Americans Don’t Know Much About Science

Hey Dummy! You I am talkin at:


Source: Pew Research



Print Friendly, PDF & Email

What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. BennyProfane commented on Feb 3

    I was riding a ski lift today in Colorado. (So, basically, I was in a playground of fairly wealthy, fairly well educated white people, relatively speaking) A conversation turned to Jupiter in the clear night sky the night before under the near full moon (don’t ask. Lift rides are boring) A dude on the chair to the left told me that Mars is a star, because it’s entirely comprised of gas. He was sober and not stoned, I’m pretty sure. Awkward.

    • VennData commented on Feb 4

      Laugh. Don’t feel awkward. Laugh in their face. Ask them if Obama is a Martian too. Point. Ridicule. Treat them like the idiot they are. It’s not awkward! It’s a gift, pure entertainment. The willfully stupid need to learn to shut up and read fact-based science. Show them the facts on your phone. Get their email and innudate them with critical thinking.

      Start with Jenny McCarthy and move on to Rick Santelli and the Tea Party clowns.

    • WFTA commented on Feb 4

      Careful, Partner. They may be idiots, but they may be carrying a gun.

    • LeftCoastIndependent commented on Feb 4

      Jon Gruber was right. Most Americans are stupid. He just got busted for telling the truth.

  2. Jojo commented on Feb 3

    Speaking of stupid. Why don’t they pack up and move?
    February 2, 2015
    More Greeks Approve of Russia’s Leadership Than EU’s
    by Phoebe Dong and Chris Rieser

    Story Highlights

    * Greeks more approving of Russia’s leadership than EU’s, Germany’s
    * Still, three in 10 Greeks have no opinion of Russia’s leadership

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In the early days after the Syriza party’s sweeping victory in Greece, many are watching whether this new government will pivot toward Russia or the EU. Representatives of the Syriza party, including new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, appear friendlier toward Russia’s leadership, as are Greeks in general. More than one in three Greeks (35%) in 2014 approved of Russia’s leadership, while fewer than one in four (23%) approved of the EU’s leadership.

    • VennData commented on Feb 4

      GOP stalwarts like Rudy Guliani were saying the same thing. It was an RNC talking point last year how much better Putin is than Obama. Rick Santelli liked to say “Putin’s playing chess, we’re playing checkers…” Really? That Foreign policy genius Rick Santelli whose every predictuion turns out being wrong.

      How are those oil prices feeling now grandmasters of RNC talking points?

    • Iamthe50percent commented on Feb 4

      Wait until Putin takes a bite out of Greek territory.

  3. WickedGreen commented on Feb 3


    They matter.

    Medical doctors used to advertise cigarettes on tee-vee.

    “Safe”. “Grown with Pesticides”. How safe? Instant death unsafe, or longer-term higher-cancer-risk unsafe? WHICH pesticides? At what level of exposure? Check out Silent Spring for a primer on how “safe” agrochemicals are. Ask the migrant farm worker who got your salad. Heck, READ THE LABELS.

    This kind of thing – and the GMO ‘debate’ – drives me nuts. Sure, eating a GMO grape might not be fatal to you.

    There’s a planet outside your cube/lab/mobile device.

    Check it out. Before the beneficiaries of our safety are gone.

    • Iamthe50percent commented on Feb 4

      Thank you. Scientists are not gods. (Surgeons are gods)

    • cowboyinthejungle commented on Feb 4

      I’m with you. Too much rah-rah here to be palatable. The lack of nuance is a frequent topic for mockery of the gold-bug Austrian-types on this site, and is fair. And yet in true hypocritical style, where is the nuance for this “pro-science” position? I’m not even sure what it means.

      It reminds me of the FB backlash “No you don’t ‘f**king love science'”. Mashable did a nice write-up on that years ago.

      And BTW, I know you love cognitive biases, BR. How about the authority bias here? That’s obvious enough. How about the non-authority bias?…i.e. AAAS physicists commenting on the safety of pesticide use, neuroscientists commenting on the use of nuclear power, etc.

    • Ralph commented on Feb 4

      Science is the process of endlessly testing hypothesis, and constantly replacing each with better explanations and tools to fit the observable universe.

