Seems every so often someone releases the results of a survey that demonstrate just how scientifically illiterate most Americans are. Here’s yet another one:
NEW YORK—When the results of its latest survey came back, officials at the American Museum of Natural History were hardly astonished.
The survey was trying to find out how much people know about water. Turns out, not much.
Fewer than half of those surveyed answered correctly when asked how much of the planet is covered in water (about three-fourths). Hardly anyone knew how much of that water is drinkable (about 1 percent).
It’s not the first time a survey has shown how little the public knows about science; the results of one museum survey in 1994 were so woeful, museum President Ellen Futter barely raises an eyebrow anymore.
“I haven’t been surprised by the public’s reaction since our first survey, when I saw that 35 percent of the adult population thought that humans lived at the same time as dinosaurs,” she said.
To say there’s reason to be concerned is an understatement:
“There is no area of education that is probably worse taught than science,” she said. “I am deeply concerned about the competitive capacity of this country going forward in terms of education generally and in the areas of science, math (and) engineering particularly.”
It doesn’t help that the Republicans have been waging a war on science (along with just about everything else it seems) for the past couple of decades. Alas, it seems it’s the one war they’re actually winning.