1 in 4 Americans Believe the Sun Revolves Around the Earth

Page 1 of 8 [ 109 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 8  Next

TallyMan
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator

User avatar

Joined: 30 Mar 2008
Gender: Male
Posts: 41,833

05 Mar 2014, 8:24 am

What is with the scientific and technical illiteracy in the US?

Conversations here in PPR indicate a deep lack of knowledge and understanding about science (typically amongst Americans). What is the cause of this? How can it be remedied? Even now some Americans are pushing for creationism or so called intelligent design to be introduced into the science curriculum of schools. The American education system (5 to 18 age range) is becoming the laughing stock of the world. Scientific ignorance is often pushed as being a virtue by some of your Republican politicians whereas scientific knowledge is almost treated like the work of the devil and scientists as pariahs.

Just what is happening in America? Your scientific and technological prowess was once admired around the world, but is now slipping into ridicule. NASA now requires Russia to transport items to the international space station since the end of your space shuttles. Europe and Japan are increasingly the countries where new technological breakthroughs are made. Even China and India have active space programs and are planning goals in advance of those of the US. American science is becoming a back-water, living on past glories.

Quote:
(CNN) -- Every few years, the National Science Foundation releases its new Science and Engineering Indicators, which feature a barrage of seemingly embarrassing statistics that detail just how much Americans don't know about science. The latest such report, out Friday, has caused a stir by revealing that just 74% of Americans know the Earth revolves around the sun.


Quote:
If you're talking tech with Americans, you may want to avoid using any jargon. A recent study found that many Americans are lost when it comes to tech-related terms:

27% identified "gigabyte" as an insect commonly found in South America. A gigabyte is a measurement unit for the storage capacity of an electronic device.

42% said they believed a "motherboard" was "the deck of a cruise ship." A motherboard is usually a circuit board that holds many of the key components of a computer.

23% thought an "MP3" was a "Star Wars" robot. It is actually an audio file.

18% identified "Blu-ray" as a marine animal. It is a disc format typically used to store high-definition videos.

15% said they believed "software" is comfortable clothing. Software is a general term for computer programs.

12% said "USB" is the acronym for a European country. In fact, USB is a type of connector.

Despite the incorrect answers, 61% of the respondents said it is important to have a good knowledge of technology in this day and age


_________________
I've left WP indefinitely.


The_Walrus
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator

User avatar

Joined: 27 Jan 2010
Age: 24
Gender: Male
Posts: 6,328
Location: Reading, England

05 Mar 2014, 8:35 am

The American public may be less scientifically literate than in other developed countries, but it isn't really the average person that matters when it comes to space programs or even technological breakthroughs, it's the smartest few. American universities are still the best in the world, along with Britain.

Yes, any country could always do with more scientists, engineers, and innovators, but America isn't particularly lacking.



Schneekugel
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 18 Jul 2012
Age: 38
Gender: Female
Posts: 2,944

05 Mar 2014, 8:39 am

I think that not all questions can be compared.

So knowledge about the earth circling around the sun, is in my oppinion general knowledge. That should be nothing new to anyone, be it kindergarten or senior.

While if you´d ask my 60+ mum about MP3s, blue-rays, software, motherboards, USB ... O_o



Vexcalibur
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 17 Jan 2008
Age: 34
Gender: Male
Posts: 5,573

05 Mar 2014, 8:50 am

The_Walrus wrote:
The American public may be less scientifically literate than in other developed countries, but it isn't really the average person that matters when it comes to space programs or even technological breakthroughs, it's the smartest few.

First of all, this has nothing to do with whether someone is smart or not. This is about knowledge.

Second of all. No matter how knowledgeable the "smartest few" are. If the majority is scientifically illiterate, that means that government will not fund the science projects. No money = no scientific progress, no matter how brainy the scientists.


_________________
.


91
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 30 Oct 2010
Age: 34
Gender: Male
Posts: 3,063
Location: Australia

05 Mar 2014, 8:53 am

The Americans don't do that badly on science literacy. I have a dislike of stereotypes, the dumb yank is one of them.

This shows the Americans second

https://www.aacu.org/liberaleducation/l ... igure2.png

http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/scilit/review.pdf

In this one the Americans are 14th, beating Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Iceland
http://www.nationmaster.com/country-inf ... c-literacy

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 134322.htm


_________________
Life is real ! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal ;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.


Vexcalibur
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 17 Jan 2008
Age: 34
Gender: Male
Posts: 5,573

05 Mar 2014, 9:01 am

Please show current figures. 2007 was a long time ago. US conservatives doubled down in promoting science illiteracy.

14-th is pretty low for the supposed largest economy.


_________________
.


91
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 30 Oct 2010
Age: 34
Gender: Male
Posts: 3,063
Location: Australia

05 Mar 2014, 9:10 am

Vexcalibur wrote:
Please show current figures. 2007 was a long time ago. US conservatives doubled down in promoting science illiteracy.

14-th is pretty low for the supposed largest economy.


