And Yet It Moves

“We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.” –Carl Sagan
Here we go again. We have brains, I’m fairly sure we do. But it is damn hard to tell, since we don’t really knock ourselves out to make much use of them. Guess it’s not necessary for checking our horoscopes and keeping up with the Kardashians — and what more do we truly need?

Now please, don’t clog up my comments section with answers, folks! That was a rhetorical question. And a (subtle) sarcasm. But possibly I may need to define both terms … Hell with it –if you don’t know, Google it! For that matter, you can Google A LOT of basic science and astronomy too. (Hint, hint!) But ignorance is such bliss. How could I forget that? Sure wouldn’t want to mess that up for anyone.

Did Copernicus live in vain? One out of every four Americans doesn’t know that the Earth revolves around the sun. Sigh. Things like this are discouraging. And scary — we have nuclear weapons for pity’s sake! One comment on the story suggested this survey might not be “real”, just designed to get more concern and funding for science education. And wouldn’t THAT be dreadful? Given the times we are in, I can almost understand such skepticism and cynicism. I also hate to believe folks allow themselves to remain so uninformed. It’s embarrassing to live in the same damn country with such people!

And yet … it is plausible. I did student teaching in an almost inner-city school, and I was in the lounge one day as the social studies teacher graded some quizzes. He shook his head, and said, “Half these kids don’t know what our state capital is.” Even though we all lived there. At the time, I thought that spoke poorly for his teaching, but now I’m a bit more charitable. He probably expected slightly more from ninth-graders.

“We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.” Benjamin Franklin

Yet they tell us we Americans are lazy. Hah!


1 in 4 Americans unaware that Earth circles Sun
February 14, 2014 12:22 PM
Chicago (AFP) – Americans are enthusiastic about the promise of science but lack basic knowledge of it, with one in four unaware that the Earth revolves around the Sun, said a poll out Friday.
The survey included more than 2,200 people in the United States and was conducted by the National Science Foundation.
Nine questions about physical and biological science were on the quiz, and the average score — 6.5 correct — was barely a passing grade.
Just 74 percent of respondents knew that the Earth revolved around the Sun, according to the results released at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Chicago.
Fewer than half (48 percent) knew that human beings evolved from earlier species of animals.
The result of the survey, which is conducted every two years, will be included in a National Science Foundation report to President Barack Obama and US lawmakers.
One in three respondents said science should get more funding from the government.
Nearly 90 percent said the benefits of science outweigh any dangers, and about the same number expressed interest in learning about medical discoveries.

About l. l. frederick

I'm pretty ordinary, so I find any number of things in the world interesting, among them: books, music, flowers, food, social justice, politics and (sometimes!) people. As for my writing, I've decided that I can be subtle and tasteful when our only problems are esthetic ones. Or when I'm dead, whichever comes first. In the meantime, read at your own risk.
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2 Responses to And Yet It Moves

  1. Like others, I believe there has been a deliberate dumbing down of public education – people who are uninformed are far more susceptible to pro-corporate and pro-militaristic propaganda.

    • Yes, it certainly looks deliberate. But to me, this particular bit of ignorance smells like the extreme christian fundamentalists’ view, making all of us seem extra-dumb. So high a percentage of us not knowing we circle the sun is more than I might expect, but I’m often shocked by what is not common knowledge. Thanks for your comment. – Linda

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