    • Liquidity Trader commented on Feb 4

      Most of what you see regarding Diet & Fitness is not a Science fail, but a social and policy fail. The debate about sugar/carbs has been progressing for decades. That food pyramid from the 1960s (!) was outmoded from day one — including lobbying efforts by the Ag & food industry.

      As to exercise and what science has learned about human physiology, the never ending record breaking in the Olympics reveal how effective new science has become

  4. theexpertisin commented on Feb 3

    It appears to me that the public is afraid (paranoid) on issues over which they feel a sense of personal or familial empowerment. Less so with Big Picture events that are out of their control.

    No surprises here.Facts ignored are the product of the drive by media posing as journalists.and a poor public school curriculum taught by educators in name only. Thinking is in short supply.

    • Orange14 commented on Feb 4

      quite right and this is nothing new. One of the first academic studies here was done back around 1980 by Paul Slovik and colleagues at the University of Oregon. Their groundbreaking study was how the public perceives risk and you can see a good summary here:

  5. QuasiYoda commented on Feb 4

    I have a Biology & Chemistry Degree many of my classmates went on to become MD’s. Many of them were rather smart people but many of them could only memorize and regurgitate but actual thought, reapplication of what they had “learned”, utilization of analog concepts . . . No, Not very sharp. They could get the grades and likely the jobs but I wouldn’t bet my life of their acumen. Another point worth considering regarding health issues . . . money 100’s of Billions is in play and quite often the money is made by people following Bad Conclusions. Reminds me of the joke where the politician says, “That’s what I want to say. Now go get me the statistics to prove it.”

  6. b_thunder commented on Feb 4

    According to the chart 2% of “AAAS Scientists” do not think that humans evolved over time. ’nuff said…

    Also, how do the “scientists” explain massive increases in “food” anomalies such as allergies in the last 50 years? Don’t recall Dickens or Shakespeare describe someone who had an allergy. If they’re not result of pesticides and GMO foods, then what is?

    Yes, GMO is safe in the sense that it won’t kill you right away, and won’t cause measurable harm over few months or few years. But there’s no way to know how it will affect the future children of the people who consume GMO today. We may have tested GMO on lab mice and their “children”, didn’t see side-effects, and assumed it’s safe for humans. But do we KNOW? NO, because we have to wait for the next generations of humans to grow and to develop

    • cowboyinthejungle commented on Feb 4

      You’re concerned with the wrong thing regarding GMO’s. Adding a new gene to a plant or animal does not mean that gene remains intact through the digestion process. All the DNA, protein, and other macromolecules are subject to breakdown by the gut. You are not concerned about the long-term chances of acquiring genes that produce plant hormones, are you? Impact of eating GMO’s on human health is a red herring.

      A concern which does have precedent, and has the potential for much broader unintended consequences, is gene transfer into the ecosystem. The acquisition & downstream effects of GMO genes in native plants are understudied, and we are in the midst of a big experiment. Needless to say, it isn’t smart to experiment with something that you depend on for survival, like the earth. Then again, there’s a lot of that going around these days…

    • kaleberg commented on Feb 5

      The usual explanation for the rising number of food allergies is that people, and particularly children, are much cleaner nowadays than they used to be. Kids don’t play in the dirt the way they used to. The up side is that they are much less likely to get some nasty infection and die. The down side is that their immune systems, lacking pathogens, are sensitized to other things resulting in allergies. Places where children play in the dirt and don’t wash up don’t have a lot of children with allergies, but they do have a lot more children dead from disease.

      There’s also the usual anxiety factor. Look at all the bogus child abuse cases back in the 1980s. Incomes were stagnant or falling so women were forced to take jobs and leave their kids in day care. The next thing we know is that there are killer clowns biting the heads off of chickens and raping children in the catacombs under their day care centers. (I’m not making this up. I leave that kind of thing to trained child psychologists.) There’s a lot of new food technology change, so people are anxious, and there are all sorts of ways of expressing anxiety.

  7. DeDude commented on Feb 5

    The issue is not whether scientists are right all the time. The issue is whether the scientific methods for finding or rejecting answers is better than what XX is pulling out of his dumb a**. Science has never made claims to having the absolute truth for every question, just that it has a higher probability of being correct that “gut feeling”. If you a method that is right 60% of the time would you use that, or just flip a coin, to select your investment. Same thing when we as individuals or a society choose what to do, use the method with the highest probability of being correct.

Posted Under