Not really when you take into account the poverty in the United States. If you have the money for a good high school in the US you will get a fantastic education and French thrown in. If you live in a poor area, you are in real trouble. The mean is not that bad but the range, I suspect, is pretty outrageous. I would have had a much better education if I had attended the same high schools as some of my friends in the states.


_________________
Life is real ! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal ;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.


Jono
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 10 Jul 2008
Age: 38
Gender: Male
Posts: 5,459
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

05 Mar 2014, 9:13 am

Vexcalibur wrote:
Please show current figures. 2007 was a long time ago. US conservatives doubled down in promoting science illiteracy.

14-th is pretty low for the supposed largest economy.


How much could science literacy of changed in the past 6 years? Surely, the same people who were knowledgable in science 6 years will still be knowledgable now. The only thing that could of changed would be the science literacy among the younger generation who were going through high school during that time. Has science education at school level deteriorated in the last 6 years?



The_Walrus
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator

User avatar

Joined: 27 Jan 2010
Age: 24
Gender: Male
Posts: 6,328
Location: Reading, England

05 Mar 2014, 10:03 am

Vexcalibur wrote:
The_Walrus wrote:
The American public may be less scientifically literate than in other developed countries, but it isn't really the average person that matters when it comes to space programs or even technological breakthroughs, it's the smartest few.

First of all, this has nothing to do with whether someone is smart or not. This is about knowledge.

Second of all. No matter how knowledgeable the "smartest few" are. If the majority is scientifically illiterate, that means that government will not fund the science projects. No money = no scientific progress, no matter how brainy the scientists.

"Smart" and "knowledgeable" are ultimately the same thing. Even skills such as critical thinking and memory can be learned.

George W. Bush was not scientifically literate, and was elected largely on that platform. He increased the size of your science budget by much more than Clinton/Gore. You don't need to be scientifically literate to understand the value of science.



Misslizard
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 18 Jun 2012
Age: 55
Gender: Female
Posts: 13,841
Location: Aux Arcs

05 Mar 2014, 10:11 am

Those Americans were educated in a church school.Maybe a fundie Baptist one.Or home schooled by a religious nut job.I bet they also believe the whole cosmos was created in seven days and there was a really nice garden with a mean 'ol snake in it that ruined it for everyone.


_________________
"Security is mostly a superstition.It does not exist in nature,nor do the children of men as a whole experience it.Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.Life is either a daring adventure,or nothing." Helen Keller


zer0netgain
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 2 Mar 2009
Age: 51
Gender: Male
Posts: 6,784

05 Mar 2014, 10:12 am

Considering how many Americans think NASCAR is real auto racing (all it has is slick and pervasive marketing), I'd not put too much stock in how "stupid" we look to the rest of the world.



Shrapnel
Velociraptor
Velociraptor

User avatar

Joined: 4 Jul 2013
Gender: Male
Posts: 480

05 Mar 2014, 10:24 am

What do you expect from a country that practically rewards failure, deemphasizes (and even penalizes) intelligence and hard work, and does its best to insulate people from the consequences of their own stupidity? We used to have “Gifted” programs in grade school, which is now considered elitist, if not racist. We used to flunk kids who failed; now no one fails. We also make it unnecessary for citizens to need to speak English.

Under Obama, NASA has been given a new mandate: “to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science and engineering — science, math and engineering.”
That is no joke. Most Americans can name the all contestants of American Idol but cannot even name the vice president. They are not smart enough to come in out of the rain, but they can vote.



The_Walrus
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator

User avatar

Joined: 27 Jan 2010
Age: 24
Gender: Male
Posts: 6,328
Location: Reading, England

05 Mar 2014, 10:36 am

Shrapnel wrote:
Under Obama, NASA has been given a new mandate: “to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science and engineering — science, math and engineering.”
That is no joke.

No, but it is ridiculously cherrypicked. Obama gave them three "new" mandates:
1) as above
2) increase international co-operation in the sector,
3) inspire children to take up science and maths

Points 1) and 2) are to help us get to the moon. Increased international co-operation is necessary to achieve it, and perhaps we can use some of the money than oil-rich Muslim states keep pouring into skyscrapers.

Point 3), I think, completely debunks the whole thrust of your argument.

Source: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/20 ... ervatives/



Schneekugel
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 18 Jul 2012
Age: 38
Gender: Female
Posts: 2,944

05 Mar 2014, 10:39 am

zer0netgain wrote:
Considering how many Americans think NASCAR is real auto racing (all it has is slick and pervasive marketing), I'd not put too much stock in how "stupid" we look to the rest of the world.


The average rest of the world, does not even know of the existence of your NASCAR. (As long they dont watch South Park. ^^ )



Misslizard
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 18 Jun 2012
Age: 55
Gender: Female
Posts: 13,841
Location: Aux Arcs

05 Mar 2014, 10:46 am

I could never see the point of NASCAR,I'd rather watch them run the 1/4 mile.


_________________
"Security is mostly a superstition.It does not exist in nature,nor do the children of men as a whole experience it.Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.Life is either a daring adventure,or nothing." Helen Keller