and to be conformist.

arvistro
06-03-16, 12:38
Japan may have a good education system, it seems to me Japanese don't use common sense to take initiatives.
They prefer to hide themselves in the mass and to be conformist.
Maybe this is a trade off one should take - develop bright talents and leave the rest stupid OR have plus/minus equally mediocre but smart enough mass.